Yogurt can be a creamy, delicious and excellent addition to a healthy diet. Yogurt health benefits are many and include improvements in the digestive tract, boosting your immune system and promoting weight loss.
However, what many fail to understand is that far from all yogurts are health-promoting; in fact, most are not very beneficial at all. Finding the healthiest yogurt is not hard; you just have to know how to look. But once you learn this, you can enjoy all the benefits.
Healthiest yogurt—Maximum health benefits
The most natural and healthy yogurt will contain live microorganisms, enzymes, vitamins and other vital nutrients. If your body receives an adequate amounts of beneficial bacteria it will thrive on all levels. These beneficial bacteria are helping the body by fending off harmful and undesirable microorganisms, particularly in the digestive tract.
Research has found many benefits of consuming healthy yogurt containing live bacteria:
- Help lessen the severity of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Help reduce sick days for ill and elderly associated with flu and colds
- Help cut the risk for stomach ulcers—at least the ones caused by Helicobacter pylorii
- A small serving of yogurt can provide up to nine grams of protein
- Yogurt made from raw milk is considered one of nature’s most complete form of food
- Contains calcium, important for bone and teeth health
- Contains a variety of B-vitamins that boost your health in a variety of ways
- Contains minerals such as potassium necessary for normal metabolism
- Promotes weight loss
Unhealthy yogurt—few health benefits, if any
Many people think that just because something is labeled as “Yogurt with Probiotics” it must be healthy, right? But the truth is that most commercial yogurts are not very healthy.
The reason is that they are often loaded with sugar, conservatives, coloring and other unhealthy additives. Sugar in particular can cause unbalances in your gut since sugar promote the growth of bad bacteria and yeast like Candida.
Researchers have found that a single glass of commercial cow or goat milk can contain up to 20 hormones, antibiotics and painkillers. If you buy milk or yogurt in the supermarket, you can be sure it will contain contaminants not good for your health. Yogurt made from organic milk will be better, even if it contains some contaminants. But again, pasteurizing milk will lower the quality of the yogurt.
Yogurt made from commercial milk that is heat-pasteurized lacks vital nutrients, enzymes and beneficial bacteria—not your healthiest choice
OK, so eating yogurt made from heat pasteurized milk is not your best choice. Why? Simply because pasteurization kills the good bacteria and wipes out most enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients in the process.
Milk is often also homogenized and this may have some health hazards. Some research has pointed to a connection with this process and an increased risks of heart disease.
In any case, at the end of this refining process you’ll have a white, dead liquid sold in grocery stores. Don’t waste your money on it when there are much better alternatives!
The healthiest yogurt is made from raw milk
By far the healthiest yogurt is made from raw, unpasteurized milk. Raw milk does not undergo any refining process and is naturally loaded with nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and good bacteria, called probiotics.
Consuming such natural yogurt is much healthier; healthy bacteria will thrive in your intestines and keep the bad bacteria from growing and causing harm inside the body.
There’s a HUGE difference between healthy yogurt made from natural, raw milk and most commercially produced yogurt
Yogurt (and other milk products) made from raw milk is OK for most lactose intolerant persons
Yogurt made from raw milk from grass-fed animals produced for human consumption is best. The quality of the milk is as good as the farm it comes from; be sure to check that the farm meets high standards. I’ve prepared yogurt from raw milk many times and it is just delicious, creamy, tangy and packed with nutrients.
- Information on raw milk products www.realmilk.com
The healthiest yogurt does not contain unhealthy additives
Yogurt that is mass-produced by the big national brands is often full of refined sugars, artificial coloring, and preservatives.
Overconsumption of sugar is a main cause of obesity, diabetes, inflammations and other health problems. Sugar also worsen many bacteria and yeast infections as Candida.
Unsweetened yogurt is a much better alternative. Unsweetened yogurt will help balance your digestive tract and treat Candida and bacteria infections.
Sugar-free yogurt, especially from raw milk will have profound health benefits
You get vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients your body needs, while building healthy bacteria colonies in the stomach and intestines for a healthy gut.
Your digestive tract has over 100 trillion micro-organisms, and regular consumption of yogurt makes sure healthy microorganisms are dominating your digestive system. Healthy bacteria help you digest food properly, absorb food nutrients and aid your immune system to fight disease. Yogurt gives your body an extra boost in getting these important tasks accomplished.
If you want something sweet in your yogurt, add banana, apple, fresh berries; or use stevia, a natural sweetener without calories
Healthiest yogurt in your grocery store
What if you can’t find yogurt made from raw milk and you want to buy yogurt in your grocery store. Which yogurt would then be your healthiest choice? There are a few.
- Note: Don’t trust food labels as they notoriously unreliable.
Greek yogurt or regular unsweetened, organic yogurt would be good additions to a healthy diet. They are full of calcium, good bacteria, and protein while having few calories. Even if this yogurt is not made from raw milk they will contain nutrients like these:
- Essential amino acids
- Minerals as magnesium
- Vitamins B1, B2, B7, and K
- Complete proteins
- 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. (However, raw milk is far better and packed with nutrients.)
Even the healthiest yogurt cannot match real kefir
Yogurt and Kefir are both fermented milk products but they contain different kinds of healthy bacteria and yeast. Yogurt contains healthy bacteria that help keep your gut balanced, but kefir does much more than that; it helps to colonize you digestive system with other vital bacteria strains.
Kefir is an ancient fermented food full of nutrients and healthy microorganisms
Kefir is one of the healthiest foods to strengthen your immunity. Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria and yeast not commonly found in yogurt. These bacteria make up a powerful SWAT team that keeps your gut in good order.
- Kefir is similar to yogurt, just a bit healthier and more potent
Kefir often contains:
- Lactobacillus Caucasus
- Acetobacter species
- Streptococcus species
- Saccharomyces kefir (yeast)
- Torula kefir (yeast)
- Amino acids
Benefits of drinking kefir
|Better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.||Has anti-aging and immune enhancing properties.||Strengthen the immune system.|
|Very nourishing for pregnant women.||Balances the digestive tract.||Makes your digestive system run well.|
|Restore gut balance after antibiotics have messed your stomach up.||If you’re lactose intolerant, Kefir can be a good choice.||Help control food cravings.|
How to prepare kefir at home
It can be prepared from sheep, cow, goat, soy, or coconut milk. It’s easy to prepare kefir using a starter culture and some raw milk. The starter culture contains several healthy bacteria strains that commence the fermentation process. Body Ecology Kefir Starter is one of the best prepared for this purpose.
- Kefir can be prepared quickly—within 24 hours it’s ready to be consumed.
To some degree you can determine the thickness and taste by changing the temperature and how long you allow the fermentation to go on. Tasty Kefir should be somewhat thicker than milk and have a creamy texture. But don’t wait so long that it turns into cheese!
- Kefir is wonderful in smoothies!
Homemade kefir can keep for many days in the fridge. It is great to start your day with a glass of creamy yogurt with some fresh berries.
Body Ecology Kefir Starter contains:
- Lactococcus lactis
- Lactococcus cremoris
- Lactococcus diacetylactis
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides
- Lactobacillus kefyr
- Klyveromyces marxianus
- Saccaromyces unisporus
Suggested Use of Body Ecology Kefir Starter
The same principles apply for other starter cultures as well:
- In a container (preferably glass with lid), mix together the entire contents of one foil package of kefir starter and one quart of slightly warmed milk (about skin temperature or 92 degrees).
- Shake, stir or whip with a whisk to mix well. Put lid on container
- Let this mixture ferment at 72-75 F for 18-24 hours for milk, 24-48 hours for coconut water and some others. (You will notice it is ready if the milk has thickened and has a distinctive, sour fragrance. Final consistency is pourable but not “eat with a spoon” thick.) Coconut water will not thicken like milk, only become cloudy and much less sweet.
- Shake or stir vigorously and place into the refrigerator. Even in your refrigerator the fermentation process continues, but chilling will slow down the fermentation of the healthy bacteria and beneficial yeast.
Newbie to yogurt and kefir?
Whether you consume homemade yogurt or kefir, please be aware that you’re now entering a field of living foods that can have a profound effect on your health. Even if you consume the best, healthiest yogurt on the planet, you must allow your but and body to get used to it.
Therefore, start slowly to build up tolerance; take just a little yogurt or kefir every morning, perhaps only a few tablespoons to begin with. Monitor how your stomach reacts and increase the amount until you drink a full glass daily. Increased gas, constipation, light headache or similar symptom are normal in the beginning; they usually pass withing a few days to a week.
The reason for such symptoms is often that if your body needs to detox because of yeast overgrowth, high bacteria count or stored waster products, you might get a strong reaction. This is because probiotic bacteria in the yogurt or kefir will stimulate a cleansing of your body; this is considered of major importance for optimal health.
Stick to the healthiest yogurt or kefir and reap the benefits!