For healthful good taste, mix up a better bowl of yogurt

yogurtPlain yogurt brings powerful health benefits to your table, but the taste can leave something to be desired. Dessert style yogurts aren’t the answer because they reduce nutrients and add calories.
You can get the benefits of true yogurt and much more by creating your own mix with fruit and sweetener.
These are some of the great health benefits of natural yogurt:
Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that the potential health attributes of yogurt go far beyond boosting intake of protein and calcium. They include the ability to make the immune system more resilient.
The live and active cultures found in yogurt help to protect the intestinal tract. They have great potential as anti-infection agents. And they may help to increase resistance to immune-related diseases such as cancer and infection.
The recommended daily intake of protein  varies for different groups of people. In general, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends that most people get two to three servings of high-protein food such as yogurt each day.
Calcium in yogurt does more than keep bones strong. Studies show a link between calcium and normal blood pressure, to name just one of calcium’s other functions.
Consider these suggestions for mixing your own concoction with yogurt:
* By adding fruit such as oranges, peaches, or pears to yogurt, you get the added nutrients in those foods, including vitamin C.
* Mix with dessert-style yogurt. Go half-and-half to lighten the calorie load Even if you add a little sweetener, you still get the benefits of plain yogurt.
* Sweeten smartly. When you add fruit, you can sweeten with sugar-free sweeteners, honey, or applesauce.
* Use yogurt, or sweetened yogurt as a dip for vegetables or as a salad dressing.

Dip into hummus for a hearty, healthful treat

If you keep hearing about hummus but are too busy to find out what it is and why it’s good, we have answers for you.
Its main ingredient is garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Doesn’t sound too appetizing? Just try hummus as a pita chip dip or spread it on crackers and celery sticks, and you could change your mind.
Historians at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem think the humble chickpea’s nutritional benefits are one of the reasons civilization developed in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia. Chickpeas include tryptophan, which improves performance when under stress, and may have improved brain function those 11,000 years ago.
We’re not claiming that hummus has done any of that, but chickpeas are a source of good carbohydrates, vitamins, and zinc and have a low fat content. Most dieters will find that hummus is a perfect snack and a good addition to a low-calorie eating plan.
And it’s good for children. Spread on celery or crackers, it’s better for kids than store-bought spreads and dips.            Sometimes spelled hummis instead of hummus, the Thai version, called bi tahini, includes sesame seed paste and coriander. Some recipes call for many ingredients.
For a tasty addition to a vegetable tray that includes cut-up broccoli and cauliflower, there’s no need to assemble exotic components. Just try this easy recipe. You can alter it to your personal taste by increasing or decreasing the olive oil and the jalapenos. Add more of the reserved liquid for a smoother dip.
Easy hummus
Drain a 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Save the liquid.
Add 2 ounces of fresh sliced jalapeno peppers, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and a teaspoon of olive oil (can be left out of the recipe).
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients with 1 tablespoon of the reserved bean liquid and blend until smooth.
This recipe makes 2 cups.