Yogurt is considered a superfood because it is packed with calcium, protein and active, ‘good’ bacteria which helps keep the gut healthy. It also helps in promoting weight loss, boosting metabolism, increasing immunity, preventing osteoporosis, and fighting anemia, vaginal infections, and cancer. Additionally, it also helps lower cholesterol levels, strengthen teeth, and improve hair and skin health.
What is Yogurt?
Yogurt is a dairy product prepared from the bacterial fermentation of milk. Lactobacillus, a helpful class of bacteria, ferments milk into yogurt and aids in the digestive process of the body. They also protect the gut from succumbing to infection by harmful bacteria. This kind of bacteria is also known as ‘yogurt culture’, probiotic, or ‘good’ bacteria, and it is good for overall health and wellness. Unprocessed yogurt has a creamy texture and sour taste. Yogurt is sometimes also referred to as ‘yoghurt’.
Health Benefits of Yogurt
Here are some of the most prominent health benefits of this dairy product.
Due to the presence of active bacterial strains in yogurt, it is easily digestible. In fact, the probiotics in yogurt, produced by the lactic acid bacteria present in it, aid in alleviating constipation, diarrhea, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and even infections by peptic ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori, which may eventually lead to stomach cancer.
Protects Bone Health
Being derived from milk, yogurt consists of large doses of calcium, potassium, and magnesium and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Calcium and magnesium are essential for maintaining bone and dental health. It is also good for people suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis, and rheumatism. Adequate calcium consumption also lowers the incidence of osteoporosis in menopausal women.
Prevents Vaginal Infections
Vaginal infections due to candida are commonly observed in diabetic women. The daily consumption of yogurt lowers the pH levels of the vaginal tract and prevents candida infections.
Enhances Brain Function
The rich source of probiotics, yogurt, enhances mood and cognitive function. It also treats nervous disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and autism. The rich source of potassium present in cured is essential for nerve health and also maintains the fluid balance in the body.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, yogurt can help relieve the symptoms of asthma. The probiotics in it significantly reduce the chances of fatal asthma attacks in physically active sufferers. This lowers the symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, and tightening of the chest in asthma patients.
According to findings by the Journal of Dairy research, the protein content in yogurt has been found to be higher than that of milk. It is also known to be more easily digestible than milk due to the partial breakdown of proteins, such as casein, by the fermenting bacteria.
The probiotic strains of bacteria present in yogurt boost the immune system and reduce the incidence of infections, inflammatory diseases, and allergies. Scientists say that regular consumption of yogurt activates your T cells and helps you fight illness with a stronger immune system.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Studies carried out by various institutes indicate a drop in serum LDL (bad) cholesterol levels when a person regularly consumes yogurt. Thus, daily consumption of this dairy dessert may lead to a reduction in cardiovascular diseases.
Cures Bad Breath
Yogurt is a natural cure for bad breath and has reduced halitosis by up to 80% in test subjects. Levels of plaque and gingivitis were also found to be lower among daily consumers of this dairy product.
Intake of yogurt may also provide relief to those suffering from colon cancer. A new study suggests that a diet rich in dairy products may slightly extend lives of people diagnosed with colon cancer.
Skin & Hair Care
Yogurt, when applied topically, has been proven to cure acne and skin rashes, and gives it a healthy glow by reducing dark circles and closing pores. It is also beneficial for hair, as it soothes the itchy scalp and treats dandruff.
Consuming Greek yogurt post workout helps in better recovery. If you also have a glass of water with it, the water absorption rate is also increased.
Is Yogurt Good For You?
Yogurt, in general, is good for everybody. But, if you suffer from any one of the following conditions then yogurt is bad for you.
Lactose intolerance: Lactose intolerance means a condition in which a person lacks the enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose. Consuming yogurt in such conditions may result in diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other disorders, therefore, it is advisable to avoid having it in such cases.
Lactose intolerant people can consume soy yogurt or coconut milk yogurt as they are prepared from non-dairy products and would do no harm to their digestive system.
Milk allergy: People who are allergic to milk are actually allergic to casein and whey, types of protein, present in milk. Consuming milk or milk products will result in hives, swelling, and even anaphylaxis.
Diabetics: Excess sugar intake may be harmful to diabetics and those suffering from obesity. Yogurts found in supermarkets usually have added sugars.
Quick Serving Tips
Yogurt can be consumed in many ways. You could:
- Dip it: Dip breadsticks, fruit kebab, or raw veggies in plain yogurt.
- Blend it: Blend your favorite fruit with yogurt and enjoy a delicious smoothie. Yogurt smoothies make for a great post-workout recovery drink.
- Freeze it: Frozen yogurt serve as a healthy substitute for ice creams.
- Spread it: Spread it over a slice of bread and fill your tummy in minutes.
- Add it: To add a healthy twist to your salad, use yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise in the dressing. You can also make creative dips by adding herbs.
- Layer it: Layer dry or fresh fruits, cereals, and granola with yogurt. Your parfait is ready!
- Or just have it: Yes, you can consume plain yogurt too!