Yogurt is considered one of the foods with the highest nutritional value and great health benefits. Widely produced and consumed in Bulgaria, this product is also made in many other parts of the world.
Yet, healthy food can easily become unhealthy if you’re not careful enough. Even if you let pass the obvious unhealthy choice like “yogurt with biscuits” or “with caramel syrup”, there are other types of yogurt full of sugar and calories.
With so many possibilities on the shops’ shelves, how can you make sure you’ve chosen right?
Natural is better
The only things needed to prepare yogurt are fresh milk and two types of live bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophiles) that turn milk into yogurt through a symbiotic bond. This union between the two bacteria is beneficial for their survival and efficiency only when they are together. After that many ingredients can be added to give it a special taste – sugar or fruit. Avoid products that contain many ingredients, whose names you can’t even pronounce or you wouldn’t expect to find in yogurt, like hydrogenated fats or artificial sweeteners.
Look for “the good bacteria”
Probiotics (the good bacteria) are similar to the bacteria living in our digestive system and are the main ingredients of yogurt. It’s proven that they help digestion and keep our intestines healthy. Yet, strange as it seems at first – you wouldn’t find them in every yogurt on the market. Some companies put yogurt under heat treatment that kills the bacteria – healthy or not – to make it last longer.
Calcium is important
Yogurt is very abundant with calcium, which is so healthy for the bones, but its quantity varies between different brands. Choose the ones that contain at least 15% of the recommendatory daily dose of calcium (which is about 1000 milligrams for adults).
Try to cut down on sugar. Don’t reckon upon what the label says. Yogurt contains a definite percentage of natural sugar called lactose and sugar content put on the label includes both natural and added sugar. Avoid products that show sugar as a first or second ingredient on the list.
No artificial fruits
The best thing you can do is add some fresh fruit to yogurt yourself. Still, if you’re buying one that already contains fruit, check the ingredients and refrain from getting the ones containing added sugar. Yogurt may contain only a mixture of sugar and coloring agent or “natural” juice.
Fats aren’t scary
If you choose skimmed milk you can reduce calories and saturated fats. But be careful! “Skimmed” doesn’t always mean low on calories since these contain a great quantity of sugar. Select ones that get their sweetness from fruit or try adding a spoonful of honey to an ordinary skimmed milk.
If you prefer the taste of yogurt high on fats you can buy the ones with 1% or 2% fats content. New studies show that saturated fats in dairy products may not be that bad after all.
For example, Brown University’s study from 2011 shows that the consumption of dairy products isn’t connected with a higher risk of heart failure. That might be due to the other ingredients that neutralize the consequences of saturated fats.
Read the labels carefully
Fortunately, you can easily see if yogurt contains additional probiotics since that’s marked off on the labels. There are also yogurts with additional live microorganisms to boost their beneficial effects. Probiotics are still being studied. So, yogurt that contains more probiotics isn’t, by all means, the best.
Serdika Foods offers genuine Bulgarian probiotic yogurt. You can taste the traditional product by ordering online.