The yogurt making process begins by pasteurizing milk traditionally cow’s but has gone on to include goat’s or sheep’s milk, to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may be present.
Then this cooled to about 45 degrees Centigrade, at which time the so called good bacteria are added.
These bacteria ferment the pasteurized milk into a tart, creamy gel or semi solid (the curd) and a resultant liquid (the whey).
Since it is made from milk, it is rich in protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Researchers however, point to the living bacterial cultures in yogurt as the source of innumerable health benefits.
On the other hand, humans cultivate their own bacterial flora inside the intestines . These bacteria serve to maintain digestive well being and prevent harmful bacteria from invading the body through the digestive tract.
When we take antibiotics to ward off whatever infections we acquired, some of the beneficial bacteria in the intestine are obliterated as well.
As such, medical practitioners recommend the intake of probiotics or substances that encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the body.
Probiotics apparently work by modulating the immune response and reducing inflammation.
They also appear to be helpful in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems including ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome , flatulence and non specific stomach aches.
Yogurt is one such food item that contains probiotics. Further studies also suggest, that aside from balancing intestinal flora, the active cultures in yogurt may prevent the formation of substances or toxins in the colon that may trigger cancer.
As a dairy product, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. During the fermentation process of pasteurized milk, cultured bacteria produced the enzyme lactose to breakdown some of the lactose present in milk, making yogurt significantly easier to digest than most dairy products.
Low or non fat yogurt can be beneficial to people who want to lose some weight or to those who are controlling their fat and cholesterol intake because of high blood pressure levels or heart illness.
It has been noted that the reduction of inflammation associated with heart attacks and the loss of oxygen in myocardial tissue, has been attributed to the actions of yogurt’s probiotics.
Studies have also shown that the consumption of the active culture in yogurt can help lower bad cholesterol levels and normalize blood pressure.
Yogurt was also noted to prevent urinary tract infections and yeast infections in the mouth and diaper area. It has been also noted to help neutralize certain toxins like afflatoxins found in peanut butter.
Interestingly enough, yogurt contains eighty eight percent water and is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and B vitamins such as folacin, among its other vitamins and minerals.
Every consumer, however, is cautioned to read beforehand the labels of yogurt or yogurt based products prior to purchasing them, make sure that the yogurt you choose contains live active bacterial cultures.
Some yogurts are heat treated to prolong their shelf life and kill the living cultures in the process. Heat treated yogurt usually does not need refrigeration when opened.
Yogurt drinks, soft served yogurt, frozen yogurt delights are only some of the manufacturer’s products which it has resorted in enticing people to try them.
With the countless benefits that can be derived from yogurt, it’s no wonder that young and old alike are starting to acquire a renewed interest in yogurt for a healthy and happy life.