In the article, published in the magazine of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA), Tufts biologist Benjamin Wolfe explains that research has showed numerous correlations between the consumption of yogurt and health benefits, from improved blood pressure and triglyceride levels to weight management.
Tufts professor Paul Jacques highlights that yogurt is a good source of nutrients, including high-quality proteins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins B2 and B12. Yogurt is 20%-100% more nutrient-rich than milk, its acidity increases the body’s absorption of calcium, zinc and magnesium and its bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) promote lactose digestion, even in cases of lactose intolerance. According to Professor Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of HNRCA at Tufts, if more Americans ate yogurt, it would go a long way towards them meeting nutritional guidelines.
Research shows that people who eat yogurt gain less weight than those who do not – a statement that does not apply to milk or cheese. The effect of yogurt and its bacteria on the intestinal microbiome and ecosystem has been the subject of many studies. And, as Professor Meydani explains, the results increasingly suggest that the effects of these bacteria extend far beyond the intestine to include the immune response among other areas.
There now also appears to be a connection between the intestines and the brain, and, although we cannot yet definitively say that yogurt improves cognitive function, we hope that this will become a topic of discussion over the next few years.