Yogurt also known as curd is a thick, custard or pudding-like food, made by the natural bacterial fermentation of milk. The process of making it involves culturing cream or milk with live and active bacterial cultures; this is done by adding bacteria directly to the milk. Commercially, it is made with a culture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilis (names of the bacteria used in the making of yogurt).
There are many kinds (plain and flavored) yogurts found in the supermarket these days.
It can also be easily made at home by heating the milk to a little more that luke warm (say 45°C) and adding a little (1 Tbsp) of yogurt to it. Stir and keep it undisturbed in a warm place for 6-7 hours or until set. However if you don't have any at home, you can buy yogurt culture packs from the supermarket and follow the instructions given, to make a wonderful yogurt at home.
Here are some benefits you can get from eating yogurt:
- Improves gastro-intestinal functions
Since yogurt is rich with probiotics, it helps improve food digestion and absorption. Good digestion and absorption will prevent you from experiencing hyperactive bowel movements and constipation. Yogurt also helps lactose intolerant individuals. It also lowers your risk of getting inflammatory bowel diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease.
- Boosts your immune system
Probiotics from yogurt makes your body stronger in resisting harmful bacteria, thus lessening your risk of getting infections. These good bacteria also enhance your body's natural healing process so you can easily recover from illnesses.
- Regulates your blood pressure
A study have shown that having 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy daily will greatly reduce your risks of getting high blood pressure. Some dairy products are high with dairy fat that is not healthy for your heart. Yogurt is a low-fat dairy product that does not have a bad effect on your heart.
- Maintains your weight
Because yogurt is low-fat, it frees you from worries of gaining weight. When dieting, it's important that you still get enough nutrients so you don't end up being malnourished. Yogurt contains an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals that you need. With enough yogurt intake, you get enough nutrients without the worries of moving the scales up.
- Prevents osteoporosis
Yogurt, just like some dairy products have added calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients are very important in making your bones stronger. Strong bones will prevent you from developing osteoporosis.
Here are some tips you can follow when deciding on adding yogurt in your diet.
1. Choose the type of yogurt that you want to take. There are various types of yogurt. Some yogurts contain regular fat, some are fat-free and some are low-fat. You may also want to check the sugar contained in the yogurt. There are yogurts that have more sugar than others. Look at the label at the back of the package. Read and compare nutritional contents of different brands. Doing this will help you choose the best brand in the market.
2. Make it a habit
You can eat yogurt anytime and anywhere. Make it a point to take some yogurt everyday. Bring some in the office so you can easily have yogurt on your lunch break. You can also put a small yogurt cup in your bag so you can take a healthy snack anywhere.
3. Substitute other ingredients with yogurt
Yogurt can easily be added to your recipes. Use yogurt instead of ice cream when making a smoothie. You can also try adding yogurt when baking cakes and other pastries. You can easily substitute milk to yogurt.
4. Make eating yogurt fun delightful
There are numerous recipes that you can follow so that you don't only get to eat the flavored yogurt available on the market. Adding fruits on your yogurt is a good idea and will make your snack even healthier.