When it comes to food, it’s generally best to make sure it’s dead before attempting to eat it.
But there is one exception.
This delightful dairy contains live and active cultures – nutritionist lingo for real living organisms – that work to convert the milk to yogurt, right under that shiny foil lid.
But unlike most bacteria, these live cultures (called probiotics) are actually nutritious. They’ve been found to enhance your immune system, aid digestion and some studies even link them to longer life spans, according to The World’s Healthiest Foods (WHF) Web site.
Hartshorn Health Center registered dietician Angela Bryant said yogurt and other calcium products contain protein that builds up bone strength, and doctors often recommend eating it to prevent vaginal yeast infections.
But don’t feel left out if you’re lacking in the vagina department. There’s plenty more yogurt can do for both sexes.
A study sited by WHF found daily yogurt consumption to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind) levels in the human body.
Bryant said daily yogurt consumption has also been linked with weight loss.
So it’s kind of like a treadmill that tastes good. Kind of.
Yogurt has some less obvious benefits, too.
Dannon is now marketing Essensis, a yogurt that is thought to improve your skin’s health, and Dannon now offers Activa, a yogurt with added probiotics to increase digestive regularity.
If only Ben and Jerry’s would catch on.
If you think “plain” when you think of yogurt, think again. There are more ways to dress up yogurt than items on the dollar menu – and they’re a lot better for you, too.
Adding wheat germ or granola will also boost yogurt’s benefits with added fiber and whole grain, and helps keep you fueled before and after you exercise – even if that’s just playing your Wii.
You can also try cutting up strawberries and bananas and layering them with your favorite flavor for a homemade parfait, or take it to class by blending it with frozen fruit and juice for a to-go smoothie to rival any coffee.
Note to guys: If you’re worried about how holding a smoothie will affect your male bravado, bring it in a coffee mug, and no one will question your sexuality. Or tell your friends its got alcohol in it, and they’ll think you’re even cooler.
Regardless of how you choose to consume it, once you do, your body will thank you.
And you might just like it.
Entertainment editor Maggie Canty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.