Nutritional Benefits Of Yogurt

Yogurt is excellent for preventing yeast infection, strengthening your immune system and relieving ulcers.

Yogurt has been the staple of diets everywhere. Popularized in the 70's, few people actually know what's in this creamy concoction. If they knew they were eating millions of live organisms, perhaps they would think twice. Of course, they shouldn't. Yogurt has many nutritional benefits that actually come from the millions of organisms, namely live and active bacteria cultures. These "friendly" bacteria are beneficial to the body in many ways. In addition, yogurt is a huge source of calcium, 40 percent of the daily value (DV) In fact, yogurt is considered a better source of calcium than a glass of milk, due to the fact that more than 30 million Americans don't have enough of the enzyme (lactase) needed to properly digest the sugar or lactose in milk. The bacteria in yogurt helps break down the lactose before it enters your body, thus making it easier to digest and less likely to cause pain. (lactose intolerance)

Yeast infections can also be helped by the bacteria in yogurt. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus that lives in the vagina suddenly multiplying, causing itching, burning, and other uncomfortable conditions. Consuming yogurt seems to keep the healthy balance of natural bacteria found in the vagina, not allowing the fungus to thrive. Dr Eileen Hilton,MD an infectious disease specialist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York recommends eating a cup of yogurt everyday can actually help prevent them from occuring. A study conducted at Jewish Medical Center backs these recommendations, showing that women who frequently had yeast infections dropped their rate of infection significantly by adding a cup of yogurt each day.

It has also been shown that this same bacteria can strengthen the immune system. A study authored by Georges Halpern MD PhD, professor emeritus in the department of internal medicine at the University of California, discovered that people who 2 cups of yogurt a day for 4 months increased the level of gamma interferon which is a protein that helps the white blood cells fight off disease. Gamma interferon is one of the best defenses the body has against viruses. Studies have also shown that yogurt can help fight against bacterial infections as well, namely slamonella or food poisoning.

Above and beyond these benefits, yogurt maybe helpful in the battle against ulcers. Ulcers are now known to be caused by bacteria living in the stomach, which is usually treated with large doses of antibiotics. However, some evidence shows that eating lots of live active culture yogurt keeps ulcer-causing bacteria under control. When yogurt is consumed, the beneficial bacteria take up residence in the digestive tract and begin to compete with the harmful ulcer causing bacteria. It also helps other lactose product break down properly, thus restoring a more healthy enviroment in the intestines.

When buying yogurt, be sure to purchase yogurt with live and active cultures. Also check the label for the freshest yogurt. The closer you are to the "sell by" date the less beneficial bacteria will be found in your yogurt. Health food stores would probably have the freshest yogurt, as they sell more than a retail chain. And finally, be sure to keep and consume your yogurt cold. The helpful bacteria in yogurt cannot withstand high heat.

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