Yogurt is a great food for athletes because it’s high in protein for workout recovery, calcium for bone strength, and vitamin D for calcium absorption. It also contains probiotics (good-for-you bacteria), which aid digestion and promote gut health.
But choosing from all the new types of yogurt available can be overwhelming. Here’s what you should look for in a yogurt:
- Protein content: You want 15 grams or more to keep you fuller longer and aid in recovery.
- Limited added sugar: All natural fruit is key; even better, go with the plain stuff and add your own fruit.
- No fillers or thickeners: Ingredients such as cornstarch or pectin are used as a binder in dairy-free yogurts, but they are highly processed and can cause inflammation.
Here’s a breakdown of some yogurt varieties that are probably new to your grocery store shelves:
This yogurt is well liked for its creamy texture and sweeter taste. It’s naturally low in fat and a nice alternative to the Greek style if you dislike the tartness or texture. Icelandic yogurt is very high in protein (19 grams/serving) and a great source of calcium.
As opposed to Greek yogurt, which is made from regular milk with water and whey removed, Swiss yogurt is made from cultured milk and stirred to give it a thinner consistency. This is best served cold and eaten as simply a yogurt, rather than added to cooking and dips. Although this yogurt provides a great dose of protein (13 grams), even the plain kind has more carbohydrates and sugar than Greek yogurt. It is a great post-workout snack for athletes, as the carbohydrates and protein work together to build muscle.
This is a good option for athletes who are sensitive to cow milk products and lactose. The complete proteins are partially digested, so the body can more easily use them, and this yogurt provides good bacteria. According to the USDA, goat’s milk has 17 percent more calcium than a serving of cow’s milk and has been shown to enhance iron absorption, a common deficiency in female athletes.
Another dairy-free alternative, coconut yogurt is unique for providing fat in the form of medium-chained triglycerides, which can help boost immunity. The plain version of this yogurt also provides 6 grams of fiber to aid in digestion and satiety.
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