Yogurt Health Benefits
Table Of Contents
- Some Uses Of Yogurt As Food
- Brief History Of Yogurt
- Nutrients In Yogurt
- Commercial Yogurt Production
- Varieties Of Yogurt
- The Health Benefits Of Yogurt
- Some Information About Greek Yogurt
- Soy Yogurt
- Some Of My Other Healthy Hubs
- A Healthy Breakfast Recipe
- Make Your Own Yogurt A Visual Guide
In India, yogurt is called "dahi" or "curd".
In the west, curd is coagulated milk solids, the coagulation being brought about by the addition of rennet or an acidic substance like vinegar or lime juice. However, this curdled milk solids is called paneer or cottage cheese in India.
Yogurt quite simply is fermented milk in various consistencies from thin and runny to thick and firm. This depends on the fat content mainly, though environmental temperature and the procedure of making yogurt at home could be a contributing factor.
This fermentation is brought about by bacteria. Therefore, yogurt contains millions of live bacteria which are beneficial to the human digestive system.
The protein quality of yogurt is the best. Yogurt is more easily digestible than milk and suits those who suffer from lactose intolerance in any form.
Yogurt is more acidic in nature, has a sour and tart taste and stays fresh longer than milk. It is eaten plain as it is or mixed with vegetables, fruits or other flavors.
Cow's milk is generally used for making yogurt followed by buffalo's and goat's milk.
Yogurt is available in no fat (0%), low fat fat (2%) and whole milk (4%) varieties.
Yogurt is a very versatile product and can be used alone or as an adjunct to any dish. Not only is it a healthy snack to kick start one's day it is a great help in curbing appetite.
Uses Of Yogurt
Yogurt can be used in a variety of ways to increase its acceptability. Some ways in which yogurt is used in India are:
Eaten in its simplest form as plain yogurt with a dash of salt and ground black pepper added for flavor and taste. Sugar can be substituted for the salt and black pepper.
Yogurt with added spices are is used to marinate meat and fish. Lassi - an Indian summer drink can be made by whisking together yogurt, iced water and sugar. Sugar could be sustituted by salt and powdered roasted cumin for those who prefer it salty.
Spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and a lot many vegetables used singly and herbs like mint, etc can also be used to make various yogurt preparations.
Fruits like strawberry, mango and the like are also mixed to make yummy yogurts.
Shrikhand - a deliciously sweet yogurt product is also made in India
These are just some uses of yogurt.
History Of Yogurt
A few words about history of yogurt.
Yogurt was accidentally discovered. When milk producing animals, cows and goats, were first domesticated around 5000 BC, the collected milk was stored and carried in bags made of stomachs of these animals. On opening these bags milk was found to curdled due to the possible action of the bacteria lining these stomach bags.
In North America and Western Europe, yogurt was introduced in the beginning of the 20th century.
Yogurt with fruit came into existence around 1947. Yogurt gained popularity in the 50s and 60s. Today it is available in a number of varieties.
Nutrients In Yogurt
Yogurt contains good amounts of calcium, potassium,phosphorus, iodine, zinc, molybdenum, vitamins B2, B6 & B12 and most importantly, the gut beneficial, live bacteria.
Commercial Yogurt production
Milk is warmed to an optimum temperature to kill the inherent harmful bacteria. and then cooled to a prior determined favourable temperature. A bacterial culture of lactobacillus and streptococcus species of bacteria are added to this milk. This milk is the held for a particular period of time to allow the bacteria to ferment the lactose and convert it to lactic acid. This lactic acid has the property to coagulate the milk proteins due to which the entire milk sets into a product having thick and firm consistency. This is yogurt.
Types Of Yogurt
Some of the types of yogurt which are available are:
- Active Yogurt
The yogurt of this variety contains several varieties of live bacteria. These are gut helpful bacteria and they promote a healthy digestive tract, boost the immunity levels and soften the effects of lactose intolerance.
- Reduced Fat Yogurt
This variety of yogurt is available in various flavors and many different food products are mixed in the yogurt.
- Greek yogurt
An entirely different process is used to make this type of yogurt. It is creamier and heavier in taste and texture than the usual yogurt. It is usually made of milk to which butterfat or milk powder has been added. After the yogurt is ready it is strained through a muslin cloth to remove the watery part called whey. This leaves a product that is creamier and thicker.
- Frozen yogurt
It is a form of yogurt dessert. It can contain live cultures of bacteria in an active form. Once the curd is consumed these bacteria get alive and kicking due to the internal body heat.
- Mixed Yogurt
In this variety, fruits, nuts ,oats, other solids and flavorings are mixed. These nuts or fruits etc are placed at the bottom of the container while the yogurt is filled on top. This maintains the crunchiness of the dry fruit. In some brands, the cups of yogurt are sold along with a separate package of the fruits and nuts, so that they can be mixed when one is about to consume the yogurt.
This variety is also called Swiss style, custard style or blended yogurt.
Nutrients In Yogurt
Yogurt contains energy, protein, carbohydrates, fats, several B complex vitamins especially B2 and B1 in high amounts. Some yogurt may have high folate content depending on the type of lactic acid bacteria like S.thermophilus and Bifidobacteria.
Among the fat soluble vitamins, Vitamin A and E are present in yogurt.
The energy content of yogurt is dependent on whether whole milk, low fat milk or skimmed milk has been used in the preparation of yogurt.
The protein in yogurt is of high quality and in easily digestible form. Yogurt has higher amounts of the amino acids proline and glycine compared to milk and these benefit by increasing the absorption of calcium and boosting immunity levels.
Though the carbohydrates in yogurt of in the form of lactose, fermentation converts about 20-30% of it into glucose and galactose. This makes yogurt easier to digest and is beneficial for those who have difficulty in digesting milk.
The fat content of yogurt varies from 3% for whole fat milk to under 0.3% for non fat milk. The fermentation process breaks down some fats thus increasing the digestibility and absorbability of yogurt. Yogurt also contains higher levels of CLA, a natural fat that boosts immunity and protects against cancer.
As far as the minerals are concerned, yogurt is a rich source of calcium that is in a bio available form. Also, the acidity of the yogurt increases the absorption of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium while it also reduces the effect of phytic acid which is known to reduce the absorption of minerals especially calcium.
Yogurt also contains good amounts of minerals phosphorus and iodine. A 150 gm serving of whole milk plain yogurt provides 68% of the daily adult requirement of iodine while the same amount of low fat plain yogurt provides 36% of an adult's daily requirement
These figures for a child of 6 years are 158% and 85% respectively for iodine. Yogurt can thus be a valuable source of iodine.
Apart from this yogurt also contains magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium and iron.
Yogurt With Cornflakes
Kishk - An Egyptian dish of yogurt & fried onions
Dutch Yogurt and Strawberry Drink
Yogurt Health Benefits
Yogurt can be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant and therefore cannot consume milk. It ensures they derive all the benefits of milk and more.
- Yogurt ensures a healthy digestive system due to the lactic acid bacteria it contains. these bacteria ensure intestinal health leading to better absorption of nutrients and boosting the immune system.
- The lactic acid helps in maximising calcium absorption.
- It counteracts yeast infections and can be used as a douche effectively for vaginal itching.
- It helps to increase the hydrochloric acid production in HIV positive people. Hydrochloric acid is associated with digestion of food especially calcium and minerals. It also aids in better sleep and a feeling of well being.
- Yogurt regulates blood pressure and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising the HDL (good) cholesterol.
- The live bacteria in yogurt help in reducing colon cancer and inflammation of bowels.
- Yogurt may help in increasing the life span of individuals as the stronger immune system is less prone to diseases.
- For growing girls, the calcium in yogurt has been found to be especially beneficial as compared to taking calcium supplements. Higher whole body bone density has been reported. Yogurt also reduces the incidence of osteoporosis.
- Yogurt contains Lactobacillus bacteria which is a probiotic that offers preventive and healing benefits in arthritis.
- Yogurt suppresses the bacterium Helicobacter pylori which is responsible for stomach ulcers thus reducing the incidence of ulcers.
- Full fat yogurt has been found to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer.
- Eating yogurt twice a day reduces bad breath, dental plaque and cavities.
- It is an excellent post exercise snack providing quick energy and protein for muscle repair.
- Yogurt keeps colds at bay.
- A facial mask of yogurt, almonds and honey is a good skin soother and makes the skin glow.
- Yogurt helps to remove dandruff and itchy skin. Apply some curd on the head and hair and massage for a couple of minutes. Wrap a towel around. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash with cool water. It makes the hair soft and silky and stops hair fall.
- To relieve indigestion, add roasted ground cumin, a little ground black pepper and salt to taste in yogurt and eat.
- If you suffer from migraine, eat yogurt with rice before sunrise. It gives relief.
- In bleeding piles, keep consuming just yogurt till the bleeding stops. It works like magic.
- It is the most complete food for infants next only to milk. In Bulgaria, children who do not have access to mother's milk are weaned on yogurt.
- Yogurt benefits in kidney diseases also.
- In swelling, pain and burning due to boils, use hung yogurt by applying it on the affected area and bandaging it. Hung yogurt is yogurt from which whey has been removed by tying it in a muslin cloth or cheesecloth for a few hours till the whey drips off.
- If you have difficulty sleeping, add ground pepper, aniseed powder and some sugar to yogurt and consume at bedtime.
- Yogurt eating removes the intoxicating effects of opium.
- To relieve body odour apply and massage a paste of black gram flour made in yogurt.
Adding sugar or honey to yogurt before consuming increases the beneficial effects of yogurt. These are just some yogurt health benefits.
Greek Yogurt Breakfast Recipe
Health Benefits Of Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is nothing but strained yogurt which is yogurt that is hung in a muslin cloth to remove the whey. The following are some health benefits of greek yogurt.
It is great for those wanting to reduce weight. A cup has only 130 calories while it is devoid of fat and cholesterol. It contains very less amount of sodium but good amounts of carbohydrates for a quick shot of energy. It contains good amount of protein and is lower in sugar than most other types yogurts.
It is a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, Vitamis B1, B2 and B12.
It is made from soy milk by adding lactobacillus and steptococcus bacteria. Some sweetner like fructose, glucose or sugar may be added as needed.
It can be prepared at home in much the same way as dairy yogurt. To promote fermentation 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 liter of soy milk is added since soy milk as such is devoid of lactose which is food for these bacteria.
Soy yogurt is beneficial for the heart since it reduces cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. It is especially useful for those with type 2 diabetes.
It aids in promoting a healthier digestive tract and reduces cancer risk.
It reduces menopausal symptoms in women approaching menopause and because it is high in calcium it prevents osteoporosis and lowers bone fracture incidences.
Some of my other hubs on healthy foods
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- Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Recipes
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- How to Make Yogurt - Step-by-Step Guide with Picture...
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How To Make Lassi-A Indian Drink To Beat The Summer
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly