Eating more dairy may reduce your fibroid risk. If you’re a woman with uterine fibroids—a type of noncancerous growth found in the wall of the uterus—you may be familiar with this piece of advice.
Recent research suggests, however, that not necessarily all dairy is fibroid protective, but specifically yogurt—and the mineral calcium—are what may reduce fibroid risk.
With so many brands of yogurt to choose from, where do you begin? And what do you do if you’re lactose intolerant? Keep reading for dietitian-recommended tips and more to help guide you down the yogurt aisle.
Healthy Guidelines for Choosing Dairy Yogurt
According to dietitians, start with the following healthy guidelines.
When reading the ingredients, the list should be short: think milk, active cultures, and (depending on the brand) added vitamins.
High sugar intake can increase your risk of several chronic diseases. A recommended 10 grams of sugar or less per serving is what you should look for in a yogurt. Better yet, choose unsweetened brands and add Stevia and/or fresh fruit to sweeten your yogurt without added sugar.
Pay Attention to Fat Content
If you choose a non-fat yogurt, you can boost healthy fats by sprinkling toppings, such as nuts and seeds. If you like the taste and consistency fat brings to a yogurt, you can always opt for a 2 ̶ 4% milkfat content.
Don’t Forget Protein
When choosing a yogurt made from cow’s milk, look for brands that have at least 5 grams of protein per serving. Choosing a strained yogurt brand, such as Greek yogurt, can significantly increase your protein intake per serving.
Tips If You’re Lactose Intolerant
If you’re lactose intolerant, your body has a hard time digesting lactose—a type of sugar naturally found in dairy products. Eating or drinking dairy products (or foods made with dairy) can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, like stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and bouts of nausea.
If you’re lactose intolerant, below is a list of calcium-rich dairy alternatives to try.
Nut milks, such as almond milk, macadamia milk, and pecan milk are healthy alternatives to cow’s milk because they’re fortified with calcium, often with a content much higher than dairy. Other plant milks, such as hemp seed milk, can be a great option, as it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Some dairy foods may be easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance, and yogurt is one of them. But for those who can’t digest dairy yogurt, plant yogurts are an exciting alternative to try. Made from coconut to flax seed to pea protein, these yogurts can be another healthful option.
Tips When Going Lactose-Free
Pass on Soy (for now)
Soy contains phytoestrogens, and it’s still unclear how soy impacts fibroid growth.
Avoid Added Sugars
Choose products that are low in sugar content (see above recommendation) or labeled “unsweetened.” As with dairy, try sweetening your yogurt with Stevia and/or fresh fruit.
Look for Calcium
The latest research suggests that it’s the calcium in foods that may be fibroid protective. Read the label to ensure your milk or yogurt has calcium, either naturally occurring or fortified.
Don’t give up!
Not all lactose-free foods will please your palate. Try different products to see which ones you like best.
For more on fibroids, treatment options, and other women’s health topics, read more on our blog.