Tzatziki is a Greek yoghurt dip that originated in Southeast Europe and Turkey. It is a classic Greek condiment served with the mezes or small plates as an appetiser portion of roasted meats and vegetables. The dip became a prominent appetiser around the 20th Century. Although tzatziki is readily available in the grocery stores, it is also easy to prepare at home. While the recipe varies depending on region, the sauce, or a variation, is considered healthy. Tzatziki contains many minerals and vitamins and is low in carbs. However, while tzatziki is low in carbs, it does not contain enough protein. Therefore, you need to add protein-rich foods as an accompaniment to tzatziki.
Tzatziki: An Introduction
Tzatziki dip is an integral part of the Middle East and Southeast European Countries. It is also called tarator in some countries. However, some people refer to tzatziki as a sauce or a soup rather than a dip. The texture of the tzatziki dip is creamy. Moreover, it is a healthier alternative to sour dip and commercial hummus. Traditionally, the tzatziki dish was for balancing spiced meats. Much like raita in Indian cuisine, tzatziki adds a creamy element and helps to cool spicy foods.
Tzatziki is one of the significant condiments paired with side dishes, starters, or meat-based appetisers. The serving temperature of tzatziki dip is cold. Tzatziki comprises cucumbers, garlic, dill, olive oil, salt, and strained yoghurt. You can sometimes add parsley or walnuts for garnishing. As with many foods, there are regional variations of tzatziki. The main ingredients are full-fat Greek yoghurt, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and English or Persian cucumber, which are less watery and sweeter. You can also add mint, dill, and olive oil. If you’d like to lower the fat and calories, you can substitute the full-fat Greek yoghurt for low-fat. And you can also use soy-based yoghurt if you are a vegan or lactose intolerant.
Nutritional Profile of Tzatziki
According to the USDA, 100g of tzatziki contains the following nutrients.
- Calories: 92 kcal
- Protein: 5.35g
- Carbohydrate: 3.95g
- Lipid (fat): 6.31g
- Fibre: 0.2g
- Calcium: 64 mg
- Phosphorous: 86 mg
- Potassium: 139 mg
- Magnesium: 11 mg
- Sodium: 307mg
- Fatty acids (total saturated): 1.84g
- Fatty acids (total monounsaturated): 3.72g
- Fatty acids (total polyunsaturated): 0.641g
- Vitamin A: 3 mg
- Cholesterol: 7mg
One tablespoon of tzatziki dip contains 13.8 calories and 0.593 grams of carbs. So, it offers fewer carbohydrates and calories, making it suitable for weight loss. Tzatziki has little fat from yoghurt, milk, or vegetable oil but does not contain many calories. In addition, it is an excellent source of vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium.
Varieties of Tzatziki Dips
In tzatziki dips, the main variation comes from changing one or two ingredients.
- Mexican Tzatziki Dip: Replace the lemon with lime and add some avocados. It usually tastes best with tacos and burritos.
- Italian Tzatziki Dip: Add oregano and ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes. It tastes best when used in burgers and sandwiches.
- Ranch: Replace the yoghurt with ranch. It makes the texture thinner and thus is suitable as a spread or a sauce.
- Smoky Version: Add some paprika to increase the spice quotient. It tastes best with barbeques and grilled meat.
- Spicy Version: You can add any chilly sauce. Precisely harissa sauce tastes best. You can use this for salads and veggies.
- Turkey Tzatziki Dip: Shredded carrots are added in this version and pair well with a soup (cold) during summers.
The HealthifyMe Note
The different variants of Tzatziki dips make them a versatile condiment to your meals. You can pair them with different dishes during various meals. Besides adding taste, it will also impart some health benefits. However, you should always ensure that you consume it in moderation.
Potential Benefits of Tzatziki Dips
Improved Gut Health
Yoghurt is the chief ingredient of all tzatziki recipes, making it a probiotic-rich food containing beneficial bacteria. A study shows that foods containing yoghurt boost good bacteria levels while reducing the number of harmful bacteria. It balances both good and bad bacteria. A balanced amount of bacteria will lead to proper bowel movements, good gut health, and improved colon function. On the contrary, low probiotic levels in your body can lead to obesity, arthritis, diabetes, and irregular bowel movements. Consuming adequate amounts of dietary yoghurt through foods like tzatziki will help maintain the required probiotic levels.
Tzatziki is a diabetes-friendly condiment since it is low-carb and low-sugar. It also contains a good amount of dill. According to studies, this dill can aid in lowering blood sugar levels. Dill, as a herb, possesses properties that can lower blood glucose. As a result, they are suitable as traditional herbal medicine for diabetes management. Traditional Mediterranean tzatziki sauce is perfect for dipping low-carb non-starchy vegetables. People with diabetes can also add it as a topping on salads, sandwiches or wraps.
Aids in Weight Loss
Tzatziki is one of the few dips that contain low-fat content compared to other dips. So if you are on a diet and want to try out some tangy flavours, you can opt for tzatziki dip. But consuming only tzatziki dip would not satisfy the daily requirements of the protein. Thus, pair it with grilled or roasted chicken, salads, and pita bread to have a protein-packed meal to fulfil the daily quota of proteins.
Homemade tzatziki aids in weight loss because it contains healthy ingredients rather than cheap vegetable oils. However, certain store-bought tzatziki uses sour cream or mayo in addition or place of yoghurt, dramatically increasing the calories. Instead, you can try making your tzatziki with strained yoghurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and herbs to control the calorie levels.
Intake of Healthy Foods
Veggies and salads as raw and bland are hard to eat while on a diet. But if you pair it with the right and healthy dip or dressing, you might consume more healthy salads. That is what tzatziki does to you. People have admitted to taking more veggies solely because of the flavoured condiments like tzatziki. Moreover, tzatziki does not add many carbs or calories to your system, so you need not worry about gaining weight. The best veggies to pair up with the dip are carrots and cucumbers. You can also opt for tofu and chicken. For example, tzatziki and beetroot salad is a quick dinner low in calories.
Allergies Concerning Tzatziki Dips
There are few allergy cases with tzatziki dips. However, tzatziki dips comprise Greek yoghurt, a dairy product. This dairy product contains lactose, a problem for lactose-intolerant patients. As a result, they might experience indigestion, bloating, and other symptoms of a lactose intolerant disorder.
Tzatziki Dip contains a good amount of dill. This dill is a boon and a bane at the same time. If consumed in moderate quantities, it is safe. However, according to studies, if the consumption increases, dill might trigger various allergic symptoms like throat swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea, tongue swelling, etc.
Homemade Tzatziki Recipe
- Serves: 1 cup
- Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes
- Greek Yoghurt (Fat-Free): 1½ Cups
- Olive oil (Extra Virgin): 2 tbsp
- Fresh Garlic: 1 clove
- English Cucumber: ½
- Sea Salt: As per taste
- Herbs: dill (finely chopped)
- Lemon Juice: 1 tbsp
Method of Preparation
- Shred the cucumbers well and smoothen them in a food processor. To avoid water content, you can leave the shredded cucumber on the top of a mesh or cheesecloth for around 12 hours overnight.
- After transferring the cucumber to a bowl, you can add the yoghurt.
- Next, add the remaining ingredients like salt, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil and stir the mixture to dissolve lumps.
- Taste to see if the flavour is correct. You can add the chopped herbs in this step too.
- Now, let this mixture rest for at least 5-7 minutes. The more you keep it, the more flavour oozes out. Leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
Storage Tips Regarding Tzatziki Dips
If purchased or made, tzatziki dip needs maintenance, as it is a dairy product.
- You can freeze tzatziki dips by storing them in an air-tight container with plastic wraps around the lid’s surface.
- Tzatziki dip should never come in contact with air while freezing. Thus it is wise to put the air-tight container into a freezing bag and squeeze all the air out.
- The average shelf life of homemade tzatziki dip is around four days in the refrigerator.
- If you freeze the tzatziki dips, they might last for one month.
- Tzatziki tastes best when it is made a few days before consumption. The garlic flavour gets stronger day by day.
Regulations and Precautions for Consuming Tzatziki Dips
- The ideal serving of tzatziki dips is around two tablespoons.
- Typically lactose-intolerant people can experience allergic symptoms, and tzatziki is safe for most people.
- Pregnant or lactating mothers must consult a doctor before consuming it as it contains dill.
- While preparing tzatziki dips at home, use fat-free yoghurt.
- There is no practical age limit for the consumption of tzatziki dips.
The HealthifyMe Note
Although Tzatziki does not have too many adverse effects, it is essential to be careful with its consumption. Eating it in moderation may impart health benefits, but an excess can lead to side effects. The ideal serving is two tablespoons. Pregnant and lactating mothers should consult their doctors before consuming the dip as it might lead to some health issues. Overall, it is a safe condiment that you can consume in moderation.
Tzatziki is a perfect dip for veggies or as a spread. It is one of the most liked Greek condiments that serves as a healthy, excellent source of probiotics. Although you can find variations online, the classic tzatziki contains yoghurt, garlic, fresh dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and cucumber. Eating tzatziki can help add a variety of healthy nutrients to your daily diet, maintain a robust microbial system, and maintain blood glucose levels. If you suffer from high blood pressure, use tzatziki often as it contains less sodium and carbs than hummus. However, there are a few allergies related to tzatziki dips. In addition, lactose-intolerant patients might experience some allergic symptoms, as tzatziki is a dairy product.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is tzatziki sauce good for you?
A. Yes, tzatziki is considered a healthier dip than hummus and sour cream. It contains several vitamins, a good amount of protein, and fewer carbohydrates and calories. The fat content of tzatziki is low too, which is not the case with other dips. Thus, you can opt for tzatziki dips over other dips.
Q. What are the benefits of tzatziki sauce?
A. tzatziki carries several health benefits, including better cardiac health, reduced blood glucose level, reduced blood pressure, increased bone strength, improved eyesight, lower hunger pangs and hunger hormones, and better gut health. Owing to this, you can use tzatziki dip in weight loss plans.
Q. Is tzatziki healthier than hummus?
A. Yes, tzatziki is healthier than hummus as the sodium content of tzatziki is 307 mg per 100g serving, whereas the sodium content of hummus is 379 mg per 100g serving. Hummus also contains more calories than tzatziki. Hence, tzatziki is the better option as it has several health benefits from dill.
Q. Is the tzatziki diet friendly?
A. Yes, tzatziki dips are weight loss diet-friendly as they contain low carbohydrates and calories. Owing to this, people usually include tzatziki dips in their ketogenic diets.
Q. Is tzatziki a probiotic?
A.Yoghurt is the main content of tzatziki dips. Yoghurts are natural probiotics. These probiotics feed the good bacteria in the intestinal lining and flush out the toxins from the gut. In addition, these good bacteria regulate the level of harmful bacteria. It creates a balance. This balance aids in maintaining bowel movements, reducing the formation of gas and bloating issues.
Q. Is tzatziki dip high in calories?
A. No, tzatziki dip is low in calories, as two tablespoons of tzatziki dip contain only 25 calories. People include tzatziki dips in several ketogenic and weight loss diets. The calorie content of tzatziki dips is relatively less than other dips like sour cream and hummus. Although it is a dairy product, it contains very few calories.
Q. Is tzatziki high in salt?
A. No, tzatziki is not high in salt content. The salt and sugar content of tzatziki dips is low compared to other dips and sauces.
Q. Is tzatziki high in carbs?
A. No, tzatziki is certainly not high on carbs. On the contrary, it is low in carbs and sugars. For example, two tablespoons of tzatziki contain only 1 gram of carbohydrate.
Q. Is tzatziki high in fat?
A. No, tzatziki is not high in fat. Instead, it is a low-fat yoghurt dip. But if you are preparing it at home, use a fat-free Greek yoghurt instead of full-fat yoghurt. You can also check for this feature while purchasing. If made appropriately, tzatziki dip contains negligible fat content, a characteristic most dips lack. It is a good, healthy and tasty food product.
Q. Does tzatziki have added sugar?
A. No, tzatziki does not contain sugars or added sugars. One serving of tzatziki contains a negligible amount of sugar. Therefore, tzatziki is a low-carb, low-sugar food product. The sugar content in other dips, like hummus and sour cream, is comparatively high, making tzatziki a better alternative.
Q. Is tzatziki sauce unhealthy?
A. No, tzatziki sauce is not unhealthy. On the contrary, it is healthy owing to its nutritional constituents. These dietary properties provide health benefits like improved cardiac health, strong bones, good eyesight, regulated blood sugar level, and management of diabetes. In addition, dieticians recommend including tzatziki in the diet rather than other dips, as it contains low carbohydrates and fats compared to other dips.
Q. Is tzatziki sauce heart healthy?
A. Yes, tzatziki sauce is heart-healthy as it contains components that regulate blood pressure levels like low sodium. In addition, tzatziki does not have cholesterol, which helps prevent coronary heart diseases like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. Other factors like vitamin A also improve cardiac muscle contraction. Overall, all these factors aid in improving heart health.
Q. Is tzatziki sauce high in cholesterol?
A. No, tzatziki sauce does not contain much cholesterol. The average two-tablespoon serving of tzatziki dip or sauce contains only 1.5 to 2 grams of fat. It is comparatively less than any other sauce or dip. The calcium content is also high, with no cholesterol in it. This feature keeps the heart healthy, increases metabolism, and helps lose the extra fat deposited in the adipose tissue.