In this week's edition of our ongoing series called: Ancient Ingredients, Modern Superpowerswe'll be diving into an immensely popular Greek superfood: Yogurt. Over the past few years, many of us have seen the healing benefits of Greek Yogurt, but it's much more diverse than you think. Read on to discover the extraordinary powers of the superfoods of Greece & the Mediterranean for health, happiness and longevity.
Where does Greek Yogurt come from? Greek Yogurt, otherwise known as straggisto,has been a part of Greek culture since ancient times. The first documented mention of yogurt in Greece was around 100 B.C. But, strained yogurt was independently developed in many major cultures around the world, which makes it one of the most universal foods. Research about the true health benefits didn't begin until the early 1900s when we discovered that healthy bacterias, like Lactobacillus bulgaricus, thrived in yogurt cultures.
What makes Greek Yogurt so special? Over the past decade, "Greek" yogurt became immensely popular in the United States for its thick texture and high protein count. But in Greece, yogurt is really diverse. It can be made from cow, sheep or goat milk - and its texture can vary widely. But, Greek yogurt has one important aspect in common: the fermentation process. Unlike other types of yogurt, Greek yogurt is strained 3 times - which removes whey (the liquid that contains lactose, a natural sugar, in yogurt) from the yogurt. This special process creates that thick, protein-filled, healthy superfood we all know.
What are the health benefits? Greek Yogurt is packed with good bacteria, protein, vitamins and calcium - making it a major superfood for our bone and gut health. Because Greek Yogurt is essentially fermented milk, it contains many healthy probiotics that strengthen our gut. We know that gut health not only impacts our digestion, but it can also enhance our mental health because of the brain-gut connection. Also, since Greek Yogurt is packed with proteins research has shown that it increases metabolism, promotes bone health and builds muscle mass. What a superfood!
How can I use it in my every day? Many of you likely use Greek Yogurt in your every day already, but it's an incredibly diverse food that can fit into nearly any meal. I especially love eating it for breakfast with some of my other favorite superfoods (here's a delicious almond butter & vanilla yogurt bowl recipe - we have a ton of different varieties on our website!). But, Greek Yogurt can be used as a thickening agent in nearly any dip, sauce or topping. I especially love this tzatziki dip recipe, or this feta & yogurt sauce.
How do you use this ancient superfood in modern ways? Are there other Mediterranean superfoods you'd like us to cover? Respond to this note or tag us on Instagram @kosterina with your thoughts!
Olive Oil Sommelier, Katerina Mountanos, is the Founder & CEO of Kosterina. Katerina is very passionate about olive oil, the Mediterranean lifestyle and eating for health and longevity.