The health benefits of yogurt have been known for years, but yogurt is mainly popular only for its weight loss benefits. Your reasons for eating yogurt should not be limited to losing weight, as yogurt is a highly nutritious food with many other health benefits.
To produce yogurt, milk is heated to about 93°C for 10 to 30 minutes. Thereafter, the milk is cooled quickly to about 44°C, after which bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are added for the milk to undergo fermentation. These bacteria consume sugar in milk and produce lactic acid that causes milk proteins to coagulate, which explains the characteristic solid mass of yogurt. Lactic acid prevents the spoilage of milk, so it also prevents the growth of undesirable bacteria, making yogurt clean and safe to eat. Here is a summary of what yogurt can do for your body.
Yogurt Promotes Bone Health
Yogurt is a byproduct of milk and therefore an excellent source of calcium. Calcium and vitamin D are a perfect combination for a healthy skeletal system. They can also help prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Some yogurt brands are fortified with vitamin D, so these brands are definitely better than those with calcium only.
Yogurt Increases the Level of Good Bacteria
The live and active bacterial cultures in yogurt, known as probiotics, are good bacteria that help regulate the growth and reproduction of bad bacteria in the body. In addition, when you are taking antibiotics, it is recommended that you eat yogurt to restore the level of good bacteria in your body. Antibiotics don’t just kill bad bacteria, but also target the good bacteria in your body.
Yogurt Inhibits Fungal Infections
Probiotics suppress the growth of harmful organisms that cause fungal infections. In addition, eating an 8 oz. serving of yogurt a day can help reduce the occurrence of vaginal yeast infections.
Yogurt Promotes Better Digestion
Probiotics help digest lactose, therefore preventing lactose intolerance problems. They also help treat other gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Yogurt Helps Build Muscles
Plain yogurt has 10 to 14 g of protein per 8 oz. serving. Since protein is necessary for muscle growth, yogurt can be a good snack for bodybuilders and athletes. In addition, eating yogurt regularly can make you feel full all the time because of its protein content. This reduces your food intake and thus helps you control your weight.
Yogurt Increases Immunity against Infections
Eating two cups of yogurt a day can help produce antiviral substances called interferons. Probiotics help stimulate the white blood cells to fight infections.
Yogurt Reduces the Cholesterol Level
An elevated cholesterol level can induce the onset of coronary heart disease. Probiotics can help prevent the rise in cholesterol levels either by absorbing cholesterol or by binding bile acids, which are steroid acids found in bile, a fluid secreted by the liver. When bile acids bind, they are excreted in the stool, resulting in the decrease in the amount of bile acids in the body. Because of this, the liver converts cholesterol into bile acids to replace the lost amount. This reduces the cholesterol level of the body.