Whether you pair it with fruit for breakfast or spoon it over curry for dinner, yoghurt offers more than a creamy texture.
Packed with nutrients and minerals, the food can form a part of a healthy diet.
However, new research, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition titled Food of the Future: Meat and Dairy Alternatives, found that one type seems to be especially healthy.
If you’re a fan of classic Greek yoghurt, the research might prompt you to switch things up.
The new study suggested that almond milk yoghurt is better for you than its dairy counterpart.
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The research team found that almond milk yoghurt packs a greater nutritional punch.
Research assistant, Astrid D’Andrea, said: “Plant-based yoghurts overall have less total sugar, less sodium and more fibre than dairy, but they have less protein, calcium and potassium than dairy yoghurt.
“But when looking at the overall nutrient density, comparing dairy yoghurt to plant-based yoghurt, with the nutrients that we looked at, almond yoghurt has a significantly higher nutrient density than dairy yoghurt and all other plant-based yoghurts.”
The team arrived at their findings by looking at products launched over a five-year period and comparing 612 plant-based and dairy yoghurts.
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Out of the 612 options analysed, 159 were full-fat dairy, 303 were low-fat and non-fat dairy, 61 were coconut, 44 were almond, 30 were cashew and 15 were oat.
The researchers used the Nutrient Rich Foods (NRF) Index, which assigns scores based on the nutrient density of foods.
D’Andrea said: “This allowed us to compare the nutritional density of the yoghurts based on nutrients to encourage such as protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin D, and nutrients to limit such as saturated fat, total sugar and salt.”
Oat milk yoghurt also ranked better than normal milk yoghurt, while cow’s milk beat cashew and coconut varieties.
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Based on the NRF ranking, the yoghurts scored from the highest to lowest in this order: almond, oat, low-fat and non-fat dairy, full-fat dairy, cashew and coconut.
The research team attributed the high scores of almond and oat yoghurts to their low levels of total sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
All of these ingredients can pave the way to health problems, ranging from high blood pressure to high cholesterol.
However, the team added that further research is warranted, based on their findings that suggest a way to maximise the nutrition and functional characteristics of yoghurt by blending plant and dairy.
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