Who doesn’t love yogurt! Both kids and adults love this tasty treat because it’s easy to eat and most of all, it’s creamy, delicious and comes with an infinite number of tastes; each one can find a yogurt he loves. At the same time you can reap many health benefits of yogurt.
However, choosing the right kind of yogurt is essential; it should be “alive” and without unhealthy additives. The most beneficial yogurt is made from raw, unpasteurized milk; in fact, it is very simple to make homemade yogurt loaded with probiotics and other nutrients.
Benefits of yogurt containing probiotics bacteria
Yogurt can contain several different beneficial bacteria strains; each bacterium has a specific function in the gut and promotes health on different ways. Many bacteria also support and enhance the activities of other probiotic bacteria and this can have profound health benefits.
- It is therefore best to consume yogurt and other probiotic food containing a wide range of beneficial bacteria
There are several beneficial bacteria that are found in most probiotic yogurt. Studies have revealed that some good bacteria can survive the transit in the gastrointestinal tract; it is considered that live bacteria in your intestine are much more potent and health-promoting than dead bacteria.
Benefits of yogurt confirmed by research
- Good bacteria in yogurt can help lessen the severity of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) by helping regulate the immune system’s mechanism.
- Probiotics in yogurt help stabilize the existing micro-flora in a person’s digestive tract.
- Yogurt containing live bacteria cultures has been proven effective to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
- Yogurt helps reducing the ‘sick days’ associated with common health problems such as flu and colds. This is further indication that probiotics have a positive impact on a person’s immune system.
- Studies suggest that consuming probiotic yogurt regularly can help cut the risk for stomach ulcers — at least the ones caused by the pathogen Helicobacter pylorii.
- A small serving of probiotic yogurt can provide up to nine grams of protein. This is especially true of yogurt is produced from raw milk as it is considered nature’s most complete form of food. Raw milk has many other benefits as it is packed with enzymes and other nutrients. In addition, most lactose intolerant people can eat yogurt made from raw milk.
- Yogurt contains calcium, which is important for bone health; calcium also helps protect your teeth.
- Yogurt contains a variety of B-vitamins that will help boost your health in a variety of ways. B-vitamins have been known to protect the bones, boost the immune system, and repair damaged nerves. B-vitamins are also considered a potential preventive measure against certain types of cancer.
- Minerals such as potassium in yogurt are necessary for normal human metabolism.
- Yogurt with probiotics can promote weight loss, but you need to consume plain yogurt with probiotics to avoid additional sugar calories.
- Studies also confirm that yogurt with probiotics can benefit your gut health, combat allergies and even improve you mood.
Benefits of yogurt due to beneficial bacteria
Depending on which starter culture is used, different kinds of beneficial bacteria will add their specific taste, texture and nutrients to the yogurt. These good bacteria are responsible for most of the benefits of yogurt. When consumed together, these bacteria strains can have a profound impact on your health.
Almost all major benefits of yogurt are due to these bacteria:
This bacteria help break down lactose (a sugar) found in milk products; this is a reason why many people with lactose intolerance can consume yogurt containing probiotics. These beneficial bacteria also produce amino acids, vitamins B-complex and the essential vitamin K2.
This bacteria strain is included in many starter cultures for yogurt. They turn lactose, the sugar in milk, into lactic acid that lowers the pH and adds a fresh, sour taste. The increase in lactic acid also turns milk into the gel-like structure characteristic of yogurt. This bacterium produces yogurt with consistent flavor and texture. The longer you ferment yogurt, the tarter the taste.
These bacteria are capable to produce bacteiocins, a substance that can kill off bad bacteria. Some studies also suggest that Lactobacillus bulgaricus may have anti-tumor properties.
Bifidobacteria has several immunological properties; they provide a strong resistance to harmful or toxic microbes as well as lower the effects from harmful bacteria. This bacteria strain is capable of surviving the harsh environment in the stomach and still living travel to the colon to offer its protection from harmful toxins or inflammation. However, this bacterium is most known for is its ability to stimulate the body’s immune response; it is especially effective in enhancing cellular immunity in the elderly.
Bidido are very effective for the stomach and intestinal tract as the bacteria prevent diarrhea, relieving constipation and decreasing chronic pain and inflammation of the colon, making it very valuable for your large intestine. In addition to its many other health benefits, Bifidobacterium Lactis is also very beneficial in preventing and treating atopic eczema in children with food allergies. Researchers have demonstrated that it has the ability to protect epithelial cells from damage in people that suffer from celiac disease.
When L. acidophilus breaks down food in the intestine, several substances are formed, such as lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. These substances create an unfriendly environment for unwanted bacteria. Lactobacillus are often recommended when you take antibiotics. Antibiotics wipe out most bacteria, but cannot differ between friendly and unfriendly microorganisms. Therefore, antibiotics disrupt the delicate balance between good and bad bacteria in the intestines and can lead to stomach problems. However, L. acidophilus helps restore the healthy balance of bacteria.
Some studies suggest that using L. acidophilus can help treat bacterial vaginosis and that eating yogurt with L. acidophilus cultures may also help. L. acidophilus has also some effect on reducing allergic responses of the immune system; treating asthma, eczema, immune function, and liver disorder.
Most benefits of yogurt if avoiding commercial brands
Commercial yogurt may not be your best choice. Why not?
Most commercial yogurt is made from milk that has been pasteurized and homogenized. During this refining process the natural bacteria, enzymes, vitamins and many other nutrients are destroyed. You are left with a dead liquid, stripped of most beneficial nutrients.
In addition, commercial yogurt is often loaded with sugar, coloring and other unhealthy additives. Some of the most popular commercial products are an unhealthy cocktail of low quality ingredients.
Real benefits of yogurt when it’s “live” – teeming with beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and nutrients
The best yogurt contains live microorganisms, potent enzymes and many other vital nutrients. If your body receives adequate amounts of beneficial bacteria daily it will thrive on all levels. Probiotic bacteria are helping the body by fending off harmful and undesirable microorganisms, particularly in the digestive tract.
You best option is to make yogurt at home; this is really simple and cheap. It’s best to use raw, unpasteurized milk to make yogurt or kefir. I use raw milk with a fat content of 4,3% which produces a creamy, rich yogurt.
Finding best yogurts in grocery stores
Be suspicious about food labels as they notoriously unreliable. Remember, most commercial yogurt brands are not healthy choices. The benefits of yogurt as discussed above apply when you consume yogurt made from raw milk because such yogurt is loaded with nutrients and probiotic bacteria.
But if you need to buy yogurt, what can you do?
Both Greek yogurt and some regular unsweetened organic yogurt with probiotics can be good additions to a healthy diet. They are good sources of calcium, some probiotics and protein while having few calories. Even if this yogurt is not made from raw milk, they will contain nutrients like:
- Essential amino acids
- Magnesium and other minerals
- Vitamins B1, B2, B7, and the essential K2
- Healthy yeast
Greek yogurt however will have much of the lactose, whey and sugar removed which makes for a bit more bite, taste wise, but also increase the protein content to almost twice that of many commercial yogurts.
There are also many other probiotic milk products available in some grocery stores that you can try.
Health benefits of homemade yogurt
To reap all the benefits of yogurt, your best choice is to make yogurt at home; this is really simple. Try to locate raw, unpasteurized milk because it is far more nutritious than commercial milk; Raw milk is loaded with beneficial bacteria, enzymes and many other nutrients. It also tastes a lot better. Just make sure that the raw milk is for human consumption.
All you need to do is to add a starter culture to the milk, keep it in in room temperature for 18-24 hours and you’re done.
Both yogurt and kefir are very simple to make at home and it is well worth the effort. Homemade yogurt is extremely tasty and if you use raw milk the nutritional value will be great for the whole family.
I try to make yogurt and kefir regularly at home and I can assure you that you quickly get addicted to it.
- To reap maximum benefits of yogurt, be sure to choose a high quality starter culture containing the beneficial bacteria mentioned above
Yogurt and kefir (and other milk products) made from raw milk is OK for most lactose intolerant persons.
I usually keep my homemade yogurt for at least five days in the fridge without spoilage; the cooler the fridge the better. It is great to have a daily glass of delicious, creamy yogurt perhaps with some fresh berries, fruit or just plain. If you drink it regularly, you will enjoy the many benefits of yogurt.