Do you eat enough yogurt? The standard serving size is four ounces, which is less than one average-size yogurt container. But according to a new study, eating 12 ounces daily (two average-size containers) can help lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes by 18 percent.

For the study, researchers at Harvard looked at how much dairy — and what kind — nearly 200,000 men and women ages 25 to 75 ate over the course of up to 30 years. They also looked at who developed diabetes.

They found that the total amount of dairy people ate didn’t affect their Type 2 diabetes risk — but the amount of yogurt they ate did.

According to the study’s lead author, Mu Chen, a doctoral candidate in the departments of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, “one hypothesis is that the probiotics in yogurt may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.”

Related: An Avocado a Day Helps Keep Bad Cholesterol Away 

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria found in many brands of yogurt.

Yogurt is also rich in calcium and protein and may offer other health benefits as well.

So how do you get more yogurt in your diet? Try these five tips.

1. Make a breakfast parfait. Layer yogurt, low-fat granola and fresh fruit (berries, sliced peaches, bananas, mangoes — anything you like), and voilà, you have a fast, filling and nutritious breakfast.

2. Whip up a smoothie. Blend yogurt, ice and the fruit or fruits of your choice in a blender. Add milk or a milk alternative, such as soy or almond milk, if you want something creamier. Or use low-fat chocolate milk in a smoothie to to give your kids their fill of yogurt and fruit in one.  

smoothies                                                                                    (Photo: verca/Shutterstock) 

3. Try yogurt dip for crackers and veggies. For example, make cucumber yogurt dip (add grated cucumber, dill, minced garlic and olive oil) or roasted red pepper yogurt dip (blend roasted red peppers, yogurt, chopped chilies and garlic). You can even use yogurt dip as a sauce for sandwiches and wraps.

4. Top bean soup or a baked potato with yogurt. It’s a great substitute for sour cream and a healthier option.

5. Top dessert with yogurt. The National Dairy Council offers a recipe for baked apples with cinnamon yogurt topping. Rachel Ray has a recipe for a blackberry and yogurt dessert that uses crystallized ginger, honey and orange zest for a treat with both sweetness and zing.

waffles and apples with yogurt                                                                            (Photo: colorvsbw/Shutterstock) 

When eating all this yogurt, stick to low-fat or nonfat brands to avoid saturated fat. And note that Greek yogurt has twice as much protein and half the carbohydrates as regular nonfat yogurt.

Related: 4 Foods that Could Lower Your Blood Pressure

Sydney is a self-proclaimed social media addict and a recent grad of the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Journalism. She spent two summers in New York interning with Cosmopolitan.com and iVillage, where one of her articles garnered the most traffic on the site. In her free time, when she’s not pinning DIY projects or fostering golden retrievers, she looks forward to Christmas so she can add to her 25 days of baking blog. Her favorite safety tip: Don’t text and drive — no text is worth it!