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Yogurt, yoghurt, or yoghourt—no matter how you spell it, the fermented milk product is a quick breakfast or healthy treat at any time of the day.

Yogurt is made by introducing yogurt cultures, which are a form of bacteria, into a milk product causing it to ferment. Cow’s milk is most commonly used, but yogurt can also be made from water buffalo, goat, mare, camel, yak, coconut, or almond milk.

The creamy deliciousness has a long history dating back into ancient times. Legend has it that Abraham owed his longevity, at least in part, to it. According to Wikipedia, yogurt was a staple in Russian, Western Asian, South Eastern, Central European, and South Asian cultures until the 1900s. It was patented with added jam in 1933 by a dairy in Prague. Yogurt wasn’t available in the U.S. until the early twentieth century.

Yogurt is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, and Vitamins B6, B12, and D. It’s often tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant because of the conversion of lactose to the sugars glucose and galactose and the fermentation of lactose to lactic acid. Yogurt may help prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and vaginal infections.

When I developed pneumonia this past spring, I’d lost a considerable amount of weight. The pulmonologist said I should eat a lot of protein and named Greek-style yogurt as one item in particular to put on my grocery list.

Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt. You can transform regular yogurt into the Greek-style by spooning 4 cups of plain whole-milk yogurt into a sieve with a coffee filter and set it over a bowl. Refrigerate for about 12 hours and you will get about 2 cups of thick yogurt.

Grocers offer dozens of varieties of yogurt in their refrigerator section. With and without fruit, and containing a wide variety of fat content and calorie count, it isn’t difficult to find a favorite style. I keep plain whole-milk yogurt on hand to mix in dips, sauces, and mashed potatoes, but my favorite flavored brand is Noosa’s mango. Noosa is pricey – $2.49 for 8 ounces, and only available in health and specialty grocery stores, but it’s so rich I only eat half a container at a time. This brand is all natural, gluten-free, and probiotic, from cows never treated with rrBGH. Go to their website: http://www.noosayoghurt.com for a 55 cent coupon.

(The 8 ounce container of Noosa’s mango yogurt has 270 calories, 11 grams of fat, 27 grams of total carbs, 25 grams of sugar, 30 mg of cholesterol, 14 grams of protein, and 110 mg of sodium. It also is a good source of nutrition—Vitamin A 17%, Vitamin C 12, Calcium 37 %, and Iron 3%))

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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