Millions of live organisms are eaten by millions of people every day, when they open a container of yogurt. Yogurt is indeed full of bacteria. The live and active cultures that you can read about on the label. Research tells us that these “friendly” bacteria can strengthen the immune system and help ulcers heal more quickly. Scientists have also found that yogurt may promote a longer life. |
And all that good bacteria may keep us more comfortable, day in, day out, as well. The bacteria may also help prevent recurrent yeast infections. And even if you took the bacteria out of yogurt, it would still be a great source of calcium, better in fact than a serving of low-fat milk.
Yeast Infection People who had a yeast infection never want to have another one. Eating more yogurt may help prevent them from occurring ( provided it's sugar free or plain) says Dr. Hilton. Yeast infection occur when a fungus that normally lives in the vagina suddenly multiplies, causing itching, burning,and other uncomfortable symptoms. A study at Long Island Jewish Medical Center suggests that eating live culture yogurt containing bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus, may help keep the fungus under control by keeping the vagina's natural bacterial environment in balance, making it harder for the yeast fungus to thrive.
It's important, however, to eat yogurt that contains live cultures, Dr. Hilton adds. Yogurt that has been heat treated doesn't contain bacteria and probably won't be effective. Read the label to find out if your brand has been heat treated.
Strengthen Immune System The same bacteria in yogurt that help prevent yeast infections can also strengthen your Immune System. In a laboratory study conducted by researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Dairy Research, animals given yogurt had much lower levels of salmonella bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning, than animals given milk. In addition, the bacteria that did survive had little impact on the animals given yogurt, while those given milk got much sicker.
It's not entirely clear why yogurt helped protect the animals from disease. Apart from it's effect on the Immunity, researchers speculate that the high calcium content in yogurt may create an environment in which the bacteria can't survive.
Relief from Ulcers The usual treatment against ulcers caused by bacteria is to give large doses of antibiotics.But there is plenty of evidence that eating lots of live-culture yogurt can cause ulcer forming bacteria under control. What's more, yogurt contains a natural sugar called lactose, which breaks down into lactic acid during digestion. he lactic acid helps restore a healthful environment in the intestine.
Even if you have already an ulcer and are taking medication, eating yogurt will make the treatment more effective. The organisms that are in many yogurts tend to act like antibiotics in the stomach.
Good for Your Heart Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago studied the eating habits and health of 5,996 women and men and found that levels of homocysteine - a compound in the blood that has been linked with heart attacks - were 6.4 times lower for people who ate yogurt more than 15 times a month than for people who didn't eat yogurt.
ogurt packed with live cultures may also rebalance your cholesterol. A small study of 17 women from the University of Austria in Vienna found that eating 36 ounces of yogurt a day for four weeks raised good high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ( HDL) significantly, while lowering bad low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) at the same time.
Rich source of Calcium Although the large amounts of calcium in low-fat milk makes it one of the best foods for your health, many people can't drink a lot of it. In fact, doctors estimate that more than 30 million Americans don't have enough of the enzyme (lactase) needed to digest the sugar (lactose) in milk.
Yogurt however, is a easy to digest alternative. Even though yogurt contain lactose, the live bacteria help the body break it down, so it's less likely to cause discomfort, says Barbara Dixon, R.D.,a nutritionist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and author of "Good health for African Americans". And when it comes to calcium, yogurt is a super source. One cup of plain low-fat yogurt provides 414 milligrams, or more than 40% of the Daily Value (D.V.) Compared with low-fat milk, with just 300 milligram per serving.
In addition, yogurt contains a special protein called lactoferrin, that helps the body build and maintain bone. It promote the growth of cells inside the bones called osteoblasts and also keep them alive 50% to 70% longer, according to studies.
To get the most out of yogurt you have to look at the "sell by" date and choose the latest dated you can find. Store the yogurt unopened in the refrigerator. Yogurt with live cultures should keep for about 10 days past the "sell by" date.
Since the bacteria in yogurt can't withstand high heat, it's best to eat your yogurt cold. When you do use yogurt for cooking - for example when making a sauce, add it at the end, when the dish is finished cooking and has been removed from the heat.
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