Yoghurt is a dairy product produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. These bacteria are called yoghurt cultures. It gets its texture and characteristic tart flavour due to lactic acid production.
Cow’s milk is the most widely utilised milk in the production of yoghurt. However, people also use buffalo, goats, ewes, mares, camels, yaks, and plant milk. It can be homogenised and pasteurised, or it can be raw.
The first account of yoghurt making goes back when farming began in the 10,000 and 5,000 BCE in the Neolithic period. History finds its roots in Mesopotamia.
It is an ancient food indeed! It made its way through centuries and came into commercial manufacturing in the 20th century for the first time in France.It is still used in pharmacies and a variety of diets around the world. This is mostly due to the numerous health advantages of yoghurt. It is a very nutritious item to ingest. This article provides you with all of the information you want about yoghurt.
Types of Yoghurt
There are several varieties of yoghurt, which are as follows:
1. Low Fat or Non-Fat
Low-Fat yoghurt is also known as reduced-fat yoghurt. That is because it is made with 2% milk. It contains 0% fat or skimmed milk. Non-fat yoghurts have fewer calories as compared to low-fat yoghurts.
It is a liquid yoghurt that people use for drinking, and you can easily make it at home. Just add some kefir grains to milk and leave it for 12 to 24 hours. These grains are not cereals; they are yeast and lactic acid bacteria. People use cow’s milk or goat’s milk to produce Kefir.
3. Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is thick and creamy. People usually use it in the Mediterranean style of cooking. It has high proteins but lower calcium content. The only addition in comparison to a regular yoghurt is the straining step that follows.
Skyr (pronounced as ‘skeer’) is dense and creamy Icelandic-style yoghurt. It contains 2 to 3 times more protein than regular yoghurt. In addition, it has the consistency of strained yoghurt and a somewhat sour aftertaste.
5. Frozen Yoghurt
Frozen yoghurts are considered a healthy alternative to ice cream. However, some have the same or more amounts of sugar than ice cream. It has sugar-free and fat-free options. Some manufacturers offer a multitude of toppings, whereas others focus on making it more like ice cream.
6. Non-Dairy Yoghurt
These include soy yoghurt and coconut milk yoghurt. Non-dairy yoghurts have active cultures, which are probiotics or beneficial gut bacteria. Traditionally, people make it using cow’s milk. However, the vegan versions use non dairy plant sources.
Nutritional Properties of Yoghurt
The nutrient value of 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of plain whole-milk yoghurt is:
Calories- 61 kcal
Protein- 3.5 g
Carbs- 4.7 g
Sugar- 4.7 g
Fibre- 0 g
Fat- 3.3 g
Yoghurt is healthier than milk because of its nutritional status.
Health Benefits of Yoghurt
Here are the top ten health benefits you get from yoghurt.
1. Weight Management
Yoghurt is a protein-rich source and improves your metabolism. In addition, it helps burn more calories throughout the day. The proteins make you feel full and keep you satiated for a long time. As a result, it enables you to limit your calorie intake and thus, enhance the weight loss process.
According to research, consuming yoghurt may help maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) and prevent weight gain. In addition, it also assists in lowering body fat as it improves metabolism and keeps you feeling satiated for long. Hence, everyone can consume it to manage their weight.
2. Improves Digestive Health
There are a variety of reasons why your gut health is important. It aids in the utilisation of the nutrients obtained from your diet by your body. However, if you fail to manage your digestive health, you may experience symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and indigestion.
Some types of yoghurts contain probiotics. These probiotics help boost digestive health by preventing gastrointestinal disorders, including bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. Additionally, research indicates that mixing yoghurt with fruits doubles the nutrient value of the fruits and yoghurt.
3. Strengthens Your Immune System
A healthy immune system produces adequate white blood cells, other chemicals, and proteins to attack foreign substances. Yoghurt is an excellent source of vitamins and proteins. Additionally, it contains lactobacillus. As a result, yoghurt helps your body fight disease-causing microorganisms and improves your immune system.
As per the study, if you aim to boost your immunity, you should have low-fat or fat-free yoghurt. Moreover, it should be without extra saturated fat.
4. Yoghurt Protects Against Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that reduces bone strength and increases the risk of bone fractures. It is a common health problem that occurs predominantly in older adults. The symptoms are back pain, loss of height, and a stooped posture.
The calcium in yoghurt helps improve bone health. Calcium plays a vital role in developing, strengthening and maintaining bone structure. Several studies show that increasing yoghurt consumption improves bone health and reduces the symptoms of osteoporosis. For example, a study reveals that yoghurt intake in women helped lower the risk of osteoporosis by 39%.
5. Improves Heart Health
Yoghurt is specifically suitable for heart health. It enhances blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It contains saturated fat with a small amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, it promotes healthy weight management, which is helpful to heart health.
A recent study proves that hypertensive people who consume two servings of yoghurt are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.
6. Reduce Cancer Risk
Yoghurt has anti-carcinogenic properties which inhibit the development of cancer. It is true in the case of colon, bladder, and breast cancer. It also treats lung cancer with the help of metabolites produced by bacteria which suppress inflammation in the lungs.
According to research, consuming yoghurt may lessen the incidence of lung cancer in those with known risk factors and in people who have never smoked. In addition, findings also suggest a potential protective role of prebiotics and probiotics against lung carcinogenesis. The same research also indicates eating fibre reduces the chance of developing lung cancer by 17%.
7. Yoghurt Alleviates Depression
According to a study, yoghurt contains Lactobacillus, a bacterium that is beneficial to health. These bacteria change the character of the biome in the body. They also help relieve anxiety and stress by reducing insula activity. The insula is the region of the brain which is responsible for your emotions.
Exercise and yoghurt consumption together increases serotonin levels in your body. It helps alleviate depression. A mix of yoghurt and fermented foods can also help to improve your health.
8. Faster Workout Recovery
Out of all the varieties of yoghurt available, Greek yoghurt is the best for faster workout recovery. It is an excellent post-workout snack because of the perfect ratio between protein and carbohydrate.
Have a bowl of Greek yoghurt within 60 minutes of your exercise to regain your strength. It works by releasing amino acids to help repair muscles.
9. Yoghurt Prevents Yeast Infections
If you have an itching sensation in the intimate areas, you may be suffering from a yeast infection. Other symptoms are a burning sensation during intercourse or urinating and redness and swelling of the vulva.
Cold yoghurt restores a healthy balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. It helps with infections like Lactobacillus, which releases hydrogen peroxide. In addition, it kills Candida, the fungus behind the infection.
You may also suffer from yeast infections in places such as the mouth, throat, and gut. Yoghurt helps fight these infections. Therefore, it is suitable for almost all forms of yeast infections.
10. Benefits Your Skin
Yoghurt is rich in zinc and has anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, probiotics restore your skin’s natural barrier.
Yoghurt has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to prevent acne breakout. Furthermore, yoghurt is an excellent beauty ingredient for face packs. It contains lactic acid that acts as an exfoliator. In addition, it wards off dead cells and blemishes.
As per research, home treatments with yoghurt successfully improve skin’s moisture, brightness, and elasticity.
To learn how to get the most out of yoghurt, you’ll need to find out how you can use it.
Ways to Use Yoghurt
Try these methods with yoghurts to make your meals enjoyable.
Use it as a dip for crunchy vegetables.
Yoghurt with fruits can satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sprinkle it with nuts or seeds for added flavour.
Make a healthy sweet by drizzling honey.
Enhance its flavour with cinnamon, vanilla, or your favourite extract.
Prepare creamy desserts with vanilla, coconut, or coffee-flavoured yoghurt.
Ensure creamier consistency by making a healthy smoothie.
You can create a yoghurt parfait by layering flavoured yoghurts.
Let’s take a look at some of the healthy recipes with yoghurt.
1. Cinnamon Apple Yoghurt Bowl
Preparation time- 15 minutes
Number of servings- 1
Peeled, seeded, and diced apple- ½
Maple syrup- 1 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1/8 tsp
Nutmeg- A pinch
Chopped walnuts- 2 tbsp
Water- 1/8 cup
Yoghurt- ½ bowl
Mix the apple, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a container.
Fill it with 1/8 cup of water.
Cook it on a low flame until soft.
After cooking it for 10-12 minutes, let it cool down.
Use this topping on your yoghurt.
Add some chopped walnuts.
Your bowl is ready to energise you!
2. Strawberry- Chocolate Greek Yoghurt Bark
Preparation time- 10 minutes
Freezing time – 3 hours
Number of servings- 32
Whole- milk plain Greek yoghurt- 3 cups
Pure maple syrup or honey- ¼ cup
Vanilla extract- 1 teaspoon
Sliced strawberries- 1-1/2 cups
Mini chocolate chips- ¼ cup
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take a medium-sized bowl and stir some yoghurt, maple syrup, or honey and vanilla.
Spread it onto a baking sheet into a 10-15 inch rectangle.
Add strawberries and sprinkle ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips.
Freeze it for approximately 3 hours.
Cut or break it into 32 pieces.
3. Homemade Plain Greek Yoghurt
Preparation time- 18 hours
Number of servings- 2
Nonfat or low-fat milk- 4 cups
Nonfat or low-fat plain yoghurt- ¼ cup
Heat milk in a container on a medium-high flame.
Keep stirring it frequently until it starts steaming and is barely bubbling.
Register 180 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Pour the milk into a clean container.
Stir it and keep checking the temperature until it is 110 degrees F.
Cover the container with a cloth to let it stay warm.
Place it undisturbed for at least 8-12 hours.
When it thickens and becomes tangy, refrigerate it for approximately 2 hours.
Arrange two layers of cheesecloth and place them over a large bowl.
Spoon the cooled yoghurt into the cheesecloth.
Let it stay covered and refrigerate it for 8 to 24 hours.
Take it out depending on how thick you want it.
Your homemade plain Greek yoghurt is ready after a lot of hard work and patience.
Yoghurt: Precautions and Probable Side-Effects
You need to take care of the below-stated precautions while consuming yoghurt.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Yoghurt is likely safe for pregnant ladies and ladies who are breastfeeding. But you should only consume it in the prescribed amounts. Do not exceed consumption limits. In addition, since there is a lack of scientific study on using it in your intimate area when breastfeeding. Hence, restrain from its application.
Don’t overconsume if You Have a Weak Immune System.
Whether live bacteria multiply or not is an issue that remains debated. However, it negatively affects people with weak immune systems, or people battling HIV/AIDS or organ transplant recipients. If your immune system is weak, do not over consume yoghurt. You should also take professional advice on the same.
Children with mild milk allergies can have yoghurt. However, note that anyone with a milk allergy might also be allergic to yoghurt. So, if you are allergic to milk, it is essential to consult your doctor before consuming yoghurt.
There have been several cases where people consuming yoghurt with disease-causing microorganisms encountered some health issues. So be careful and ensure you consume better quality yoghurt. In addition, ensure that the yoghurt you buy is prepared and stored with proper hygiene.
Children over the age of nine can have 3 cups of dairy per day. Now, each cup of yoghurt is equal to one cup of dairy. That means you can consume up to three cups of yoghurt in a day. There should be 0.5 to 2% fat in low-fat yoghurt. Similarly, milk solids should be no less than 8.25%. Hence, take a look at the label before buying any yoghurt.
Throughout history, yoghurt has been passed down from generation to generation. It contains a plethora of health advantages that are beneficial to your physical, mental, and even emotional well-being. There are several types of yoghurt available in the market. You can have it homemade too. So, choose your yoghurt according to your bodily needs. You should be aware of the precautions and side effects so that it does not turn to your disadvantage. Simply eating healthy will allow you to see significant improvements in your life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of yoghurt?
A. Yoghurt has several health benefits. For example, it helps promote weight loss, benefits your digestive health, and strengthens your immune system.
Q. Is yoghurt better than milk?
A. Yes, yoghurt is more nutritious than milk. That is because the fermentation process makes it easier to digest and helps absorb more nutrients.
Q. Why is yoghurt bad for you?
A. Many types of yoghurts are high in sugar, especially those labelled low in fat. Therefore, it may cause health problems like diabetes and obesity. However, if you consume better quality yoghurt, it will benefit you in so many ways. So, choose wisely.
Q. Is it ok to eat yoghurt every day?
A. Yes, it is ok to eat yoghurt every day. It is rich in nutrients and may boost your health. However, moderation is the key.
Q. Is yoghurt good for losing weight?
A. Yes, yoghurt is good for losing weight because it improves your metabolism and burns more calories.
Q. What is the best time to eat yoghurt?
A. The best time to eat yoghurt is in the morning during breakfast. The nutritional content is enough to feed and energise the body in the morning. In addition, it also helps maintain digestive health
Q. Can I eat yoghurt at night?
A. Yoghurt can impair digestion. So, if you have a weak digestive system, eat at night. However, the best time to eat yoghurt is during the morning.
Q. Which yoghurt is good for men?
A. All forms of yoghurt are healthy for men. However, several studies suggest that Greek yoghurt is the best. It also depends on individual body types.
Q. What does yoghurt do for a woman’s body?
A. Yoghurt removes yeast infections if applied to the intimate area. It also prevents osteoporosis as you age.
Q. How often should a woman eat yoghurt?
A. A woman should eat three-cup equivalents of dairy per day. Any adult or child above nine years of age should limit their consumption to three cups of yoghurt in a day.