Simply put, yogurt is fermented milk. The fermentation process involves addition of specific bacteria (Lactobacillus and Streptococcus), which are generally referred to as yogurt cultures. These bacteria ferment the lactose part of milk, which in effect produces lactic acid, which acts on protein contained in milk, giving yogurt its characteristic tang and texture. Although cow’s milk is the commonly used in making yogurt, milk obtained from other animals are also used in making yogurt in different parts of the world.
Health benefits of Yogurt
Contains Vitamins & Calcium
Eating yogurt provides for a number of benefits one of which is improved health. Yogurt contains sufficient amounts of calcium, protein, Vitamins B6 and B12, protein and riboflavin. Eating yogurt should not be a problem even if you do not tolerate lactose since lactose is converted to galactose and glucose during fermentation. Because of its contents, yogurt is very helpful to infants and the elderly.
Controls Blood Pressure
The other benefit that eating yogurt provides is in reducing risk of high blood pressure. This is because milk contains fat in minimal amount, which goes a long way in reducing risk of high blood pressure since very minimal fat get deposited in veins.
Eating yogurt has been found to be very beneficial to the gut. Yogurt generally helps in preventing several gastrointestinal problems including cancer of the colon, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and intolerance to lactose among others. Yogurt has capacity to prevent such because it brings bout changes in the gut’s micro-flora and by in enhancing the body’s natural immune system.
Eating yogurt has been ascertained to be beneficial to women when it comes to preventing vaginal infections. It is a fact that majority of women diagnosed with diabetes are not only susceptible to but also suffer from yeast vaginal infections, which eating yogurt effectively prevents. Studies conducted have shown that women who eat yogurt have vaginal PH of between 4.0 and 4.5, unlike women who do not eat yogurt who have vaginal PH of between 6.0 and 6.5.
Helps in Weight Loss
One great benefit that eating yogurt provides is in reducing excess body weight. It has been proven that eating 18 ounces of yogurt every day while minimizing intake of calories reduces body weight by as much as 20%. This is in addition to cutting down of fat deposits in the belly by as much as 80%. Eating yogurt instead of skipping lunch is therefore highly recommended.
Prevents Seasonal Cold/Flu
Colds are no doubt common minor health conditions that can otherwise make one feel very uncomfortable. Luckily, eating at least 4 ounces of yogurt per day has been established to prevent colds. This is because yogurt enhances the body’s T-cells and the immune system in general. This makes it possible for the body to naturally battle any infections.
Although beneficial in different ways, not all yogurts are the same. You are most likely to find yogurt with artificial sweeteners and plain yogurt. Furthermore, it is important that you choose yogurt that contain active cultures (bacteria) so as to obtain all the benefits.