What is yogurt?
It is a product of semisolid consistency where the most important phenomenon is the transformation of lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid beneficial to our intestines. This transformation is due to the action of specific bacteria that are included in milk, such as Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, but other bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilos and Bifidobacterium bifidus are also being included. The incorporation of these last two confer the denomination of Bifidus.
Yogurt is considered a fundamental food for health, because it is a probiotic product (contain several colonies of living microorganisms that positively influence our body). They provide really beneficial effects, mainly improving the health of the intestinal flora.
What is its origin?
Its origin is in Turkey although there are also those who locate it in the Balkans, Bulgaria or Central Asia. Its name has the origin in a Bulgarian term: “jaurt”. It is believed that its consumption predates the beginning of agriculture.
The nomadic people transported the fresh milk they obtained from animals in sacks usually made from goatskin. The heat and the contact of the milk with the skin of goat propitiated the multiplication of the acidic bacteria and fermented the milk.
The milk became a semi-solid and coagulated mass.
After consuming the milk yeast contained in those bags, they were filled again with fresh milk that was transformed into fermented milk thanks to the previous residues.
Yogurt became the staple food of nomadic peoples for its ease of transportation and conservation. His healthy virtues were already known in antiquity.
Carbohydrates: The predominant sugar in yogurt is lactose.
Proteins of high biological value: They form, maintain and renew all the tissues of our body. The protein concentration in this dairy is higher than the concentration present in the milk, this is due to the incorporation of dry milk extract in the elaboration. 250 ml of yogurt covers the daily requirements of proteins of animal origin (15 gr.) Of an average adult.
Regarding proteins there are two very important points to mention:
- Highly digestible due to proteolysis caused by bacterial strains.
- They are already coagulated before being ingested, therefore when consuming yogurt there are no stomach and intestinal discomforts.
Fats: Lipids directly influence the consistency and texture of the product. Provided that the fat intake in our diet is within the established normal values, this will be beneficial to our health, as it is an energy source, is present in cell membranes and exert a protective function to our internal organs. >
Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium: Facilitate bone mineralization processes along with vitamin D.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): Enhances the energy utilization of our body Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin: Essential nutrient of nervous tissue
Zinc: Important mineral for the immune system that also contributes to the correct energy use of carbohydrates.
Vitamin C: Essential for healing wounds, maintenance of healthy cartilage, bones and teeth.
Vitamin D: Antioxidant that blocks the effects of free radicals.
Can lactose intolerants take yogurt?
In people whose digestive system lacks the enzyme lactase, lactose will not break down into simpler sugars, so there will be a lactose intolerance.
Depending on the degree of intolerance, people with this problem may or may not take yogurt.
Unlike other dairy products, yogurts have a lower lactose content of about 4 grams thanks to the fermentation process. So it improves lactose digestibility in people with lactose malabsorption and may be better tolerated than other dairy products such as milk or even cheese.
What are the properties and benefits of yogurt?
1- Regulates the intestinal microflora: The bacteria present in the intestine collaborate with the digestion processes, help the absorption of certain foods, stimulate the immune system and prevent the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. The intestinal microflora (set of bacteria that normally inhabit the intestine) can be altered by several factors, such as stress, changes in diet, antibiotic treatment, alcohol consumption, etc.
Probiotics present in natural yogurt are able to restore balance in the intestinal flora, avoiding the proliferation of harmful bacteria that could cause various diseases.
Yogurt helps stabilize the flora of the intestine and microorganisms of the digestive system, as their bacteria convert the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid, which prevents the development of harmful bacteria in the intestine from the decomposition of the food.
2- Avoid diarrhea and constipation: Prevents and improves symptoms of diarrhea: this is because yogurt helps restore healthy intestinal bacterial flora, which is destroyed by diarrhea.
A good balance in the intestinal flora is important to prevent intestinal tract problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
3 – Protects the stomach: Among the most frequent stomach conditions in the population are gastritis and stomach or duodenal ulcers.
- Protects the stomach when certain medications are taken, and helps minimize the negative effects of antibiotics.
- Reduces the effects of gastroenteritis.
- It is ideal for fighting infections in the digestive system, as it contains one hundred million live bacteria with a large amount of B vitamins.
4 – Improves lactose intolerance: It is easy to digest, which is why many people who are lactose intolerant can easily consume it.
Regular consumption of yogurt improves lactose tolerance by improving the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Many people suffer from lactose intolerance. In many cases, the intolerance is due to the deficiency of an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for digesting lactose (a sugar), present in milk and other dairy products. However, various scientific studies have revealed that certain lactobacilli present in yogurt are capable of digesting lactose, facilitating the digestion of this sugar in intolerant people.
5- Vitamin source: Yogurt is an important source of potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, and vitamin B5. It also contains vitamin B12, which keeps the red cells and helps the nervous system to function properly.
6- Great source of calcium: Important contribution of calcium, essential mineral for the good health of our bones. The daily losses of this mineral in our organism must be replenished through the daily diet. The calcium present in yogurt has dissolved in lactic acid, making it more absorbable for our digestive system and for its easy subsequent passage to our whole body. It is very good against osteoporosis.
The calcium of the dairy is the one that best benefits our organism.
7- Improves the immune system: It contributes to the optimization and improvement of the immune system, activating the body’s natural defenses.
Probiotics reduce intestinal inflammation, balance the lymphocyte population and regulate the secretion of cytokines, all of which contribute to decrease the occurrence of allergies
The healthy bacteria found in yogurt help send signals to immune stimulation cells to fight harmful viruses or bacteria.
8- Reduces cholesterol: Yogurt Reduces blood cholesterol values.
Different studies show that the consumption of yogurt lowers blood cholesterol levels, consequently this food must be part of the diet of those people who present cardiovascular risk.
9- Reduce the risk of diabetes: Taking yogurt daily may decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. Those who had included a serving of yogurt in their daily diet had a 18% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
10- Avoid vaginal infections: Candidiasis is the most common vaginal infection. It is a yeast (fungus) that colonizes and proliferates in the area causing itching and burning, among other discomforts. Some studies indicate that the consumption of a yogurt a day can reduce the incidence of this type of infections, since the lactobacilli present in the yeast easily colonize the region, avoiding the proliferation of the fungus.
11- Improves the appearance of the skin: It is an ally of the health of the skin, as it provides softness, regeneration, health and beauty.
Yogurt can be used for home beauty treatments for the skin. It contains lactic acid, which can help exfoliate the upper layers of the epidermis, lighten blemishes and discolorations, and even reduce wrinkles. It acts as a scrub for the skin, able to deeply clean the pores and eliminate dead cells.
12- Helps recover after exercise: With the right proportion of protein and carbohydrates, yogurt, especially high in proteins like Greek, is a good choice for ingesting after exercise. Proteins contain the amino acids that need the muscles to repair and the carbohydrates replace the stored energies.
13- Combat overweight and obesity: We must emphasize the low fat and calories that have low fat yogurts and so when we get hungry we can eat one quietly.
14 – Helps prevent cancer: Beneficial bacteria found in fermented milks can also reduce the risk of various types of cancer. Apparently, the regulation of the intestinal flora promoted by these bacteria and the stimulation they perform on the immune system would be the mechanisms that achieve the antitumor effect.
It is a great source of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, minerals that are very important for our bone system. The funny thing is that they are found in more quantity in yogurt than in milk. For every 100 g of yogurt we will get 180 mg of calcium, 240 mg of potassium, 17 mg of magnesium and only about 60-70 Kcal (kilocalories).
We talk about natural yogurt with whole milk.
More and more …
- Yogurt is an ideal food to take as breakfast as it helps the intestine to prepare to receive the later foods of the day. Although it can also be taken at any time of the day, either as a snack, snack or as after-dinner desserts
- Yogurt binds very well with sauces and in salads can be used as a substitute for oil
- Yogurt contains the same amount of potassium as a banana and the same amount of protein as an egg or 30 g of meat.