Yogurt is creamy, nutritious and has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years. But do you know that yogurt is made by fermenting milk with bacteria. These bacteria are called yogurt cultures. Yogurt cultures ferment lactose, the natural sugar found in milk.
The result is curdled milk that gives yogurt its distinct flavor and taste. At times, it can be sweetened or flavored. These variations, however, have added sugar and artificial flavors that are not always healthy.
Delicious natural yogurt lacks all these and packs quite the health punch. Here are four health benefits of natural yogurt.
1. Its Nutrient-Rich
Yogurt is among the few single foods that contain the most nutrients your body needs.
Your daily cup of yogurt will give you calcium. You also get vitamin B12 and riboflavin, which protect against heart disease and certain congenital disabilities.
You also get phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. These regulate blood pressure and support bone health. Yogurt does not in itself contain vitamin D, but most yogurts are fortified with it.
2. Support Digestive Health
Good quality yogurts contain live bacteria or probiotics. These are either added to the yogurt after pasteurization or as the culture used to ferment the yogurt.
The more common types of probiotics are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. These have been proven to be beneficial to the digestive system. One of their notable effects is lessening symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which affect the colon.
Studies have also shown that yogurt improves digestion in women without underlying digestive tract conditions. Probiotics are also known to prevent constipation and antibiotic-related diarrhea.
3. Strengthens the Immune System
The immune system comprises cells, organs, and chemicals that help the body fight infections. Essentially, your immune system is on the front line fighting to keep you healthy.
For this reason, anything that supports your immune system supports your health.
Yogurt contains probiotics which are known to lessen inflammation. Inflammation is responsible for numerous gut and viral infections.
Research has also shown that probiotics can minimize the incidence, severity, and duration of colds.
Besides probiotics, yogurt’s immune-enhancing qualities are linked to its trace minerals, including selenium, zinc, and magnesium.
4. Controls Blood pressure
Salt is one of the main culprits behind high blood pressure. If not monitored, high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease and hypertension. Both of these leave you vulnerable to other health conditions.
Yogurt is rich in potassium, which helps excess sodium from the body.
Taking several cups of low-fat yogurt every day can significantly help keep control of your blood pressure levels.
For people without a lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, including yogurt in your diet can significantly support your health. To get the most benefits, it’s suggested to have at least three portions of yogurt every day.
Photo by Monica Turlui from Pexels