Research proves that yoghurt is packed with beneficial bacteria that are essential for good health. Legend tells that yoghurt was born on the slopes of Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus range of mountains, between the Black and Caspian seas, when a pitcher of milk belonging to a Turkish nomad was contaminated by a mixture of organisms that thrived in the warm milk (40 - 45c). The result was what the Turks call "yogurut", which in the 8th Century became “yogurut" the current “Yoghurt” in the 11th Century. Though there is no scientific evidence to this story, it is true that a regular intake of the organisms found in yoghurt can have a beneficial affect to the digestive tract.
Why should I be aware of it?
Yoghurt not only contains all the health benefits of milk but has the added advantage that it can be consumed by even those suffering from Lactose Intolerance. It is not only a delicious snack but also an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Compared with milk yogurt contains more calcium and protein because of the added cultures in it.
The process of fermentation predigests the milk in the yoghurt, which allows the body to digest 90 per cent of it within an hour of eating (only 30 per cent of milk is digested in the same time). Apart from this, the live bacteria in yoghurt offers a myriad health benefits, making yoghurt a truly miracle food.
Integral family diet
There are numerous advantages to making yoghurt an integral part of your family's diet plan.
- It has all the goodness of milk with an added advantage that it can be consumed by even those suffering from Lactose Intolerance.
- A 250 g cup of yoghurt contains 370 mg of calcium and eight grams of protein and 250 grams of potassium. Enough to meet 30-40 percent of an adult’s daily need of calcium and 20-25 percent of protein requirement.
- Its potassium content is equal to that of a banana.
- Its calcium content, also aids in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, enhances muscle contractions and helps to reduce blood pressure.
Yoghurt and your health
The micro-organisms in yoghurt, broadly called probiotics, counter the negative effects of harmful bacteria. When harmful bacteria are higher in the intestine, they prevent essential nutrients from being produced and the level of toxins in the system goes up. Probiotics are the body’s natural system of protecting itself from infections.
People who get an adequate amount of natural yoghurt in their daily diet, are most certainly insured against many digestive and intestinal ailments. Most people experience some form of digestive disorder in their lives – this could be heartburn, reflux, gas, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diarrhea, etc. Probiotics act as an immune booster, they improve digestion (especially of lactose) and prevent intestinal bloating and diarrhea.
Packed with nutrition
Yoghurt is packed with calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B, potassium and lactic acid. Lactic acid allows the body to properly assimilate protein, iron and calcium. Calcium in yoghurt helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, enhances muscle contractions and helps to reduce blood pressure.
Vitamin B Production
Regular consumption of yoghurt produces natural Vitamin B in your system
New research findings have indicated that three servings of fat-free yoghurt a day as part of a reduced calorie diet, help loose 22 percent more weight and 61 percent more body fat than those who simply cut calories and didn't build up on calcium.
Live cultures or strains of bacteria, namely lactobacillus (L) L. acidophilus, L.bulgarcus, Streptococcus thermophilus and bifidobacteria, in yoghurt restore your intestinal tract to normal after the use of antibiotic which usually decreases your normal flora or natural bacterial level. They also prevent constipation and diarrhea and helps with inflammatory bowel disease.
Other therapeutic values
- Replacing the "friendly" intestinal bacteria destroyed by antibiotics.
- Alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and, possibly, inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis).
- Preventing and/or reducing the recurrence of vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and cystitis (bladder inflammation).
- Improving lactose absorption digestion in people who are lactose intolerant
- Enhancing the immune response. Studies have suggested that consumption of yogurt or milk that contains specific strains of Lactobacillus or supplements with Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium may improve the natural immune response. * Aiding the treatment of respiratory infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
- Lowering risk of allergies. Examples include asthma, hay fever, food allergies to milk, and skin reactions such as eczema.
- Helping to treat high cholesterol.
- Reducing the risk of recurring bladder tumors once this cancer has been treated.
Superfood for women
The high calcium content in yoghurt guards against osteoporosis. Yoghurt also helps in absorption of iron – another mineral important for women. Yeast infection or vaginal candidosis, is a condition that bothers many women and it can especially increase with pregnancy, diabetes or for those on the pill. The best natural cure for this is to have plenty of yoghurt. In addition, having yoghurt daily also gives you a glowing complexion and smooth skin, as it keeps your bowels and digestive tract in good working condition.
Yoghurt and dieting
Yoghurt is a great substitute for high calorie foods such as cream, cream cheese, butter, mayonnaise and high-calorie salad dressings. Similarly yoghurt drinks are much more preferable for dieters than carbonated drinks. Yoghurt can be used to make delicious low-calorie frozen desserts.
More importantly, scientific evidence has shown that calcium aids in burning fats. Thus rather than avoiding dairy, you can have three to four servings of low-fat yoghurt when you are on a diet.
All about yoghurt
Commercial yoghurts have stabilizers and additives. In addition they undergo pasteurization and homogenization – both processes require heating, and this kills many of the live bacteria in the yoghurt. When you buy yoghurt from the supermarket, make sure that the label specifies that there is ‘live probiotic’ content, and pick up the tubs with the most recent manufacturing date.
Most flavoured varieties of yoghurt are high in calories, even though many of them claim to be in the low-fat profile. Most fruit yoghurts have additional sugar and preserved fruits. If you want to have fruity yoghurt, and at the same time do not want to gain calories, mix fresh chopped fruit with natural yoghurt. You'll get the goodness of calcium, as well as the additional vitamins and fibre from the fresh fruit.
Many manufacturers subject production to temperature processing because yoghurt is impossible to eat if it is stale. Many useful bacteria perish through this process and what results is a product which is shallow. As the law forbids writing "yoghurt" on packing if it is temperature processed, manufacturers instead of "yoghurt" write "yoghurter", "bioghurt", "yoghurt product", "yoghurtovich", "yoghurt-cream", "dairy dessert ". And the buyer, who is not aware of such details, gets involuntarily deceived.
What can I do about it?
Make yoghurt at home
- a teaspoon or two of the existing yogurt with live cultures
- To make Dahi or Yoghurt, bring however much milk you want to a boil, being careful not to burn or boil over.
- The milk must at least reach 185° F for two minutes. The desirable temperature is 200° F. If the milk is not hot enough then the yoghurt will not be firm but will be stringy.
- Turn off the heat. Let it cool to tepid warm, cooling to 122° F but not below 105° F.
- Add starting culture. Incubate in a warm place for 5 hours or depending on room temperature.
- Store it in the refrigerator.
- Best utensils to make yoghurt in are earthenware ones. This method also concentrates the yoghurt as the liquid whey evaporates through the pores and and helps increase solid content and lactic acid concentration. It also keeps the yoghurt cool without the need for refrigeration.
If you are on a course of strong antibiotics (or even painkillers), include plenty of yoghurt in your diet. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your intestine – good and bad. Thus it’s essential to make up on your probiotic intake during this time.
Beauty and skin care
Daily application of yoghurt helps cure acne and clear your skin. Yoghurt mixed with brewer’s yeast can prevent pimples The rich zinc content will help to clear your skin. Avoid the flavoured varieties and apply yoghurt only after you've removed all make-up.
Applying some yoghurt on your head relieves you from itchy scalp and help get rid of dandruffs. It is also good for your nails. wrap your hair in a towel and then rinse after 15 minutes. The yoghurt will chase away dandruff, too!
It is also good for your hands and nails. Hands. Mix half a cup of plain yoghurt with the juice of one lemon. Refrigerate it for a few hours and then use it to massage your hands and nails. A fortnight’s application will make your hands soft and supple.
Making yoghurt more delicious
- Opt for low-fat, unsweetened yoghurt preferably made from cow's milk.
- If adding fruits, use those with less calories such as strawberries, rather than mango.
- Sweeten yoghurt with honey (or unprocessed sugars such as jaggery or molasses) rather than sugar.
- The word yoghurt is derived from the Turkish word "yogurut" which means "long life".
- During the early 20th century yoghurt was considered as a remedy, and sold in pharmacies.
- According to the Bible, Abraham owed his legendary longevity to the "milk of angels", which is none other than fermented milk.
- In the Balkans, yoghurt was traditionally sold in the streets from big bowls and served with a large spoon.
A section of people are not only using yoghurt to treat indigestion from spicy foods but also to overcome hangovers. More and more people are reportedly turning to yoghurt after a heavy night as an alternative, or in addition, to traditional stomach-settling fizzy tablets or aspirin.
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