Health Benefits of Yogurt
Health benefits of yogurt, as a great nutritious food, is beyond those of milk. It is made by bacterial fermentation of milk and has been around for more than 6000 years.
▪ Yogurt contains excellent levels of protein, a serving has approximately 20% of the daily protein requirement for an average adult. Bacterial fermentation allows these proteins to be easily digested by the body.
▪ A Japanese research found that yogurt helps with the treatment of gum disease - bleeding, swollen gums or exposed roots. Probiotics- live cultures in yogurt reduces hydrogen sulfide levels that causes bad breath, gingivitis and dental plaque formation.
▪ Calcium and protein available in yogurt can promote weight and fat loss, especially the excess fat around the stomach area and also helpmaintain lean muscles - minimize loss of muscles. Yogurt has the branched chain amino acids and calcium is claimed to reduce fat cells’ ability to store fat.
▪ Probiotics in yogurt can make your skin softer and smoother. Yogurt has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal features that get rid of germs and other bacteria. By increasing the friendly bacteria in your system and by maintaining a healthy body, you can slow the aging process and maintain the youthful glow on your skin.
▪ Calcium and lactoferrin- an iron-binding protein available in yogurt helps boost the growth and activity of cells that build bones. Non-fat yogurt has higher content of calcium than low-fat yogurt and much higher than whole-milk yogurt. For bone health, it is imperative that you get enough calcium in your diet.
▪ Yogurt that contain probiotics can significantly raise the level of goodcholesterol and decrease the bad cholesterol. Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Reuteri probiotics work by preventing the reabsorption of cholesterol back in to the blood stream.
▪ Research has suggested that eating yogurt regularly helps boost the body’s immune-system function, warding off colds and possibly even helping to fend off cancer. People who eat yogurt every day produces more infection fighting cells than those who don’t.
▪ Yogurt may protect against diarrhoea. Eating yogurt help optimize digestion and keep harmful bacteria in check. A course of antibiotics is usually followed by diarrhea as antibiotics kill off all the bacteria in the tummy–the bad stuff and the good–leaving the gastrointestinal tract compromised. Yogurt can help counteract this imbalance.
▪ Yogurt has more vitamin B12, vitamin B3 and vitamin A than milk. The B vitamins are essential for releasing energy from food, maintaining the nervous system and regulating cholesterol. Vitamin A helps keep our skin and eyes healthy and is also important for fighting infections.
▪ A cup of yogurt has higher potassium content than a banana. Potassium can help to provide the proper functioning of cells, regulate blood pressure and keep the right balance of water in fat and muscle tissues.
▪ Other well-known health benefits of yogurt: It may prevent vaginal yeast infections, may help to heal arthritis, protect against ulcers, fight against food poisoning and salmonella and help with better digestion.
Yogurt Glycemic Index:
Yogurt has a GI of 36 and a GL of 3, so it is classed as a low GI/ low GL food, however most yogurts are mixed with fruit jams and have added sugars and the glycemic index and glycemic load are increased depending on how much sugar there is. Low fat yogurt will have higher GI (but not necessarily higher glycemic load)- more fats will lower the glycemic index but higher fat yogurt is generally not recommended if, especially, you are trying to lose weight.
A Few Ways to Enjoy Yogurt:
▪ Replace mayo, sour cream with yogurt.
▪ Mix a cup of yogurt with a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices to use as a salad dressing.
▪ Use yogurt to marinate meat and chicken.
▪ Try fruit yogurt smoothies.
▪ Add sunflower seeds, chopped nuts , fruits and maybe a little bit of honey to plain low fat yogurt for a tasty snack.
▪ Top low-fat granola cereal with yogurt instead of milk for a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack.
What to Look For When Buying Yogurt:
▪ Choose plain yogurt over sweetened / fruit added yogurt: Less calories, no added sugar, more calcium, a lot more protein, much less calories.
▪ Don’t buy heat treated / pasteurized yogurt as the the nutritional value is diminished, although longer shelf life.
▪ Frozen yogurt does not compare well with low fat high quality yogurt with live friendly bacteria.
▪ Pay attention to expiry dates, since the amount of beneficial active cultures decrease after that.
▪ The carton should clearly indicate the yogurt contains “live and active”cultures such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidus. These types of cultures help keep our digestive systems strong and healthy.
▪ Proper production, packaging, storage, shipping and refrigeration are necessary. It is generally agreed that to be effective, yogurt should contain 100 to 1000 million live bacteria per ml.
Health Benefits of Yogurt- References:
Zemel MB, Thompson W, Milstead A, Morris K, Campbell P. Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obes Res. 2004 Apr;12(4):582-90. 2004.
Toygar, Kamil (1993). Türk Mutfak Kültürü Üzerine Araştırmalar. Türk Halk Kültürünü Araştırma ve Tanıtma Vakfı. p. 29: Health Benefits of Yogurt .
O. Adolfsson et al., “Yogurt and gut function”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 80:2:245-256 (2004): Health Benefits of Yogurt .
The Japan Times Bacteria spreads across nation to create slimy, healthy treat, By TAKUYA KARUBE Kyodo News: Health Benefits of Yogurt .