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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow Does Greek Yogurt Have Probiotics? Benefits for Health and Digestion

Does Greek Yogurt Have Probiotics? Benefits for Health and Digestion

Wendy Lord, RD
Written by Wendy Lord, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: July 24, 2023
5 min read 752 Views 0 Comments
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Greek yogurt is enjoyed for its protein content and thick, creamy texture. However, it is also a great source of gut-friendly bacteria. This article gives you the scoop on probiotics in Greek yogurt and how they can benefit your digestive and overall health.

does Greek yogurt have probiotics

Greek yogurt has become increasingly popular with people around the world in recent years. It tastes great and is packed with protein. But did you know that this dairy product is also packed with probiotics, the good bacteria that can improve your health?

Probiotics have been linked to numerous health benefits, including a healthier digestive system, a stronger immune system, and even improved mental health. Therefore, consuming yogurt that contains live cultures is a healthy habit.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the probiotics found in Greek yogurt and their potential benefits. Whether you’re a yogurt lover or looking to improve your gut health, read on to learn more about the power of probiotics in your favorite creamy yogurt.

Does Greek Yogurt Have Probiotics?

Yes, Greek yogurt contains probiotics. While the exact strains and amounts of probiotic bacteria can vary, depending on the brand and manufacturing process, Greek yogurt is typically known to contain more probiotics than regular yogurt due to its straining process.

Probiotic-rich foods contain live cultures. However, it’s important to note that, similar to other yogurts, not all brands of Greek yogurt contain probiotics. Therefore you must check the label to ensure that live and active cultures are listed as ingredients.

The probiotic content of Greek yogurt typically includes Lactobacillus acidophilus and various Bifidobacterium species. These beneficial bacteria found in probiotic yogurts offer health benefits such as improved digestion, stronger immunity, and reduced inflammation.

What Is Greek Yogurt?

At the beginning of the manufacturing process, Greek yogurt is the same as regular yogurt. The difference comes in the final step. Instead of being ready to consume once fermentation is complete, Greek yogurt is strained.

The straining process removes most of the whey, the fluid component of the milk, resulting in a thicker, creamier texture without the addition of thickening agents. As a result, Greek yogurt has a higher concentration of live active cultures and protein than regular yogurt. 

What is Greek yogurt made of? 

Like other yogurt products, Greek yogurt is made from heated milk, to which starter yogurt cultures, including Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii have been added. 

To make flavored Greek yogurt, manufacturers add sugar and natural or artificial sweeteners depending on the product being made. Therefore, you must read the food labels if you want to avoid such ingredients.

What Makes Greek Yogurt Healthy?

Greek yogurt, like other fermented dairy foods, is a healthy dairy product due to its high nutritional value. When the whey is strained from the yogurt, the concentration of protein and probiotics increases, and the amount of sugar decreases. 

The protein content of Greek yogurt is higher than regular yogurt. It’s a great option for people who want to increase the protein in their diet, as it contains nearly 3 times more protein than other yogurts.

The straining process also contributes to a higher concentration of probiotics if the yogurt is not heat-treated after fermentation. The higher the probiotic content of yogurt, the more health benefits it offers. 

Due to the high concentration of healthy bacteria, the sugar content of Greek yogurt is low. The probiotic cultures convert lactose to lactic acid, significantly reducing the amount of sugar that was originally present in the milk.

Benefits of Greek Yogurt

Consuming Greek yogurt offers numerous health benefits for men and women. The nutritional value, combined with the high number of probiotic bacteria, has an impact on almost all parts of the body.

For starters, the live cultures in yogurt have been shown to improve the composition of the gut microbiome, the microorganisms living in your digestive tract. When your gut microbiome is healthy, it has a positive impact on your digestive and overall health. 

For example, research suggests a link between gut health and mental health. When people regularly consume probiotic yogurt, they experience less depression and anxiety, possibly due to the improvement in the production of neurotransmitters in the gut.

Additionally, a well-balanced gut microbiome has been shown to improve metabolic health, resulting in lower blood pressure and better blood sugar control. It also helps to control inflammation. Therefore you have a lower risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

The protein content of Greek yogurt gives it a high satiety value, and including it in your diet as part of a meal or as an afternoon snack can help control your appetite and aid in weight loss

The high protein and calcium content in Greek yogurt contributes to bone health. Both nutrients are required for bone growth and maintenance. 

Last but not least, yogurt contains nutrients that support a healthy immune system, including protein, zinc, and vitamin B6. In addition, the consumption of good bacteria has also been shown to boost immunity

Is Greek Yogurt Good for Digestion?

Yes, Greek yogurt is good for digestion. However, it must be noted that the health benefits are derived from the probiotics present in yogurt. Therefore, it is best to choose yogurts that contain probiotic bacteria.

Trillions of beneficial bacteria live in your gut, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome. Studies have shown that regularly consuming yogurt that contains active cultures can improve the number and variety of microorganisms in your gut, promoting a healthy digestive system. As a result, the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients is improved.

Consuming probiotic yogurt can also help improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as abdominal pain and bloating

Additionally, the high number of active cultures in Greek yogurt means that it contains less lactose than regular yogurt, making it a suitable option for people who are lactose intolerant.

According to the U.S. Food Database, 100g of whole-milk Greek yogurt contains 2.61g of lactose, and the same amount of regular whole-milk yogurt contains 3.35g.

FAQs

How many probiotics are there in Greek yogurt?

Probiotic yogurt generally contains 90–500 billion active cultures or CFU per serving. However, the specific probiotic content of yogurt depends on the amount and types of good bacteria added during the fermentation process.

Do all Greek yogurts have probiotics?

No, not all Greek yogurt contains probiotics. Only those that have not been heated after fermentation contain live and active cultures and can be called probiotic yogurts.

Is full-fat Greek yogurt good for you?

Yes, full-fat Greek yogurt made from whole milk is good for you. It is a great source of protein, healthy bacteria, and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, with a fat content of 2.39g per 100g of yogurt.

Is Greek yogurt a good source of protein?

Yes, Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, providing 8.78 grams of protein per 100g of yogurt.

A Word From an MD

The thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt makes it seem like a decadent treat that should only be enjoyed occasionally. However, traditional Greek yogurt is a natural, healthy fermented dairy product that offers numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

With a higher protein content and probiotic bacteria, yogurt can be part of your daily meal plan, enjoyed on its own, or as part of a balanced meal. It is a great alternative to sour cream in casseroles and curries.

Research suggests that when you pair probiotic-rich yogurt with fresh fruit, the health benefits increase. This is because the fiber in the fruit provides fuel for the live active cultures in the yogurt, ensuring that more of the probiotics survive in the gut. Together, fruit and yogurt also provide a wide range of health-promoting nutrients.

If you struggle to meet your recommended daily intake of probiotics and Greek yogurt is not your cup of tea, try out other foods rich in live cultures or probiotic supplements.

Conclusion

Natural Greek yogurt has a creamy texture and is eaten by people worldwide. The texture is the result of straining regular yogurt to remove the whey. In doing so, the protein content of the yogurt is higher than other yogurts, and so is the number of live active cultures. 

As a result, Greek yogurt offers health benefits for the digestive system, immunity, and mental health. Therefore, you can dig into your bowl of thick, creamy Greek yogurt, knowing that it is packed with probiotics and will promote overall health.

Written by Wendy Lord, RD
Wendy is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for writing about nutrition, health, and medicine. Her aim is to translate the medical jargon to make information accessible to everyone so that they can make informed decisions about their health.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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Wendy Lord, RD
Written by Wendy Lord, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: July 24, 2023
5 min read 752 Views 0 Comments
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