A staple in many an 8fitter’s kitchen, yogurt never fails to amaze us with its nutritional profile. This fermented food has been around for a long, long time. In fact, historians believe that yogurt was eaten in Ancient Rome, where it was likely enjoyed with honey, much like it is today.
The specific origins of yogurt are unknown, but research suggests that yogurt as we know it was discovered around 5000 BC in Mesopotamia (in the modern-day Middle East). Legend has it that in the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent ordered a doctor to give yogurt to his friend, French monarch Francis I, who was suffering from a bout of diarrhea. The story goes that the yogurt cured his ailment and that Francis I brought back the news about the food’s healing powers to Europe where it spread like wildfire.
Nowadays, many people around the globe enjoy healthy yogurt for breakfast, as a snack or as dessert. Let’s take a look at why yogurt is such a popular food; plus, we’ll share exclusive 8fit recipes straight from our app.
What is yogurt?
Yogurt is made through a process of bacterial fermentation of milk and different types of bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. Traditionally, yogurt is made with cow’s milk, but some cultures use the goat, water buffalo, yak and even camel milk.
Thankfully for vegans and the lactose-intolerant, dairy-free yogurt is gaining ground in supermarkets and health food stores. These varieties are made from an array of dairy-free "milks" including coconut, rice, soy and cashew.
The benefits of eating yogurt
Packed with nutrients
Yogurt is brimming with healthy nutrients, especially calcium, B vitamins, phosphorus and magnesium.
High in protein
In a cup of unsweetened, full-fat dairy yogurt, you can expect about 149 calories and 8.5 grams of protein. Specifically, the proteins you get in yogurt include casein and whey, which both provide a wide range of health benefits. Protein can help you feel fuller, which can aid weight loss. If weight loss is in fact your goal, then make sure to choose a yogurt free of added sugar!
Good for digestion
Probiotics, the live microorganisms that live in yogurt, are what make this food so good for digestive health. Of course, it’s crucial that you don’t skimp on quality -- some yogurts are full of sugar and additives that may undermine the health benefits. Be sure to check the label and avoid artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup and other types of sugar when deciding on a healthy yogurt.
Strengthens your immunity
Believe it or not, studies show that the probiotics found in yogurt may reduce inflammation and even improve immune health.
How is yogurt made?
To make yogurt, usually milk or cream is combined with lactic bacteria cultures such as lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. The mixture is heated and then stored at a temperature that facilitates increased activity of the bacteria.
During this process, the bacteria convert the lactose in the milk to lactic acid, thickening it and lending yogurt its trademark tangy flavor. The result is a rich, creamy concoction that goes down a treat with some freshly sliced fruit or a spoonful of honey.
Want to jazz up your yogurt routine? Check out for of our healthy yogurt recipes below.
4 Healthy yogurt recipes from the 8fit app
Yogurt with Fig & Walnut
- 1 fig (~1 ¾ oz)
- 1 ¼ cups Greek yogurt, plain (low-fat) (~13 oz)
- 1 ¼ tsp fresh mint (chopped)
- 5 walnuts (~⅔ oz)
- Remove tip of fig and chop into small pieces.
- Place yogurt in bowl and top with chopped walnut, fig, and mint.
Mango Coconut Chia Yogurt
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened yogurt
- 1 mango
- 6 Tbsp chia seeds
- 10 almonds
- 4 Tbsp shredded coconut
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Combine all of the ingredients and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Cherry Almond “Cheesecake”
- 6 cherries (fresh or frozen)
- 7 almonds (chopped/crushed)
- 1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ cups Greek yogurt, plain (full-fat)
- 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- 1 ¼ Tbsp honey or agave syrup
- If you’re using frozen cherries, allow them to defrost, then chop. If using fresh cherries, remove their pits before chopping.
- In a bowl, add crushed almonds and cinnamon.
- Mix yogurt with vanilla, lemon, and honey.
- Top almond "crust" with the yogurt mixture and cherries.
Chocolate Greek Yogurt Dip
- ¾ cups strawberries
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt, plain (low-fat)
- 1 ½ Tbsp raw cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp maple syrup (real preferred)
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- .75 oz dark chocolate
- 2 ½ tsp fresh mint (chopped)
- Wash the strawberries and set aside.
- Mix the yogurt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla together in a bowl.
- Top the yogurt mixture with chopped chocolate and mint (optional).
- Eat immediately or for best results, chill (covered) in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- Serve with strawberries for dipping.
8fit + yogurt = the perfect pair
If you enjoyed the healthy yogurt recipes above, you’ll love 8fit. Subscribe to Pro and access over 700 delicious recipes, where you’ll find several where yogurt is the star ingredient. In addition to recipes, 8fit boasts fun workouts that you can squeeze into even the busiest schedule. Sign up for 8fit Pro and begin reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.