Numerous Health Benefits of Natural Yogurt
Natural yogurt is a fermented yogurt free from the processed sugars or sweeteners so commonly found in regular yogurt. A delicious cooling food that contains numerous health benefits, natural yogurt is regularly served with desserts (including fruit desserts) and in East Asian drinks such as lassi. Compared with other health foods, natural yogurt is easily found in supermarkets and multinational chains, and often stands alongside its regular counterparts on the shelves.
Note: It is important to remember, however, that ‘natural’ is not synonymous with ‘organic’ in the food industry; although a yogurt labeled ‘organic’ is likely to be natural, a yogurt labeled ‘natural’ is not necessarily organic. Read our article entitled ‘Natural and Organic Food‘ to learn more about the differences between the two terms.
Natural Yogurt’s Health Benefits
Eating natural yogurt on a regular basis brings a large number of health benefits. Such benefits include the following:
– Like most natural dairy products, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, an important mineral for bone and tooth health. Indeed, an eight ounce serving of natural yogurt provides between 30-40% of an adult’s RDA of calcium.
– According to a recent study, people who consumed 2 cups of live, natural yogurt daily for 3 months produced greater levels of the immunity-boosting protein interferon. Furthermore, the cultures of bacteria in yogurt stimulates white cells in the bloodstream, which help to fight infections.
– Yogurt is a lot easier to digest than milk because its lactose levels are much lower. This is excellent news for people with lactose intolerance or for those who simply cannot tolerant milk, since it is an alternative way to receive dairy-sourced calcium.
– Natural yogurt is extremely important for colon health, since its lactobacteria cultures promote the growth of beneficial bacteria within it and discourage the conversion of bile (a digestive juice secreted by the liver) into bile acids, which is carcinogenic. Moreover, since yogurt is a natural laxative than can soften stools, natural yogurt also improves the health of the colon by curing constipation.
– Yogurt is a good source of protein. In fact, eight ounces of natural yogurt provides an adult with 20% of his RDA of protein. Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of muscles as well as the creation of antibodies.
– Finally, because natural yogurt contains live cultures that can both assimilate cholesterol and bind bile acid, consuming it can drastically help lower our cholesterol levels.
Natural Yogurt in the Kitchen
Since the cooking process kills the live cultures present in natural yogurt, yogurt is best eaten raw when possible, or served with fruit. That said, it is still a worthy addition to numerous exotic meals. For example, its acidic content lends it well to marinades. It can also be used to thicken sauces or curries, to tenderize baked goods, as a complement to baking soda (since baking soda requires an acidic counterpart to improve its leavening effect), or used in smoothies and drinks to help improve their taste and ease of digestion.