Yogurt, a healthy diet choice

September 27, 2008

My family is thumps up to butter milk and thumps down to curd alias yogurt.

I have always seen my mother sitting on the floor, churning out the butter and bottling some home-made butter milk. The butter would eventually go into ghee-making while the butter milk would go into a side dish or as Sambharam (a South Indian variant of North Indian Lassi) or I would gulp down a glass of it all by myself after my meals. I lost that lovely, healthy habit long ago once I got married and was busied into home making. Also, my husband hates yogurt unless it is embellished with some veggies as in a salad!

Some of the specialties in South India include the very tasty Dahi Wada and Thairusadam (Curd Rice). Both make extensive use of curd. Once I came to the USA, to my utmost amusement I came across flavored, sweetened yogurt with fruits. Well, to me it is a thick American version of sweet Lassi. I would see people carrying a cup of yogurt (perhaps as a quick breakfast or a snack) as they traveled to work in the train. What more to say, I get to see even ice cream with flavored yogurt in some supermarkets. It was then that writing a post on yogurt occurred to me.

Yogurt is a healthy choice to be taken daily as it contains protein, calcium, riboflavin, iodine and vitamin B 12. Yogurt is endorsed as a daily diet with at least one serving per day as it contains a lot more of calcium than milk and calcium plays a major role in bone building. Yogurt also contains phosphorus in good amounts which would help people with Osteoporosis. It also enhances immunity and increases your body’s natural defense. The active cultures in yogurt prevents the accumulation of harmful bacteria in the body. The bacteria in yogurt also help in the digestion of food.

Studies show that yogurt can ward off cold, prevent diarrhea, promote intestinal and vaginal health, provide relief from arthritis, prevent ulcers and also improve lactose intolerance. It fights yeast infections and balances the body’s yeast levels while also preventing urinary tract infections.

Yogurt works well for those who are intolerant to lactose or milk. If you cannot take milk because of reasons like acidity or IBS you may very well try yogurt so that you keep getting your bone builder, calcium.

Yogurt may also have some other health benefits like helping weight loss, lower blood pressure and lower the risk of some types of cancer. Skim yogurt or low fat yogurt are ideal for people with cholesterol as they do not increase your cholesterol level. If you consume 90 grams of yogurt twice a day it will also fight mouth odor.

Yogurt is a wonderful food for both infant and adults. No wonder why it is a part of their traditional diet in Greece!

Yogurt is a great diet for your skin as well. It serves to even out your complexion, to treat your sunburn and to brighten you up if applied with a pinch of turmeric. Thus the story of yogurt goes on forever.

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- Aparna K V

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