If you are a health-conscious individual, yogurt is probably part of your daily diet. It is one of the top health foods due to several benefits that can be derived from it. One of which are the abundance of vitamins and minerals present in every single serving. Aside from animal protein and other nutrients such as vitamin B2, B12, potassium and magnesium, yogurt is also known to be an excellent source of calcium and live-active cultures. Some of the yogurts out in the market today are also Vitamin D fortified. It is because of these that yogurts are actually recommended to be part of a diet to prevent osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a progressive disease characterized by bones gradually losing its bone mass—the amount of mineral in the bone. As a result, bones become weaker, causing changes in posture and making an individual extremely vulnerable to bone fractures. The disease primarily affects women more than men due to physiological, nutritional and hormonal differences. There are 2 basic types of osteoporosis, Type I and Type II. Type I is caused by hormonal changes. Type II is believed to be caused by calcium and Vitamin D deficiency.
Calcium, Vitamin D and Live-Active Cultures in Yogurts
Some yogurts contain live-active cultures and a substantial amount of calcium and vitamin D. The best yogurts are those with 35-40 percent of the recommended daily allowance for calcium for an 8 oz. container. However, contrary to popular belief, calcium intake in itself is not enough. There has to be a presence of certain vitamins and minerals at a certain regulated level to facilitate calcium absorption. Provided that the dose of vitamin D is sufficiently high, calcium content of food can be easily absorbed by the body.
Dannon, Stonyfield and Yoplait are some yogurt brands with vitamin D. Live-active cultures also increase not only calcium absorption but B vitamins absorption as well. Yogurts are made by bacterial fermentation of lactose resulting to a by-product called lactic acid. Lactic acid in yogurt helps facilitate the digestion of milk calcium, making it easier for the body to absorb it. In fact, because of the presence of live-active cultures in yogurt, an 8-ounce serving of yogurt gets more calcium in the body than the same amount of milk.
For younger people, bones are developing quickly and the absorbed calcium is readily stored in the bones. For older people, the absorbed calcium can be readily utilized by the body. If present in sufficient amounts, the body is not forced to “steal” calcium from the bones to meet the requirement. It is important to remember that a person can only store calcium at a certain age. After that, it is difficult to replenish the lost calcium in the bones and this will eventually lead to osteoporosis.
Prevention is always better than cure. Dietary and lifestyle habits should always be taken into consideration. Treatment and care for people with osteoporosis in the United States costs close to $3.8 billion annually. With a daily intake of yogurt, you can provide your body with a nourishing treat and possibly prevent osteoporosis.