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The health benefits of yoghurt

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

It's not often you find a food that's healthy, convenient and tastes good too. Drum roll please for the humble yoghurt!

More and more people are eating yoghurt these days. The choice is astronomical, there's usually a whole supermarket aisle filled with it.

So is yoghurt a superfood? Here are some of its health benefits:

Yoghurt may help with your digestion

All yoghurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin B12.

Many types of yoghurt contain probiotics, which are active, good bacteria that contribute to helping our digestive systems run smoothly.

British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Rick Miller says: "Yoghurt is an extremely beneficial food for your health. As fermented milk, it is a natural source of probiotics, helping to maintain a healthy gut and immune system. Research has shown they can even improve your cholesterol if eaten regularly."

One study suggests that yoghurt could be good for irritable bowel syndrome. The research at the University of South Manchester found that distension of the tummy can be reduced by up to 78% in people with IBS simply by eating probiotic yoghurt.

The NHS says: "Some people find that taking probiotics regularly can help to relieve the symptoms of IBS. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that probiotics work and have beneficial health effects."

Yoghurt may be helpful in treating constipation or diarrhoea but there are no conclusive studies on this.

Yoghurt may help with osteoporosis

Yoghurt provides calcium to help maintain bone density and strength throughout life.

"Low fat yoghurt is a great source of calcium which we need for strong bones," according to food coach and dietitian Sasha Watkins.

BDA spokesperson Rebecca Dunn says: "Adults require 700mg of calcium per day and one standard pot (150g) of yoghurt will provide a third of this. Calcium is important at all ages, as it promotes healthy teeth and bones and prevents diseases such as osteoporosis."

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones in our body to become fragile and prone to breaking. The National Osteoporosis Society says it's important to have a well balanced calcium rich diet to provide all the nutrients your bones need, and to make sure you get enough vitamin D.

It recommends yoghurt as a good calcium rich food; some yoghurts have the benefit of added vitamin D too so check the label when you shop.

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