The health benefits of yogurt easily make it one of the healthiest foods known to us.
The original home of yogurt, I am told, was Turkey. Millions of years ago, the Mongols of Turkey started ‘thickening’ milk by adding a starter to it while it was lukewarm. The bacteria present in the starter produce lactic acid as they ferment the lactose present in the milk. The lactic acid in yogurt makes it slightly less sweeter than milk and also causes it to thicken besides, of course, acting as a preservative (the lactic acid present in it prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria which explains why yogurt has a longer shelf life than milk).
10 Top Health benefits of yogurt:
Yogurt is partially digested milk- much easier to digest than milk and yet containing all its goodness. The health benefits off yogurt have contributed to its popularity around the world.
Read more to know why you should be having more of a food with as many health benefits as this:
Loaded with vitamins and minerals:
One serving (225 grams/ 8ozs.) of yogurt contains nearly 1.4 mg vitamins, which is almost 60% of the RDA for an adult woman. In addition to that, it contains many essential nutrients and minerals like zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, riboflavin, vitamin B5 and B12.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient most vegetarians don’t get enough of because it is mostly found in animal products only. Having yogurt regularly ensures that they get this vitamin which is so essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the good health of RBCs in sufficient quantities.
Rich in proteins:
Yogurt is also an excellent source of proteins. However, there are various varieties of yogurt available in the market these days and the protein content of various varieties can differ widely. Greek yogurt has been found to contain almost four times the amount of protein as traditional yogurt.
Easier to digest than milk:
People suffering from lactose intolerance, protein allergies, etc can also consume yogurt without worrying unduly because the process of ‘culturing’ it makes it more easily digestible than milk. The lactose present in milk gets broken into glucose and galactose, both of which can be digested easily by lactose intolerant people. Besides, it increases the number of probitoic bacteria present in the milk.
Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria and microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and help keep the population of harmful bacteria in the gut under control.
Yogurt with probiotics (active cultures) is extremely beneficial for the gut, particularly for conditions like:
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Lactose intolerance
• H. pylori infection
• Colon cancer
These benefits are partly because yogurt with active cultures steps up the body’s immune system and also because they bring about a change in the microflora of the gut.
Helps prevent and treat osteoporosis:
Out body needs calcium and vitamin D in adequate quantities to prevent osteoporosis. Most people make the mistake of taking calcium supplements without combining it with sufficient amount of vitamin D due to which they get limited benefit from their calcium supplements as well. Yogurt is one food which contains high doses of both calcium and vitamin D and is, therefore, extremely beneficial in increasing bone mass and thus preventing and treating osteoporosis.
Because of its ability to do so, yogurt is extremely healthy for women approaching menopause or well into it and older people.
Helps control high blood pressure:
A research carried over a sample of 5000 Spanish people over a period of two years has proved that people who had 2-3 servings of low fat yogurt daily were half as likely to get high blood pressure as compared to those who did not have any at all.
This is because the potassium present in yogurt helps flush out excess sodium consumed by us out of the body.
Helps prevent and treat vaginal infections:
Consuming 200 grams or 7-8 ounces of yogurt with active cultures daily can help control the proliferation of yeast present in the vaginal tracts and thus event vaginal yeast infection besides helping to treat an already infected vaginal tract.
Diabetic women are highly prone to yeast infection. Having yogurt without any sweeteners (sugar or artificial sweeteners), flavors or fruits can help them prevent and control such infections.
Gives you flatter abs and helps in weight loss:
Belly fat is a major cause of concern these days. Consuming 500 grams or about 18 ounces of low fat yogurt everyday can help weight loss enthusiasts achieve their goals faster than they expected. A layer of fat around the waist stimulates the production of a hormone called cortisol which further encourages flab around the belly. The amino acids present in it help burn belly fat, giving you flatter abs with lesser effort.
Eating yogurt helps you feel fuller as well due to which you are less likely to hog on other unhealthy snacks. This further helps you in your weight loss goals.
Helps recover faster after a workout:
Certain varieties of it, particularly Greek yogurt, make it a wonderful snack after a rigorous workout. If had within an hour of a good workout, the protein present in it helps muscles repair themselves while the carbohydrates restore the energy levels. Drinking some water along with a bowl of yogurt can help hydrate the body as well, which is so essential after a sweaty workout.
Good for teeth and gums:
The lactic acid present in this extremely healthy food helps protect teeth and gums from the bacteria present in the mouth. The sugar content present in yogurt is mild enough not to cause any cavities while also helping keep periodontal disease away and prevent recession of gums. Though other dairy foods which contain lactic acid also contribute toward healthier gums and teeth, yogurt has a definite edge over them all.
Helps fight colds:
Just about 120 grams or 4 ounces of yogurt a day strengthens the T cells present in the body. These cells are responsible for fighting infections. People suffering from various allergies have a very low level of T cells and they stand to benefit a lot by adding a little yogurt to their diet charts.
If you’ve loved it all along, you are gonna relish your bowlful even more after having read this. Those of you who are not too fond of it should also start eating a small bowl (150 grams or 4-5 ounces) of this food regularly because of the fabulous health benefits of yogurt enlisted above.