I’m yet to meet someone that doesn’t like yoghurt apart from some people who may be lactose intolerant. The consistency in texture, satiety value, variety of flavours, and affordability make it the perfect snack. Yoghurt is basically fermented milk that is heated and mixed with two types of live bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus.
The word yoghurt is Turkish in origin and comes from the verb “yogurmak” (to thicken). In fact, it is believed that yoghurt was being made in Turkey as far back as the 6th century BCE. The first use of yoghurt was believed to be by Central Asian herdsmen, who stored their extra goat’s milk in containers made out of animal stomachs to preserve it while on the go. Some of the milk stored in these skins, to their surprise, became thick and tart. More importantly, it was still edible.
Here are the health benefits of yoghurt, and why you should include it in your diet more often.
- Makes bones strong and healthy
Yoghurt has been linked with healthy growth of bones, reduced bone loss, and lower risk of broken bones. It contains key nutrients for maintaining bone health, including calcium and protein which makes up roughly 50% of the volume of bone and about one-third of its mass. In addition to this, yoghurt also contains potassium and phosphorus which work with calcium and vitamin D in your body to keep your bones healthy and strong.
- Reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes
The consumption of low-fat dairy products, especially yoghurt, may help lower risk for type II diabetes. Type II Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar. With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin. Insulin allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Research led by the Harvard School of Public Health found that a daily serving of yogurt was linked to an 18% lower risk of type II diabetes. How to live with diabetes
- Promotes digestive health
Yogurt is good for digestion. Lactobacillus bulgaricus is a bacterium which accelerates bowel movement and cannot be found in any food other than yogurt. The lactic acid in the yogurt kills the malicious bacteria in the bowel, preventing diarrhea and helps to create a healthy inner bowel environment.
In fact, by consuming yogurt, you can avoid helicobacter pylori infection, which is recently the main reason for 60 percent of peptic ulcer and stomach cancer cases in the world. The lactic acid in yogurt prevents this bacterium from multiplying and eliminates it in the stomach. Products of the two common probiotics used in yogurt, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus, may reduce levels of carcinogens.
- Strengthens the immune system
Immunity is the ability of the body to resist diseases and/or fight against them. A clinical trial has shown that daily consumption of yogurt that contains the Lactobacillus bulgaricus strain over 12 weeks reduces the frequency of colds in elderly people. This effect is not found with other strains. To add to this, the probiotics found in yogurt have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is linked to several health conditions ranging from viral infections to gut disorders.
- Promotes cardiovascular health
Yogurt is good for your heart. Here’s how. Research shows that the intake of saturated fat from whole-milk products increases “good” HDL cholesterol, which may protect heart health. Other studies have found yogurt intake to reduce the overall incidence of heart disease. Furthermore, yogurt has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. The effects seem to be most prominent in those already diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- Aids in weight loss
Low-fat yogurt can be a useful source of protein on a weight-loss diet. In fact, researchers at the University of Knoxville have found that dietary calcium directly influences your weight loss efforts. High calcium foods, notably dairy sources, have been shown to increase body fat breakdown and preserve metabolism during dieting. A University of Tennessee study in 2005 shows that dieters who ate three servings of yogurt a day lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who simply cut calories and didn’t add calcium to their eating plan.