Our series of superfoods from different food groups have so far covered the superstars from the group of starchy grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, and vegetables. Today, it’s time for several dairy foods that stand out from the rest.
Some dairy products are not good options for those with diabetes as they can be high in fat and saturated fats. That’s why it’s helpful to know which of them are the healthiest options.
Here are the two best milk products for everyone, especially for those with diabetes.
Nowadays, there are numerous varieties of yogurt to choose from, such as with added fiber or with a chocolate flavor.
Yogurt is produced when bacterial cultures are added to milk, so it’s a fermented dairy product. What happens here is the lactose in the milk turns into lactic acid because of the added cultures.
Yogurt is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B2, B12, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and zinc. Also, it is an excellent source of probiotics which are good bacteria that improve our health in many ways.
They boost the immune system, reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels, alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders, and help prevent yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.
In fact, if we have diarrhea or we take antibiotics, it’s good to consume yogurt with active cultures to help restore the good gut bacteria. Another interesting fact about yogurt is that it contains less lactose than milk.
This means that those with lactose intolerance might even tolerate it, unlike milk.
What’s more, yogurt might help improve blood pressure and glucose levels in those with diabetes. But, they should make sure they choose low-fat yogurt, such as fat-free Greek yogurt.
One study shows that calcium deficiency, along with vitamin D deficiency, negatively affects blood glucose. So, drink yogurt to boost calcium levels.
A cup of plain, fat-free yogurt contains 500mg of calcium, 0.5g of fat, 19g of carbs, and 127 calories. The glycemic index of plain yogurt is 14, while that of fruited yogurt is 36.
The best type of yogurt is low-fat or nonfat yogurt whose container says “Live & Active Cultures.” Such yogurt contains healthy bacteria. However, when it comes to heavily fruited yogurt, it can contain lots of carbohydrates, so it’s best to consume it in small amounts.
Besides enjoying it as part of our meal or snack, we can also combine it with fresh cucumber and dill to make a refreshing dip for veggies.
This ancient drink is another fermented milk product, coming from the Caucasus Mountains. It is produced by adding kefir “grains” – a mixture of yeast, bacteria, fats, protein, and sugars, to sheep, cow, or goat milk.
It is a popular drink with meals in Poland, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. In the United States, we can find it in different flavors. Since it’s a bit sour, vanilla, honey, or fresh fruit are often added to improve the flavor.
Kefir is more abundant in probiotics than yogurt. So, it’s good for boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, improving digestion, and prevention of yeast overgrowth. It can speed up the treatment of diarrhea in infants as well.
Besides probiotics, it contains high amounts of protein, calcium, potassium, and various vitamins.
A cup of plain, low-fat kefir has 300mg of calcium, 2g of fat, 12g of carbs, and 120 calories. It has a low glycemic index, so it’s good for those with diabetes.
Always buy kefir produced from low-fat or nonfat milk. Use it to make creamy salad dressings or include it in smoothies instead of milk.
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