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What are the benefits of yogurt with live active cultures?

Updated February 21, 2019

Sources of live active cultures, or probiotics, include miso, fermented milk and some yogurt products, according to the Mayo Clinic. Yogurt with live active cultures provides essential nutrients as well as probiotics, and it can be a healthy addition to most diets. As you choose your yogurt, check the label to see if it contains live and active cultures.

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Bone Health

Yogurt has about 275mg to 425mg of calcium per 240ml, which is about 28 percent to 43 percent of the recommended daily value. Calcium is essential for strong bones, but many Americans do not get enough, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vitamin D is not naturally in yogurt, but many brands of yogurt with live and active cultures are fortified with vitamin D, which helps your body absorb and use calcium. Read the label to choose a yogurt with vitamin D.

Digestive Health

A benefit of the live and active cultures in yogurt is that these healthy bacteria, called probiotics, can live in your gastrointestinal tract and help treat intestinal infections, according to the Mayo Clinic. They may relieve diarrhoea, and probiotics can be part of your treatment for irritable bowel syndrome along with fibre supplements, pain relievers or antiobiotics, according to the Langone Medical Center. Only take yogurt with live and active cultures for their potential medical benefits if your doctor approves.

Weight Control

Yogurt with live, active cultures can be part of a reduced-calorie diet for weight control. 240ml of fat-free plain yogurt has about 130 calories, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Balance the calories you consume with the calories you expend in order to maintain your weight, and eat fewer calories than you burn in order to lose weight. Yogurt can help you limit your total calorie intake because it is high in protein, which is a filling nutrient.

Healthier Diet

A benefit of yogurt with live and active cultures is that it is widely available and ready to eat, so it can improve your overall diet when you use it as a healthy alternative to less nutritious options such as fast food or snacks from vending machines. Yogurt is a meatless source of high-quality protein, and you can reduce your saturated fat intake when you choose fat-free yogurt instead of fatty meats. Choose a no-sugar-added variety because added sugars add empty calories to your diet.

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About the Author

Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.

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