Hello, Yogurt: Welcome to Superfood Royalty

Is it me, or is yogurt having a moment? The studies extolling its health benefits just keep on coming. A recent MIT study made headlines when it found that yogurt made mice slimmer—and, um, sexier. (What makes mice sexy, you ask? Those on a yogurt-supplemented diet developed thicker and “shockingly shiny” fur. Males also adopted a strut-like swagger).

Related: 4 Wacky-But-Cool Uses for Yogurt >>

New research presented at the European Congress of Obesity earlier this week found that obese and normal-weight children differed drastically in the makeup of their gut microbes. These findings, while preliminary, suggest that the right microbes (which can be obtained from eating foods high in both protein and probiotics, like yogurt) may help prevent obesity.

Last month, a study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that adults who ate low-fat dairy foods (including yogurt, as well as cheese and milk) had a 12 percent lower stroke risk compared to those who ate high-fat versions.

And one of my favorite studies—from the University of Tennessee—found that people who ate yogurt as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost a whopping 22 percent more weight and 61 percent more body fat after 12 weeks than a control group, who ate the same amount of calories, but consumed half the amount of calcium.

Yogurt has so much going for it that it naturally became a top-notch food in my new book, The Digest Diet. It seems to contain a magic mix of calcium, protein, and probiotics (and who knows what else?) that give it incredible powers for weight loss, digestive health, and more.

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If you’re not a yogurt eater (yet!), here are a few of my favorite ways to weave it into your diet: 

Shake It Up

Use a cup of plain nonfat yogurt as a creamy, protein-packed base for smoothies. Toss in favorite fruits and a healthy fat like peanut or almond butter for a satisfying, nutritious breakfast or snack that will keep you full for hours. 

Dip Into It

Nonfat Greek yogurt has a thick, creamy consistency that’s perfect for dips. Add a drizzle of olive oil and some savory spices for a tangy mix for crudité.

Layer It

Perk up breakfast by alternating plain yogurt in a glass with layers of honey, fresh berries, and chopped nuts.

Top It Off

Use yogurt as a sour cream replacement on black bean or split pea soup. Then sprinkle with black pepper or herbs.

Freeze It

Stash a carton of yogurt in the freezer, then whirl it in the food processor with frozen or fresh fruit for a delicious dessert.

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