Yogurt, An AMAZING Food with MANY Health Benefits! Boost Your Immune System...Eat Some Yogurt Today!
If there was a contest to crown the best home remedy I firmly believe that yogurt would win! Yes, you read that correctly…YOGURT! Yogurt has many powers. No, it can't see through walls or run faster than a speeding bullet (we are talking about a food product here after all) however it can do MANY things. Yogurt can be used to treat or help prevent the following conditions: athlete's foot, canker sores, cold sores, diarrhea, flatulence, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, urinary tract infections and finally, yeast infections. Before I go in to detail (to prove my point) allow me to give you a little lesson in yogurt and bacteria. It is important that you understand the connection!
Three Pounds of Bacteria!
Did you know that there are more bacteria in your body than there are human cells? While that fact may seem a bit…well, gross, for lack of better words, it is important that you understand that all bacteria is not bad. There are approximately 500 species of bacteria currently living in your digestive tract alone (about three pounds worth…give or take a few ounces). While that number seems a bit large, I'm happy to report that the majority of the bacteria are actually quite beneficial to your body. Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad! Bad intestinal bacteria, along with organisms in the vagina and urinary tract are capable of wreaking havoc and causing all kinds of trouble (which is why you should keep plenty of yogurt in your fridge!).
Get to Know Your Yogurt!
So what exactly is yogurt? To be honest, the answer to that question is quite simple…yogurt is milk to which cultures of bacteria have been added. These cultures eat the sugar that is in the milk and excrete lactic acid (yes, the same lactic acid that you hear about in the gym). When this happens, the milk curdles. I know, doesn't sound very appetizing, but hey, that's yogurt for you! Yogurts that contain ACTIVE cultures are actually the BEST (when it comes to health benefits). That's because these active cultures (collectively known as probiotics) are capable of protecting your body from harmful bacteria. How? Well, basically, the good bacteria eat up all of the resources that the bad bacteria need in order to survive. Way to go good bacteria!
Yogurt - Does a Body Good!
If you think about it, yogurt really is an amazing food. When it comes to cramps, gas, yeast infections, or even diminished absorption of nutrients within your body…yogurt can really turn things around! Yogurt has been used as a multi-purpose healer for centuries, however, only within the last decade or so have scientists really discovered just how beneficial it can be.
- Strong Bones: Millions of people avoid milk because of a little problem called, lactose intolerance. Thankfully, yogurt is an easy-to-digest alternative as it contains live organisms that digest the lactose before you even eat it! See, Yogurt is YOUR FRIEND…it's looking out for you! People who are lactose intolerant can eat all the yogurt they want without suffering from gas or other symptoms. Wonderful! The best news of all is that yogurt contains more calcium than milk does with approximately four hundred milligrams in a one-cup serving. Now if that's not exciting, I don't know what is.
- Put Up Your Dukes, Cancer! Ok, now don't misunderstand me, yogurt is NOT a cure for cancer. If it was…well, that would be AMAZING. The acidophilus in yogurt has been shown to help prevent recurrences of tumors in patients treated for bladder cancer. How is this possible? Well, it's thought that the beneficial bacteria that is found in yogurt may prevent harmful bacteria from creating cancer causing substances within the body (this happens when the bacteria reacts with food). Scientists continue to research this theory…so don't be surprised if you hear more about yogurt and bladder cancer in the near future!
- Strengthen Immunity: Your white blood cells produce a protein called gamma interferon. In a nutshell, this protein assists the immune system when it comes to fighting off germs. A study performed at the University of California found that eating just two cups of yogurt daily can actually quadruple the levels of gamma interferon within your body. So what does this mean for you? Well basically, people who have strong immune systems are able to fight off colds, viruses and other diseases more easily than people with weak immune systems. In other words, they get sick LESS!
- Athlete's Foot: Is there a fungus among us? If you have athlete's foot…no problem…a little yogurt can go a long way! Simply dab PLAIN yogurt on the infected area of your foot, allow it to dry…and then rinse it off. That's it… simple! Be sure to buy yogurt that contains live acidophilus bacteria. This bacteria is an instant remedy for athlete's foot and helps to keep fungus at bay.
So Many Choices, So Little Time!
Sorry, but all yogurts are not created equal! With so many choices available, how do you know which yogurt is the best (and healthiest)? When it comes to yogurt, you want to look for the words "live cultures" or "active cultures." Also, it is important that you buy yogurt that is EXREMELY fresh…so look for expiration date as far away as possible. If you absolutely detest the taste of yogurt (and some people do) you can take probiotic supplements. Researchers believe you need approximately ten billion organisms daily. I know that sounds like a lot…however, in reality you can get your probiotic fill in just one or two capsules. It is important to note that probiotic supplements should be refrigerated as they are living organisms.
In my opinion, yogurt should be placed in the miracle foods category! You can't deny that it has many, many benefits when it comes to your health. Yogurt is capable of assisting your body in so many ways! From helping to cure athlete's foot to calming the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, yogurt really is amazing. One thing that I have not mentioned yet about yogurt is its ability to help you lose weight! With all of the great tasting, low fat, low calorie choices out there yogurt is a great breakfast or snack food choice. So the next time you are feeling a bit gassy or simply want to boost your immune system…reach for some yogurt…it really is good for you in so many ways!