Yogurt is known as a superfood due to its tremendous wealth of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as protein, calcium, along with an extraordinary amount of ‘good’ bacteria that help you keep your gut healthy.
Also, it aids in promoting weight loss, increases immunity, boosts metabolism, fights anemia, prevents vaginal infections, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Also, it lowers cholesterol levels, improves skin and hair, and strengthens teeth. In the US, “yogurt” is a federally-regulated terminology that can only relate to products created using one or both of the Streptococcus thermophiles and bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
Yogurt goes through the initial pasteurization phase and then undergoes fermentation with a wide range of live bacteria cultures. Finally, it goes through an incubation process at a certain specific temperature for encouraging the growth of bacteria.
Typically, the culture aids in the fermentation of the lactose, natural sugar content found in milk. Also, it aids in the production of lactic acid, which produces yogurt its a distinctive flavor.
What is Yogurt?
Yogurt is a widely-used dairy product manufactured from the fermentation of milk using specific bacteria(1). Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacteria that aid in the fermentation of milk into yogurt – thence facilitating the digestive mechanism of our body.
Also, these ‘useful’ bacteria help in safeguarding the gut against a wide range of infections caused by harmful bacteria. These bacteria are also referred to as ‘yogurt culture,’ ‘good’ bacteria, or ‘probiotic,’ and it is incredibly beneficial for maintaining your health and overall wellness.
As such, unprocessed yogurt flaunts a creamy texture along with a sour taste.
As a preferred nutrient-dense food as well as fermented milk product, it helps meet your daily recommended requirement of micronutrient and macronutrient along with playing a leading role in reducing potential health risk in vulnerable groups.
Yogurt is incredibly rich in animal protein (carrying around 9 grams protein per 6-ounce of serving), along with several other essential nutrients found in most dairy foods such as vitamin B-2, calcium, vitamin B-12, magnesium, and potassium.
[Also Read: Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar]
Types of Yogurt
There are several types of yogurt, such as:
1. Non-fat or low fat
Reduced-fat or low-fat yogurt contains only 2% milk. It contains 0% or skim milk.
Kefir is a liquid yogurt intended for drinking purposes. It consists of probiotics and can be prepared easily at home by combining milk and kefir grains and leaving the mixture to stand for 12 – 24 hours.
3. Greek yogurt
It is rich in protein as compared to other types of yogurts(2); however, the calcium content is comparatively less. Greek yogurt is creamy and thick. It can withstand heat better as compared to regular yogurt.
Further, it’s made by straining yogurt to eliminate the liquid whey. Also, Greek yogurt has full fat, low or reduced, and 0% fat.
4. Frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurt is considered a healthy substitute for ice cream. Also, several types of frozen yogurt include the same quantity of sugar or perhaps more as ice cream.
5. Non-dairy yogurt
This group of yogurts includes coconut milk yogurt and soy yogurt.
‘10’ Amazing health benefits of Yogurt to include in your diet
While yogurt offers a wide range of health benefits(3), the following ten makes it a widely-preferred dairy product:
1. Yogurt for Digestion
Thanks to the presence of healthy active bacteria, yogurt is easily digestible. Also, the lactic acid bacteria in yogurt produces probiotics that help alleviate constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, and even severe infections caused by H. pylori, a bacteria known to cause peptic ulcer.
2. Supports Bone Health
A right blend of magnesium, potassium, and calcium that help maintain the right bone mineral density helps build better bones, and maintain healthy bones.
[Also Read: Essential Oils for Strong Bones]
3. Avoids Vaginal Infections
Several types of vaginal infections caused by candida are one of the common symptoms noticed in women who have diabetes. Yogurt’s daily consumption reduces the pH level of the vaginal tract, thus preventing candida infections.
4. Helps Manage Weight
Studies published in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that yogurt aids in fat loss along with reducing central adiposity in case of energy restriction. It keeps you satiated and thence mitigates the odds of overeating, thence helping you manage your weight more effectively.
5. Improves Brain Function
As a rich source of probiotics, yogurt enhances cognitive function and mood, as per a study carried out at the University of California. Also, it helps in treating nervous disorders such as autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
6. Helps Treats Asthma
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps in relieving the symptoms of asthma as well as other disorders associated with the respiratory tract. The probiotics found in yogurt significantly decrease the odds of fatal asthma attacks.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Treat Asthma]
7. Enhances Hair & Skin Care
When applied topically, yogurt proves extremely effective in curing skin rashes and acne, and provides a healthy glow, even texture, and shiny luster to your skin by closing pores, removing clogged impurities, and reducing dark circles. It also proves beneficial for your hair, as it treats dandruff and helps soothe the itchy scalp.
8. Enhances Immune System
Yogurt bacteria’s probiotic strains help strengthen your immune system along with reducing the risk of infections, allergies, and inflammatory diseases. Scientists claim that the regular consumption of yogurt helps in activating your T cells, which further fights a wide range of ailments by boosting your immune system.
9. Reduces Hypertension
Daily intake of dairy products helps lower hypertension by decreasing the reabsorption of sodium. As a result, it is essential that you include dairy products in your regular heart-healthy diet to maintain excellent blood pressure benefits.
10. Cures Bad Breath
Health experts believe that yogurt is an excellent natural cure for bad breath along with a wide range of oral diseases, allergies, and infections. Also, it helps reduce the levels of gingivitis and plaque.
Easy Yogurt Recipes
1. Easy yogurt flatbreads
Ingredients you will need:
- 500 grams plain flour
- 150 ml full-fat milk
- 150 grams of natural yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh yeast
- 60 gram clarified butter
How to prepare:
- Start by putting the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a bowl and blend create a good mixture.
- Heat the milk in a pan until it gets warm. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and add adding the remaining to the milk and stir thoroughly.
- Now melt the butter and add it to the yogurt and milk, and mix them thoroughly.
- Pour gradually over the flour and blend, knead it for some 10 minutes till you get a pliable dough.
- Next, let it stay in a warm spot for around 1 hour till it gets double in size.
- Next, split the dough into ten even-sized balls. Now heat the grill moderately and place a baking tray underneath it to heat for roughly 10 minutes.
- Flatten the dough balls, roll them into a teardrop shape, and spread with the remaining yogurt.
- Lastly, place the dough balls on the baking tray and grill over mild heat for some 2 to 3 minutes on each side till the balls turn golden. Be careful, as they might burn quickly.
2. Frozen blackberry yogurt
Ingredients you will need:
- 200 grams blackberries
- 300 grams of Greek yogurt
- 40 grams caster sugar
- 50 ml of honey
- 100 ml of goat-milk
How to prepare:
- Toss the blackberries as well as caster sugar together in a bowl. Now, leave it for some 30 minutes or till the fruit starts breaking down. Mash those berries gently with a spoon or fork for a while.
- Take a different bowl and blend together the yogurt with goat-milk and honey. Now add the yogurt mix into a jar, then smoothly tip the blackberries on the top and gently swirl through.
- Lastly, freeze for some 2 hours, then stir a little and firm it up in a freezer. Serve chilled.
Precautions to keep in mind while using Yogurt
While preparing yogurt, always heat the milk first. It’s essential that you destroy the bacteria in milk ahead of preparing the yogurt.
When boiling the milk, make sure the container is clean to avoid the milk from getting curdled. Yogurt is safe to consume in moderation while overconsumption can create a few complications with your digestive system such as indigestion, skin rash, diarrhea, and other stomach problems.
Yogurt is an excellent source of nutrients and may enhance your health and overall wellness when consumed daily. Also, it helps in reducing the risk of certain diseases along with facilitating weight loss. It also supports your digestive health.
However, you need to ensure choosing your yogurt wisely. To get the most out of yogurt, go for plain, unsweetened variants that are rich in probiotics.