Yogurt, A Bone-friendly’ Food
Yogurt is a rich creamy dairy product that has been used by people as a common food item for over 4,500 years. This dairy product is mainly produced by adding bacterial cultures to milk. This causes the transformation of the milk’s sugar lactose, into lactic acid. The product has been a staple food item in the cuisine of Asia, Russia, parts of Europe and certain Middle Eastern countries. However, it was only during the 20th century that people residing in Western Europe and Northern America became aware of the special health benefits of this exquisite dairy product. Yoghurt is especially rich in nutrients like protein, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and calcium. Today, the product plays a very important role in the cuisine cultures of countries like India, Greece and Turkey. Commercially, the product is available in a wide variety of flavours and textures and is found all through the year. To know more about the benefits of the rich and exquisite dairy food called yogurt, go through the pointers given below.
Health Benefits of Eating Yogurt
· Enhanced Immune System: According to an article titled "Yogurt Found to Reduce Children's Infections," daily yogurt eating can reduce illness and infections. The article mentions a strain of bacteria, Lactobasillus casei that is found in many yogurts. In a three-month study conducted by researchers at Georgetown University Medical, children who ate the probiotic enhanced yogurt drink had 24 percent fewer gastrointestinal infections and 18 percent fewer upper respiratory infections than children who were getting regular yogurt.
· Improved Cholesterol Levels: Eating cultured yogurt that is rich in probiotics can help lower the bad cholesterol---LDL---and raise levels of the good cholesterol---HDL. The World's Healthiest Foods website mentions a study by Fabian E in the "Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism" in which women who were given probiotic yogurt experienced a dramatic increase in HDL as well as decreased LDL cholesterol.
· Lower Body Fat: According to The World's Healthiest Food website, regular consumption of yogurt will promote low body fat. A calcium-rich diet that includes foods like yogurt and other dairy products promotes weight loss. Yogurt also minimizes the loss of muscle, and muscle burns fat. Regular yogurt eating also helps speed up the metabolism so you can burn more calories throughout the day.
· Recent studies have also indicated that Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium responsible for a majority of ulcers occurring to humans, can be shut down by regular consumption of yogurt.
· Yogurt can also be used to fight foul breath and thus, it helps maintain a healthy mouth. Intake of around 90 grams of this dairy product, two times daily helps lower the levels of volatile sulfides like hydrogen sulfides, which are responsible for bad breath.
· The dairy product also helps prevent dental plaque formation, cavities, gingivitis and even eliminates tongue-coating bacteria.
· Yogurt contains certain cancer-preventing factors, along with a protective fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is also popular as a cardio-protective. Hence, the product contributes a lot in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.
· Yogurt is also sometimes referred to as a ‘bone-friendly’ food. Apart for the bone building mineral calcium, it also contains an iron binding protein called lactoferrin. This component is very important for the growth and activity of osteoblasts, the cells which are responsible for building bones.
You Can Make Your Own Yogurt with Fresh Milk
If you're lucky enough to have access to fresh milk, especially unpasteurized, un-homogenized milk, make your own yogurt and you can save money and have the freshest yogurt around. Simply heat a quart of milk, bringing it to 140 degrees F to kill bacteria. Allow the milk to cool slightly, to 110 degrees F before adding 1/4 cup of quality yogurt, which is the starter culture. Leave it in a warm spot (thermos or yogurt maker) for 8 hours before cooling to eat.
· There are a number of ways for consuming this rich delicacy. Many people add dill weeds and chopped cucumber to yogurt and eat it as a salad, with grilled chicken or lamb.
· You can add pieces of cooked eggplant to yogurt, along with garlic, mint leaves and cayenne.
· Yoghurt is also regarded as a great base for salad dressings. Blend plain yogurt with some water, until the desired consistency is achieved. Over this, sprinkle some herbs and spice, to give a delicate flavor to the recipe.
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