New York: People who eat yogurt may enjoy a better-balanced diet and get more key nutrients than those who never consume the cultured dairy product, according to a new study.
People who said they ate yogurt also reported consuming higher amounts of other healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and whole grains, than people who did not eat yogurt.
Their diets obtained fewer calories from processed meats, refined grains and beer than did the diets of non-yogurt eaters, according to the study, `Myhealthnewsdaily` reported.
"Yogurt is a very good source of many shortfall nutrients ? calcium, potassium, and magnesium - that Americans don`t currently consume enough of," said researcher Paul Jacques of Tufts University.
"Yogurt is a good way to meet your dietary requirements for nutrients that you may not be currently eating," said Jacques.
Researchers analysed data collected from slightly more than 6,500 adults, aged 19 to 89, all of them either the children or grandchildren of the original participants in the Framingham Heart Study.
That Massachusetts-based study, which began in 1948 and followed its subjects for nearly 50 years, attempted to identify common causes of heart attack and stroke in a large group of people who had not yet developed these problems.
Researchers found that 53.8 per cent of the participants ate yogurt. Among the women, 64 per cent were yogurt-eaters; among the men, 41 per cent ate yogurt.
The average amount of yogurt eaten was two and one-quarter cups a week. Yogurt accounted for between 1 per cent and 6 per cent of daily calories depending upon how much people ate.
They also were 48 per cent less likely to have inadequate levels of calcium; 38 per cent less likely to be deficient in magnesium; and 55 per cent less apt to have shortfalls of vitamin B12, a nutrient lacking in some older people`s diets.
We found that yogurt consumers had higher intakes of just about every nutrient we measured. If people substitute yogurt for less healthy foods in the diet, it may help eliminate the inadequate intake of shortfall nutrients," Jacques said.