GREEK YOGURT: PACKED WITH PROBIOTICS
By Stefanie Cassetto
No one likes to think about our bodies teeming with bacteria. We are all too familiar with taking antibiotics when we are sick and scrubbing our hands with antibacterial soap to prevent illness. But, there are some bacteria that are good for us called probiotics.
Probiotics are microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, that aid with healthy digestion of nutrients and elimination of toxins. Probiotics help with digestive disorders as well as helping to maintain a healthy immune system. We should pay more attention to adding probiotics into our diets. One of the best ways is to start adding Greek yogurt to our meal-time routine.
Greek yogurt is also known as strained yogurt, yogurt cheese, or labneh. It is a yogurt that has been strained in a cloth or filter to remove the whey, making it thicker while maintaining the familiar sour taste of regular yogurt. A traditional food in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek yogurt is steadily gaining popularity in the United States. It is known for its rich flavor and creamy texture. Greek yogurt is thicker, higher in protein, and lower in carbohydrates than traditional yogurt.
BREAKING IT DOWN
- Greek yogurt has almost twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt. This means that you will feel satisfied and full longer.
- It is low in sodium. Greek yogurt contains up to 50% less sodium than traditional yogurt.
- For those battling diabetes, it is good to know that Greek yogurt has substantially less carbohydrates than regular yogurt.
- Because it is lower in carbs, Greek yogurt is also lower in lactose. This is good news for those who are lactose intolerant.
According to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), there are many potential benefits of the probiotics in Greek yogurt. These benefits include helping to alleviate diarrhea, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, allergies and lactose intolerance. Probiotics in
Greek yogurt may also enhance immune function and protect against colon and bladder cancer.
Greek yogurt is extremely versatile. It can be used as a substitute for milk or sour cream for baked goods, marinades, salad dressings, or dips. Greek yogurt is also a delicious breakfast or snack mixed with healthy granola, nuts, or fruit.
Start adding Greek yogurt to your diet and get the benefit of loading up with probiotics—the friendly bacteria.
GREEK-STYLE QUINOA BURGERS
- 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
- 1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- 15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- Coarse salt
- Ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 pitas (each 6 inches)
- 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally
- In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
- Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.