Here are good reasons to eat yogurt, say experts:
- Lose weight. Michael Zemel, a researcher at the University of Tennessee, found that obese people who added three servings of low-fat yogurt daily to their diets lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than did non-yogurt eaters. Zemel mainly credits yogurt's high calcium with melting fat while preserving lean tissue mass.
- Ease arthritis. Yogurt may be an anti-inflammatory and a treatment for arthritis, Israeli research finds. Rats fed yogurt before injections with arthritis-causing chemicals developed no arthritis or only mild symptoms. In arthritic rats, yogurt lessened symptoms, producing a "remarkable ... curative effect," researchers concluded.
- Cut risk of colon cancer. In a French study, people who ate the most yogurt had half as many pre-cancerous colon polyps as those who ate no yogurt. In animals, yogurt blocked the progression of colon cancer, and DNA damage from meat chemicals that can initiate colon cancer.
- Fight bacteria. Yogurt may suppress H. pylori infections, a cause of peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis and possibly stomach cancer, according to new research from Taiwan. After 59 infected people ate a cup of yogurt twice a day for six weeks, bacteria concentrations dropped more than 35% and the severity of infections significantly lessened.
- Help your gut. Anyone with lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease or even food allergies probably could benefit from eating yogurt, concludes a new review of dozens of previous studies. Example: Giving children yogurt may reduce the duration of diarrhea.
Tips for buying yogurt:
- Check labels for "live and active cultures."
- Buy plain low-fat yogurt and add your own fruit. This saves money and calories.
- Try kefir, a fermented "milkshake" with the same expected benefits as yogurt.
Copyright 2005 Jean Carper. Printed first in USA Weekend. All rights reserved.
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