The Healthful Benefits Of Yoghurt

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Benefits of Yoghurt have been cited for centuries, but its popularity as a health food has never been stressed. Yoghurt benefits your health in a variety of ways, and you should definitely add it to your shopping list the next time you visit the market.

What is yoghurt and how is it made?
Yogurt is simply milk or cream that is cultured with active live cultures of bacteria. These bacteria prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that cause diseases in your gut. It is also referred to as a pro-biotic.

According to the adopted definition by FAO/WHO probiotics are: "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. The most common types of bacteria used as probiotics are Lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, and certain yeasts and other bacilli may also be helpful".

Probiotics are available as nutritional supplement which can be added to your diet or found in foods such as yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso and some juices and soy drinks".

Healthy levels of good bacteria as found in yogurt will boost the immune system, in addition to keeping your gut free of disease producing bacteria.

The difference between taking antibiotics and pro-biotics for gut bacterial infections is that the antibiotics will destroy the good beneficial germs whilst the probiotics will nurture the healthy bacterial flora. Eating yoghurt regularly can help restore your good bacteria levels. Yoghurt is also beneficial to individuals having lactose intolerance, as the active live cultures reduce yoghurt's level of lactose.

High Calcium level:
Yoghurt has a very high calcium level as it is made from dairy products. High calcium levels are important for your bones (prevent osteoporosis) and teeth health. Calcium seem to encourage the body maintain and lose weight. Yoghurt forms a part of the weight watchers diets.

High Protein content:
Enjoy ice cold yoghurt after a gym work-out. It is an excellent source of protein like the eggs: helps give the body lost energy through exercise and keep you going throughout the day. Yoghurt will also curb your appetite, most important if obesity is a problem.

An average 150 gram serving provides approximately 20 per cent of the Daily Value for protein.

Natural Yoghurt: When buying yoghurt, go for the natural organic yoghurts. Choose the once with low sugar and added trans-fat or high fructose corn syrup.

You need also to check the amount of active live cultures. The more active live cultures in the yoghurt the more benefits you will receive from them. Yoghurt is generally made with pasteurized milk or cream and if the pasteurizing is done after culturing process, it can kill the active live cultures and lose the benefits.

Reduces vaginal yeast infections:
Women on the contraceptive pill and long term antibiotics need to take yoghurt daily which contains acidophilus cultures that kills the fungi.Yoghurt's content of calcium, potassium and magnesium, three micro-nutrients have been shown to reduce hypertension. It is advisable for the patients suffering from hypertension to take yoghurt regularly.

Most of all yoghurt is a most refreshing appetite suppressing nutritious health food you can always enjoy without getting bored.

So, go for it daily.

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