Greek yogurt is a high-protein yogurt produced by bacterial fermentation of lactose present in milk, releasing lactic acid that coagulates milk proteins and produces typical aromatic compounds. The lactoserum, or whey, is strained out after fermentation. This differentiates Greek yogurt from regular yogurt and provides its thick consistency and velvety texture. Greek yogurt is a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. It is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because most of the whey has been strained out while retaining its delicious tangy flavor. It contains twice the protein of regular yogurt and less lactose, making it suitable for people who are lactose intolerant. Eaten plain, it makes a perfect snack. It is used in cooking and adds a creamy flavor. It makes an excellent stand-in for mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, etc.
Nutrition facts of Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a low-fat or fat-free yogurt that is less sweet, thicker and creamier than conventional regular yogurt. It is a great source of various essential nutrients and two cups per day provides an adequate amount of potassium, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 and phosphorous. It has double the protein content of regular yogurt and this promotes fullness. Because it contains very low sugar, it is often considered a smart choice for low-carb dieters. It is packed with probiotics that help reduce gastrointestinal issues.
Production of Greek yogurt
The popularity of Greek yogurt has been spurred by the simplicity of its makeup. Essentially, it is produced in one of the three ways
- Centrifugal separation: This is the most commonly used method where the yogurt is run through the process until the solids are concentrated. The watery part that remains after the formation of curd is removed along with some lactose and minerals making it rich in protein content.
- Ultrafiltration: In this process, the whey is separated from the yogurt using specially designed filters. The use of filters can help retain more protein than centrifugal separation.
- Pre-concentration: Milk proteins are added to the milk from the beginning, trying to mimic the traditional concentration process.
Health benefits of Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is healthy even in small serving sizes. It provides essential nutrients and promotes lose weight, keeps the gut healthy, boosts feminine health, increases immunity, increases bone density, promotes thyroid function and aids digestion. Some health benefits of Greek yogurt include
- Manages depression: The probiotic bacteria present in yogurt has been found to affect mood and act as a direct link between mental health and the health of the gut microbiome. Eating yogurt could lower the activity in parts of the brain responsible for pain and emotion.
- Controls blood sugar level: Potassium in yogurt can help flush out extra sodium from the body, thus it helps manage blood sugar levels.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis: Because of the calcium component along with vitamin D in the yogurt, consuming it regularly helps strengthen the bones and teeth and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Strengthens immunity: Greek yogurt has immune-boosting antioxidants. Vitamin D and probiotics help enhance immunity. Probiotics support healthy white blood cell counts to counteract pathogens.
- Improves muscle health: The high protein content helps build muscle mass after a workout session. Yogurt incorporates both casein and whey protein that supply a combo of fast- and slow-digesting amino nutrition.
- Helps in the formation of blood: Vitamin B12 present in yogurt helps in the proper maturation and division of red blood cells and aids in efficient oxygen delivery to the tissues.
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