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Curds the Therapeutic : A Must Have!

Updated on April 19, 2012
A Vegetarian South Indian Lunch with curd and buttermilk serving
A Vegetarian South Indian Lunch with curd and buttermilk serving

It is a common practice in India to serve curd and buttermilk during lunch.

Curd provides nourishment. It is composed of various vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, carbohydrates and nitrogen components.

The various vitamins present are vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate (HPLC), niacin, riboflavine, thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B-12 (cobalamin), vitamers pyridoxine (hydrochloride), carotenoids.

Tryptophan the nitrogen component is also present.

The various minerals present are sodium, salt, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine and selenium.

The carbohydrate components are organic acids and the sugar lactose.

The various fat components are fatty acids saturated, fatty acids monounsaturated cis, fatty acids polyunsaturated, fatty acids trans, fatty acid linoleic acid, fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, fatty acid EPA, fatty acid DHA, cholesterol (GC) and sterols.

The presence of these vital compositions apart, curd is composed of good bacteria.

In the digestion process there are chemicals known by the name of enzymes produced by stomach, liver, intestines, pancreas etc which in combination work in breaking down complex food molecules into simpler molecules which then are easily assimilated by the body. For instance, carbohydrates get broken down into sugars, proteins are broken down into amino acids, fats are converted to glycerol and fatty acids are converted to monoglycerides.

The enzymes take care of these group, however vegetarian food more than often contain indigestible carbohydrates (like, FOS and inulin), which would not yield that easily and remain as complex molecules. Likewise these molecules are not absorbed in the upper intestinal tract.

This undigested food then continues down to the colon, it is here that bacteria aids in digestion. Bacteria convert these indigestible carbohydrates into smaller molecules like short chained fatty acids. The work of these bacteria protects the lining of the intestine and also immunizes it from probable cancer and other forms of irritation. The properties of certain fatty acids also aid in lowering body cholesterol and hence prevention of heart attacks. Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and intestinal cancer are some of the intestinal diseases, and good bacteria immunize the intestine against them.

There are instances of antibiotics reducing the presence of good bacteria leading to growth of bad bacteria like clostridia which end up causing diarrhea.

Good bacteria are often tolerant to the acidic conditions of the stomach and small intestine. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) was isolated in 1983 from the intestinal tract of a healthy human being by Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldin. They filed for a patent claiming the bacteria being acid and bile stable and their production of lactic acid.

Probiotics and Prebiotics combined maintain growth of bacteria in the colon. Probiotics refers to the good bacteria living in the colon and their helpful activities often leading to the good health of the intestine. Prebiotics refers to the indigestible food which passes into the colon unabsorbed by the upper intestinal tract where they act as a medium for growth of the good bacteria.

Probiotic preparations are often a cocktail of various strains of good bacteria. Culturelle is a LGG probiotic supplement.

VSL#3 is a probiotic preparation with 450 billion live bacteria per packet, it is a medical food for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), an ileal pouch (IP), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Curd is a probiotic. Daily intake of which brings about the health benefits which were just discussed.

The prebiotic supplements often are the consumption of fiber sources like whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans etc.

Curd is also known for its cosmetic value. The bacterium in curd is effective in making skin soft. Curd could be applied to the face to counteract the bad effects of prolonged exposure to the sun. Curd could be used as a conditioner for the hair. Curd is used in the treatment of insomnia. Curd aids prevention of growth of bad bacteria, taken care by the presence of the good bacteria in it. Curd aids in the absorption of necessary minerals and vitamins.

Curd gels well with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

The protein in curd is easily digestible in comparison to that found in milk. It is found that a majority of curd is digested for the same time that a quarter of the same quantity of milk is digested.

Ayurveda suggests some remedies using curd:

  1. Application of curd to the scalp and hair, once a week prevents formation of dandruff. Dandruff prevention prevents hair loss. Mixing of curd with green gram powder boosts dandruff prevention and also aids hair growth. This mixture could also be applied to the face and body for skin rejuvenation.
  2. Dried and powdered orange peel mixed with curd could be applied to the face and neck. This acts as a cleanser and cleans clogged pores, thus preventing formation of acne and pimples.
  3. Curd mixed with sugar is an excellent energizer and coolant. It is also a good thirst quencher.

Curd usage as suggested in Ayurveda:

  1. Curd is best not consumed during dinner or in the night.
  2. Curd should not be boiled or heated.
  3. Mix curd with sugar or honey while consuming.
  4. Mixture of curd with cooked green gram (Vigna radiata), ghee or gooseberries (Phyllanthus emblica) sees an enhancement of its properties.
  5. Use curd which has been properly formed or coagulated.
  6. Consuming incompletely coagulated curd could flare up herpes, psoriasis, bleeding in hemorrhoids, IBS etc. and is known to cause giddiness.
  7. Consuming curd regularly in its pure form may lead to obesity.
  8. Use of curd in excess may cause constipation.
  9. Proper consumption of curd strengthens the body.
  10. Curd consumption accelerates digestion and prevents diseases of the duodenum.

It has been recommended that patients suffering from arthritis should avoid curd usage.


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    • profile image

      Sania 6 years ago

      I think curd Is really 4us ............ Please dO try it

    • profile image

      manee 6 years ago

      wow really nice!Enjoyed reading...a very informative article

    • profile image

      koushik 6 years ago

      be4 gng 2 xmz plz hve it...u wl fail..lolz:P

    • profile image

      M. Hopson 6 years ago

      I haven't tried curd yet, although it sounds really beneficial, especially because it's a source of probiotics.

      speaking of probiotics, I've read that there are many types of probiotic strains there, and that there are some strains found on specific foods. Here's a good read about some of the strains and their effects :