Many think of yogurt as just a sweet snack. But the thick, creamy, rich kind that's traditional in Greece has been integral to Grecians' healthy diet for thousands of years. "We have a custom that before a couple goes on their honeymoon, they eat yogurt with honey and walnuts for prosperity and energy," says Antonios Maridakis, president of Fage USA, importer of Greece's biggest yogurt brand. "A lot of us believe that yogurt is an aphrodisiac."
Why to try it: Yogurt promotes intestinal and vaginal health, improves lactose intolerance, builds stronger bones, enhances immunity, lowers blood pressure, and may even have anticancer and weight-loss effects. In a recent study in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers found that obese adults who ate three servings of fat-free yogurt a day as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who just cut calories. A plus for Greek yogurt, in particular, is that it doesn't give you the sugar overload of what you usually find in U.S. grocery stores. To save on fat and calories, reach for a low-fat version.
What to do with it: Look for Fage Total yogurt at specialty food stores, Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats, or Trader Joe's. A 5-ounce container costs $1.89. Try it with a drizzle of honey and a handful of walnuts or almonds. Or use Greek yogurt in our delicious Grilled Eggplant and Yogurt Dip.
Grilled Eggplant and Yogurt Dip
Recipe by Mark Bittman
Prep: 15 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes