April is National Minority Health Month, a time to raise awareness about the health disparities that continue to affect African Americans and other minority groups. This year’s theme, Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity emphasizes the critical role of prevention in reducing health disparities and presents a prime opportunity to talk about the importance of diabetes prevention.
Research shows that maintaining a healthy weight and eating a nutrient-dense diet that includes yogurt and other low-fat dairy products can help prevent diabetes. A study published August 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that by drinking one extra glass of milk per day you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 13 percent. Other studies show that it’s not just the amount of dairy but the type of dairy is also very important. Eating more low-fat fermented dairy products such as yogurt is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
And there’s good news for people who’ve already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? In April 2014 the American Diabetes Association published a study that showed when patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes followed a low carbohydrate Mediterranean style diet, they had a greater reduction of average blood glucose (HbA1c ) levels, higher rate of diabetes remission, and delayed need for diabetes medication compared with a low-fat diet.
Greek yogurt is a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet and can help you prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. And if you’re lactose intolerant there’s no need to worry. Yogurt is more easily digested than milk because it has lactase-producing yogurt cultures.
The following tips will help you enjoy the great taste of yogurt and get all the health benefits too.
- Add 1 cup Greek yogurt to 2 lbs. mashed potatoes in place of 4 Tbsp. butter.
- Replace Greek yogurt for sour cream, cup for cup, in your favorite muffin or coffee cake recipes.
- Use the same amount of Greek nonfat yogurt in place of oil in marinades for chicken, fish or pork before grilling for a tangy flavor.
- Use 1 Tbsp. Greek nonfat yogurt per serving instead of 1 Tbsp. sour cream to garnish bean soups or chili.
- Have you tried Greek in place of butter on bagels or muffins yet? Try it!
- Replace mayo with Greek nonfat yogurt in your chicken salad.
- For more great tips on cooking with yogurt click here.
This post was written while participating in my partnership with Dannon, but as always, all opinions are my own and consistent with my personal mission, to shorten the cultural distance between patients and their healthcare provider.