Food of the Week: Yogurt
Yogurt is one of those foods that's been increasingly popular due to news about health benefits. Yogurt has been fairly well researched in the general population and shown to have several properties that may benefit those of us with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS).
Research suggests that yogurt may:
- Enhance the immune response by increasing T-cell count. T cells are often low in ME/CFS;
- Alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which is common inFMS & ME/CFS;
- Prevent vaginal yeast infections, which are common in FMS & ME/CFS;
- Improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. (Some researchers believe ME/CFS involves cardiovascular problems;)
- Help prevent osteoporosis. FMS is considered an osteoporosis risk factor.
Yogurt also contains several nutrients that are believed to help manage the symptoms of FMS & ME/CFS:
The substance behind many of yogurt's health benefits is probiotics -- tiny live organisms that do a lot of good things in the body. Not all yogurts have them, so you have to check the label. Look for wording such as "live and active cultures." However, yogurt without live cultures still contains the nutrients listed above and may also provide immune benefits.
I've been working to make yogurt a bigger part of my diet, and it does seem to help with my intestinal issues. I have problems with yeast, and since sugar feeds yeast it doesn't make sense to me to eat sweetened yogurt, so I opt for unsweetened or lightly sweetened kinds. To improve the flavor, I add things like fruit, cinnamon or a dash of vanilla.
Many nutritionists recommend buying low-fat yogurts, using it as a replacement for sour cream (like on a baked potato) and in recipes that call for fats (like butter or margarine.) You can learn more about that here: 10 Ways to Use Low-Fat Yorgurt, from About.com Low-Fat Cooking Guide Fiona Haynes.
Do you eat yogurt regularly? Have you tried cooking with it? Have you noticed any health benefits? Share your experience, and favorite recipes if you have them, below!
Learn more or join the conversation!
- Food of the Week Series
- Your Diet for Managing Symptoms
- Easy Low-Calorie Recipes, from About.com Low-Calorie Cooking Guide Kimberley Eggleston
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