The consumption of Yogurt dates back to hundreds of years. The discovery of yogurt could have been made accidentally as agreed by most historians. The storage of milk having been made in a warm environment, the milk fermented to form yogurt. This could be traced to the Neolithic age wherein the people curdled the milk in order to preserve it for longer. Later, they also developed a taste for the yogurt and continued to consume it on a regular basis thanks to all the benefits of yogurt.
Yogurt is used for consumption all over the world. It is also called with different names across parts of the globe. This internationally consumed dairy product is made very easily. Fresh milk is kept in a container and the container is let to stand until friendly bacteria start acting upon the milk thus thickening the consistency of the milk. In the process, lactic acid is produced in the fermented milk which acts as a preservative for the milk and also impart the fermented milk a slight sour taste. Two types of bacteria are considered to be favourable for the formation of yogurt, thermophilic and mesophilic bacteria used respectively for warmer and colder areas. The famously known greek yogurt is fermented using thermophilic bacteria whereas the heirloom yogurt starter is an example of mesophilic bacteria.
That was all you would need to know in order to get a brief background of yogurt. We would now arrive at the health quotient of this extremely recommended item.
Health Benefits of Yogurt
- Rich in Nutrients:
Yogurt is extremely rich in some of the very crucial nutrients utilized by our body in order to stay healthy and work efficiently. To name one of them is Calcium. Yogurt is extremely rich in calcium. Just one cup full of yogurt could meet nearly 49% of body’s requirement for calcium. It also contains Vitamin B, particularly Vitamin B 12 and riboflavin both of which promote a healthier heart. Yogurt also contains minerals like magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. These minerals aid biological processes of our body like metabolism, bone health and maintaining blood pressure. Yogurt does not contain Vitamin D naturally, but the same can be fortified in yogurt manually to obtain the benefits of Vitamin D consumption such as reducing risk of bone disease and depression.
- Yogurt has High Protein Content:
We all know that proteins are a building block of our body. Responsible for the maintaining a regular wear and tear of our body, providing energy for bodily functions, enabling growth of cells, etc. yogurt is responsible for providing an impressive amount of 12gms of proteins per 200gms of yogurt consumption. That is around the quantity if a small bowl, may be about 4-5 table spoons. Protein also helps to burn the calories consumed every day. Getting enough protein is also important for appetite regulation, as it increases the production of hormones that signal fullness. It may automatically reduce the number of calories you consume overall, which is beneficial for weight control. The Greek yogurt makes you feel fuller than the normal yogurt consumption which in turn enables you to consume lesser calories. This special feature is attached to greek yogurt as it is thicker and contains more proteins compared to normal yogurt which is 22gms per 200gms of yogurt. Also, it is a vegan protein option.
- Yogurt Is Know to Aiding Digestion:
When culture is added to pasteurized milk, the yogurt formed as a result contains probiotic elements that have proven useful at improving the digestive system of the body. Some types of probiotics found in yogurt, like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, have been shown to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a common auto-immune disease that affects the colon. When such kind of fermented milk or yogurt was offered to a person suffering with irritable bowel system, the Bifidobacteria in the yogurt was observed to have eased the irritability and had proved instrumental in regularizing the bowel system of the affected person. Gastrointestinal Doctors suggest that around 4-5 table spoons of consumption of yogurt or curd after a full meal has brought marvelous results in treating the problems accrued due to constipation, such as stomach ache. Thus it is a healthy suggestion to the diet by nutritionists as well as doctors.
- Boost Immunity System:
Immunity is basically said to be strong when you become less likely to contract diseases/illnesses and your body becomes trained to fight and put away those harmful viruses and bacteria that surround you. Those yogurts that contain probiotic elements are considered to develop strength in our body to fight against disease causing germs. The reason behind this is that probiotics have shown to reduce inflammation which is a cause of various bodily disorders. The presence of magnesium, zinc, selenium which are trace minerals of our body have proved to be beneficial in dodging common illnesses.
- Benefits to the Heart:
Yogurt contains saturated fats. Saturated Fats were previously believed to be detrimental to the health of the heart however, current researches nullifies the same. The presence of saturated fats does not lead to any heart related problems. Consumption of yogurt has reduced blood pressure levels in our body. If you are someone who has been diagnosed with a high blood pressure problem, you could try consuming yogurt daily by supplementing it to your meals and see how it works wonders for your health.
- Helps Manage Weight:
The presence of proteins in yogurt has shown that people feel more satiated and consume less calories after they have had yogurt. This leads to weight loss. Also the probiotic element guards the digestive system against any irregularities in its functioning and thus improves the metabolism of the consumer. A good metabolism means that the calories you’ve taken in have been completely utilized to produce energy required for various functions of your body.
- Works Best against Vaginal Infections:
Women with diabetes have been known to suffer a common vaginal disease caused due to Candida or yeast. In studies conducted on such suffering woman, they consumed nearly 5-6 ounces of curd per day. They have reported a normal pH level which is 4.0-4.5 after the consumption of yogurt daily.
- Prevention of Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakening of bones. A high nutritional content of yogurt, specially a high calcium content makes it a very effective remedy in treating bone related issues like osteoporosis. Those with osteoporosis have a low bone density. That means their bones are not as thick as they must ideally be. This makes them more prone to fractures and bone cracks. The problem of low bone density can be traced back to low levels of calcium in our body. Calcium along with other minerals found in yogurt improves this situation.
In order that you avail full benefits of the above advantages of consuming yogurt, it is important you keep a few things in mind before you hop on to shop for them. Below are some points to ponder upon:
- Choose your sweetener wisely: while it is most recommended that you eat yogurt without adding any sweets or with minimal sweets, you may want to consider avoiding the use of artificial sweeteners for the same. It will not defeat any of the nutritional benefits attached to yogurt, however when trying to consume yogurt for efficient weight management, it might lead to nullification of the effects.
- Look for Active cultures and probiotics: We’ve seen how probiotic yogurt aids our digestive system. In order that you have a healthy gut, choose the one with probiotic. You could take a look at the pack and easily identify the one with probiotics for yourself.
- Yogurt combined with flaxseed: Combining the two, you will add a fiber quotient to your yogurt consumption thus enhancing it’s capability to deal with stomach problems.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D, as we already know is not naturally present in yogurt. However yogurts are fortified with Vitamin D for additional benefits. Check the seal for the fortified yogurt.
- Make Yogurt a perfect snack: you can also team up yogurt with cereals for a perfectly wholesome snack.
- Yogurt with fruits: You could make smoothies using different fresh foods and adding them to your yogurt. Some people also use the combination and later freeze the same in the shape of a candy bar to make a yogurt-fruit ice cream. It obviously carries the nutrients in both, the fruit as well as the yogurt, but is also a much healthier and weight-friendly option to your regular ice cream.
- Use it as a snack between meals: long time lapses between your meals could make you crave for unhealthy options of food to satisfy your hunger. The best alternative to the junk food is a pack of yogurt. You could take it everywhere and just munch it up between your meals to keep yourself satiated.
It is often a task for mothers to have their children to complete drinking a glass of milk. While we all know its best for their nutritional intake and bodily growth, children are averse to drinking milk because they often do not like the taste of it. Well mothers could often substitute yogurt to a glass of milk for equal health benefits by teaming it up with fresh fruits for their kids.
While yogurt has a universally positive influence on the physiology of human beings, a few people are such that they may not be able to consume yogurt or be able to use it to their advantage. Such people are usually the ones with the problem of lactose intolerance. It is a condition wherein the body is unable to digest the lactose sugar present in milk and milk products and thus yogurt is not for such persons. There a few people who are also allergic to milk and so it is recommended that they avoid yogurt consumption too. Also consuming yogurt with sugars, natural or artificial, may cause the entire purpose of the consumption to be defeated as it may cause obesity or diabetes amongst people. Consuming extremely cold/refrigerated yogurt could trigger catching up of cold amongst a few persons also. Try to consume it at an optimal temperature.