Yoghurt or yogurt is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Fermentation of lactose produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yoghurt its texture and its characteristic tang. Dairy yoghurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria. The milk is heated to about 80 °C to kill any undesirable bacteria and to change the milk proteins so that they set together rather than form curds. It is then cooled to about 45 °C. The bacteria culture is added, and this temperature is maintained for 4 to 7 hours for fermentation. Soy yoghurt, a non-dairy yoghurt alternative, is made from soy milk.People have been making and eating yogurt for at least 5,400 years. Today, it is a common food item throughout the world. A nutritious food with unique health benefits, it is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
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WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature
“…Benefit No. 1: Yogurt May Help Prevent Osteoporosis''Adequate nutrition plays a major role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and the micronutrients of greatest importance are calcium and vitamin D,'' says Jeri Nieves, PhD, MS, director of bone density testing at New York’s Helen Hayes Hospital.
Calcium has been shown to have beneficial effects on bone mass in people of all ages, although the results are not always consistent, says Nieves, also an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia University.
''The combination of calcium and vitamin D has a clear skeletal benefit, provided the dose of vitamin D is sufficiently high,'' she adds.
And what qualifies as ''sufficiently high?''
Currently, 400 IU per day is considered an adequate intake of vitamin D for people ages 51-70, Nieves says. (Look for the Daily Value amount listed on food labels.) But more may be better.
''This amount is likely to be sufficient for most young adults for skeletal health, although many would argue that for overall health, more than the 400 IU may be required, even at these younger ages,'' Nieves said in an email interview.
Nieves believes that older people specifically can benefit from more vitamin D.
Many dairy products, including some yogurts, are made with added vitamin D. Find out which brands have added vitamin D by checking out the table below, and by reading labels when you shop.
Benefit No. 2: Yogurt May Reduce the Risk of High Blood PressureA recent study, which followed more than 5,000 Spanish university graduates for about two years, found a link between dairy intake and risk of high blood pressure.
''We observed a 50% reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure among people eating 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy a day (or more), compared with those without any intake,'' Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD, a researcher in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in an email interview.
Although most of the low-fat dairy consumed by the study subjects was as milk, Alvaro believes low-fat yogurt would likely have the same effect.
Benefit No. 3: Yogurt With Active Cultures Helps the GutYogurt with active cultures may help certain gastrointestinal conditions, including:
- Lactose intolerance
- Colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- H. pylori infection
The benefits are thought to be due to:
- Changes in the microflora of the gut
- The time food takes to go through the bowel
- Enhancement of the body's immune system
The researchers found that the yogurt improved the efficacy of four-drug therapy.
H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can cause infection in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. It can lead to ulcers and can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Benefit No. 4: Yogurt With Active Cultures May Discourage Vaginal InfectionsCandida or "yeast" vaginal infections are a common problem for women with diabetes. In a small study, seven diabetic women with chronic Candidal vaginitis consumed 6 ounces of frozen aspartame-sweetened yogurt per day (with or without active cultures).
Even though most of the women had poor blood sugar control throughout the study, the vaginal pH (measure of acidity or basicity) of the group eating yogurt with active cultures dropped from 6.0 to 4.0 (normal pH is 4.0-4.5). These women also reported a decrease in Candida infections. The women eating the yogurt without active cultures remained at pH 6.0.
Benefit No. 5: Yogurt May Help You Feel FullerA study from the University of Washington in Seattle tested hunger, fullness, and calories eaten at the next meal on 16 men and 16 women who had a 200-calorie snack. The snack was either:
- Semisolid yogurt containing pieces of peach and eaten with a spoon
- The same yogurt in drinkable form
- A peach-flavored dairy beverage
- Peach juice
2. Yogurt contributes to colon health. There's a medical truism that states: "You're only as healthy as your colon." When eating yogurt, you care for your colon in two ways. First, yogurt contains lactobacteria, intestines-friendly bacterial cultures that foster a healthy colon, and even lower the risk of colon cancer. Lactobacteria, especially acidophilus, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. The more of these intestines-friendly bacteria that are present in your colon, the lower the chance of colon diseases. Basically, the friendly bacteria in yogurt seems to deactivate harmful substances (such as nitrates and nitrites before they are converted to nitrosamines) before they can become carcinogenic.
Secondly, yogurt is a rich source of calcium - a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. Calcium discourages excess growth of the cells lining the colon, which can place a person at high risk for colon cancer. Calcium also binds cancer-producing bile acids and keeps them from irritating the colon wall. People that have diets high in calcium (e.g. Scandinavian countries) have lower rates of colorectal cancer. One study showed that an average intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day is associated with a 75 percent reduction of colorectal cancer. As a survivor of colon cancer, I have a critical interest in the care of my colon. My life depends on it.
3. Yogurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients. Culturing of yogurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yogurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium, making it easier to absorb.
4. Yogurt can boost immunity. Researchers who studied 68 people who ate two cups of live-culture yogurt daily for three months found that these persons produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. The bacterial cultures in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown yogurt cultures to contain a factor that has anti-tumor effects in experimental animals.
| NUTRITIP: Yogurt - Good for Young and Old |
Yogurt is a valuable health food for both infants and elderly persons. For children, it is a balanced source of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals in a texture that kids love. For senior citizens, who usually have more sensitive colons or whose intestines have run out of lactase, yogurt is also a valuable food. Elderly intestines showed declining levels of bifidus bacteria, which allow the growth of toxin-producing and, perhaps, cancer-causing bacteria.
| NUTRITIP: A Chaser for Antibiotics |
Antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria; they also kill the healthy ones in the intestines. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt can help replenish the intestines with helpful bacteria before the harmful ones take over. I usually "prescribe" a daily dose of yogurt while a person is taking antibiotics and for two weeks thereafter.
6. Yogurt can decrease yeast infections. Research has shown that eating eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures daily reduces the amount of yeast colonies in the vagina and decreases the incidence of vaginal yeast infections.
7. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium. An 8-ounce serving of most yogurts provides 450 mg. of calcium, one-half of a child's RDA and 30 to 40 percent of the adult RDA for calcium. Because the live-active cultures in yogurt increase the absorption of calcium, an 8-ounce serving of yogurt gets more calcium into the body than the same volume of milk can.
8. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein. Plain yogurt contains around ten to fourteen grams of protein per eight ounces, which amounts to twenty percent of the daily protein requirement for most persons. In fact, eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures, contains 20 percent more protein than the same volume of milk (10 grams versus 8 grams). Besides being a rich source of proteins, the culturing of the milk proteins during fermentation makes these proteins easier to digest. For this reason, the proteins in yogurt are often called "predigested."
9. Yogurt can lower cholesterol. There are a few studies that have shown that yogurt can reduce the blood cholesterol. This may be because the live cultures in yogurt can assimilate the cholesterol or because yogurt binds bile acids, (which has also been shown to lower cholesterol), or both.
10. Yogurt is a "grow food." Two nutritional properties of yogurt may help children with intestinal absorption problems grow: the easier digestibility of the proteins and the fact that the lactic acid in yogurt increases the absorption of minerals. And even most picky-eaters will eat yogurt in dips and smoothies and as a topping.
Perhaps we can take a health tip about yogurt cultures from cultures who consume a lot of yogurt, such as the Bulgarians who are noted for their longer lifespan and remain in good health well into old age.
NUTRMYTH: All foods made with yogurt are created equal
Not so. In fact, the yogurt used to coat nibble foods such as raisins, nuts, and fruit bits is often so highly sugared that you're really eating more sugar than yogurt.
copied from Askdrsears.com