The Health Benefits Of Yogurt

Eating yogurt everday is very healthy for the body. For those looking to supplement their protein, calcium and dairy, yogart is a healthy choice.

Yogurt is not just a delicious snack with fruits on the bottom, it has great health benefits. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B 12. When yogurt is compared to milk, yogurt contains more calcium and protein because of the added cultures in the yogurt.

Yogurt must contain active and living cultures to be yogurt. Cultures are composed of unique living microorganisms which are responsible for many of the health and nutritional benefits of yogurt. Some of the health benefits of yogurt are"

It improves natural defense, it contains a good amount of phosphorus and 88% water. People with a risk of osteoporosis should eat at least one serving of yogurt per day.

It has also been claimed that yogurt may protect against some types of cancer but more investigations have to be carried out.

There are three types of yogurt: regular(whole milk), low-fat and skim. Low-fat and skim yogurt are good for people who are on a cholesterol lowering diet or just simply watching their weights. These types of yogurt does not raise blood cholesterol levels.

Some people have trouble digesting lactose, a carbohydrate in milk and milk products, because of the deficiency of enzyme lactase in the body. Live yogurt cultures produce lactase and break down the lactose. Yogurt is a healthy way to get the calcium the body needs, for the people who can not tolerate milk products.

Other benefits of live and active cultures in the yogurt are, they may help to boost the immune system. They encourage the right kind of bacteria to multiply in the gut. These bacteria help to digest food and prevent stomach infections. Also, they help to provide relief from vaginal infections.

Yogurt is fresh dairy product that must be stored in the refrigerator. The heat treated yogurt has a longer shelf life but it does not give the nutritional benefits like the yogurt with live cultures because heat processing destroys the cultures. To get the most health benefit from yogurt, there must be a live and active cultures seal on the label.

Yogurt is known and consumed in almost all parts of the world. Mediterranean Countries use a lot of yogurt in their cuisine. They usually eat yogurt, plain with no sugar along with main dishes like stuffed cabbage and spinach. They add yogurt to their salads or use it to make traditional "meze" They also prepare yogurt drinks made with plain yogurt, salt and water and serve it with shish kebabs. Fried vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini are eaten with yogurt. Cucumber and yogurt salad is very popular among the Mediterranean countries, it is prepared with yogurt, cucumbers, fresh or dried mint, garlic and salt.

To add more yogurt to everyday diet, here are some healthier alternatives and tips:

- Replace mayonnaise and salad dressings with yogurt

- Replace ice cream and milkshake with frozen yogurt and mixed fruit yogurt smoothie

- Make dips with yogurt instead of sour-cream

- Try using yogurt cheese instead of cream cheese

- Use to marinate meat and poultry

- Yogurt can also be stove cooked, but it will curdle if heated to too high a temperature or boiled. Adding a tablespoon of cornstarch into each cup of yogurt before cooking it, can prevent this problem.

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