In general, the mineral content of yogurt is similar to that of milk.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium, which is essential for the healthy growth and maintenance of teeth and bones amongst other important functions.
A 150g serving of whole milk fruit yogurt provides 26% of the calcium required daily by a UK adult (19-50 yrs) and 41% of the calcium required by a UK child (4-6 yrs).
The reason that milk, yogurt and other dairy foods are good providers of calcium is because they contain significant amounts of calcium in a bioavailable (easily absorbed) form.
Whilst other foods may also contain calcium, they may not necessarily be good providers because their calcium content per serving is low, because the calcium they provide isn’t available for absorption and use by the body (i.e. bioavailable), or as a result of both these factors.
For example, whilst spinach contains calcium, its bioavailability is poor and, hence, it would be necessary to eat 11 servings, or 963g, of spinach in order to absorb the same amount of calcium that is available from one small-pot of yogurt.
In addition the acidity of yogurt is thought to increase the absorption of certain minerals including calcium, phosphorous and magnesium even further compared with other dairy products and may reduce the inhibitory effect of some compounds such as phytic acid which is known to interfere with mineral absorption (particularly calcium).
Studies have also suggested that calcium from yogurt may lead to greater bone mineralization than calcium from non fermented dairy products in animals, however, there are no published studies that show this effect in humans at present.
Yogurt is also a provider of phosphorus.
Phosphorus serves many functions in the body and is necessary for healthy bones and teeth as well as energy production, cell membrane structure, tissue growth and regulation of pH levels in the body.
A 150g serving of whole milk plain yogurt and low-fat plain yogurt will provide 47% and 40% of an adult’s daily phosphorus requirement respectively.
Yogurt is a good source of iodine. Iodine is necessary for the functioning of hormones such as thyroxine produced by the thyroid gland. These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism (how quickly the body burns energy and the rate of growth).
A 150g serving of whole milk plain yogurt and low-fat plain yogurt will provide approximately 68% and 36% of an adult’s (aged 19-50 years) daily iodine requirement respectively. A 150g serving of whole milk plain yogurt and low-fat plain yogurt will provide a child aged 6 years with all (158%) and 85% of the recommended daily requirement for iodine respectively.
Magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, iron and chloride are also found in yogurt.
For more information why not look at the nutritional composition of yogurt?