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Yogurt Health Benefits

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Table Of Contents

  • Yogurt
  • Some Uses Of Yogurt As Food
  • Brief History Of Yogurt
  • Nutrients In Yogurt
  • Commercial Yogurt Production
  • Varieties Of Yogurt
  • The Health Benefits Of Yogurt
  • Some Information About Greek Yogurt
  • Soy Yogurt
  • Some Of My Other Healthy Hubs
  • A Healthy Breakfast Recipe
  • Make Your Own Yogurt A Visual Guide
  • Videos


Dahi or Yoghurt

Dahi or Yoghurt


In India, yoghurt is called "dahi" or "curd".

In the west, the curd is coagulated milk solids, the coagulation being brought about by the addition of rennet or an acidic substance like vinegar or lime juice. However, this curdled milk solids is called paneer or cottage cheese in India.

Yoghurt quite simply is fermented milk in various consistencies from thin and runny to thick and firm. This depends on the fat content mainly, though environmental temperature and the procedure of making yoghurt at home could be a contributing factor.

This fermentation is brought about by bacteria. Therefore, yoghurt contains millions of live bacteria which are beneficial to the human digestive system.

The protein quality of yoghurt is the best. Yoghurt is more easily digestible than milk and suits those who suffer from lactose intolerance in any form.

Yoghurt is more acidic in nature, has a sour and tart taste and stays fresh longer than milk. It is eaten plain as it is or mixed with vegetables, fruits or other flavours.
Cow's milk is generally used for making yoghurt followed by buffalo's and goat's milk.

Yoghurt is available in no fat (0%), low-fat fat (2%) and whole milk (4%) varieties.

Yoghurt is a very versatile product and can be used alone or as an adjunct to any dish. Not only is it a healthy snack to kick start one's day it is a great help in curbing appetite.

Homemade Dahi/Yoghurt Recipe

Uses Of Yogurt

Yoghurt can be used in a variety of ways to increase its acceptability. Some ways in which yoghurt is used in India are:

Eaten in its simplest form as plain yoghurt with a dash of salt and ground black pepper added for flavour and taste. Sugar can be substituted for the salt and black pepper.

Yoghurt with added spices are is used to marinate meat and fish. Lassi - an Indian summer drink can be made by whisking together yoghurt, iced water and sugar. Sugar could be substituted by salt and powdered roasted cumin for those who prefer it salty.

Spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and a lot of many vegetables used singly and herbs like mint, etc can also be used to make various yoghurt preparations.

Fruits like strawberry, mango and the like are also mixed to make yummy yoghurts.

Shrikhand - a deliciously sweet yoghurt product is also made in India

These are just some uses of yoghurt.

Shrikhand Recipe

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History Of Yogurt

A few words about the history of yoghurt.

Yoghurt was accidentally discovered. When milk-producing animals, cows and goats, were first domesticated around 5000 BC, the collected milk was stored and carried in bags made of stomachs of these animals. On opening these bags milk was found to curdled due to the possible action of the bacteria lining these stomach bags.

In North America and Western Europe, yoghurt was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century.

Yoghurt with fruit came into existence around 1947. Yoghurt gained popularity in the 50s and 60s. Today it is available in a number of varieties.

Nutrients In Yogurt

Yogurt contains good amounts of calcium, potassium,phosphorus, iodine, zinc, molybdenum, vitamins B2, B6 & B12 and most importantly, the gut beneficial, live bacteria.

Commercial Yogurt production

Milk is warmed to an optimum temperature to kill the inherent harmful bacteria. and then cooled to a prior determined favourable temperature. A bacterial culture of lactobacillus and streptococcus species of bacteria are added to this milk. This milk is held for a particular period of time to allow the bacteria to ferment the lactose and convert it to lactic acid. This lactic acid has the property to coagulate the milk proteins due to which the entire milk sets into a product having thick and firm consistency. This is yoghurt.

Types Of Yogurt

Some of the types of yogurt which are available are:

  • Active Yogurt

The yoghurt of this variety contains several varieties of live bacteria. These are gut helpful bacteria and they promote a healthy digestive tract, boost the immunity levels and soften the effects of lactose intolerance.

  • Reduced-Fat Yogurt

This variety of yoghurt is available in various flavours and many different food products are mixed in the yoghurt.

  • Greek yoghurt

An entirely different process is used to make this type of yoghurt. It is creamier and heavier in taste and texture than the usual yoghurt. It is usually made of milk to which butterfat or milk powder has been added. After the yoghurt is ready it is strained through a muslin cloth to remove the watery part called whey. This leaves a product that is creamier and thicker.

  • Frozen yoghurt

It is a form of yoghurt dessert. It can contain live cultures of bacteria in an active form. Once the curd is consumed these bacteria get alive and kicking due to the internal body heat.

  • Mixed Yogurt

In this variety, fruits, nuts, oats, other solids and flavourings are mixed. These nuts or fruits etc are placed at the bottom of the container while the yoghurt is filled on top. This maintains the crunchiness of the dry fruit. In some brands, the cups of yoghurt are sold along with a separate package of the fruits and nuts, so that they can be mixed when one is about to consume the yoghurt.

This variety is also called Swiss-style, custard-style or blended yoghurt.

Punjabi Lassi - Yogurt Drink

Lassi, a yogurt drink from Punjab

Lassi, a yogurt drink from Punjab

Nutrients In Yogurt

Yoghurt contains energy, protein, carbohydrates, fats, several B complex vitamins especially B2 and B1 in high amounts. Some yoghurt may have high folate content depending on the type of lactic acid bacteria like S.thermophilus and Bifidobacteria.

Among the fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin A and E are present in yoghurt.

The energy content of yoghurt is dependent on whether whole milk, low-fat milk or skimmed milk has been used in the preparation of yoghurt.

The protein in yoghurt is of high quality and in an easily digestible form. Yoghurt has higher amounts of the amino acids proline and glycine compared to milk and these benefit by increasing the absorption of calcium and boosting immunity levels.

Though the carbohydrates in yoghurt in the form of lactose, fermentation convert about 20-30% of it into glucose and galactose. This makes yoghurt easier to digest and is beneficial for those who have difficulty digesting milk.

The fat content of yoghurt varies from 3% for whole fat milk to under 0.3% for non-fat milk. The fermentation process breaks down some fats thus increasing the digestibility and absorbability of yoghurt. Yoghurt also contains higher levels of CLA, the natural fat that boosts immunity and protects against cancer.

As far as the minerals are concerned, yoghurt is a rich source of calcium that is in a bioavailable form. Also, the acidity of the yoghurt increases the absorption of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium while it also reduces the effect of phytic acid which is known to reduce the absorption of minerals especially calcium.

Yoghurt also contains good amounts of minerals phosphorus and iodine. A 150 gm serving of whole milk plain yoghurt provides 68% of the daily adult requirement of iodine while the same amount of low-fat plain yoghurt provides 36% of an adult's daily requirement

These figures for a child of 6 years are 158% and 85% respectively for iodine. Yoghurt can thus be a valuable source of iodine.

Apart from this yoghurt also contains magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium and iron.

Spinach And Yogurt Stew

Punjabi Khatte Wala Saag | Spinach And Yogurt Stew

Punjabi Khatte Wala Saag | Spinach And Yogurt Stew

Yogurt Health Benefits

Yoghurt can be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant and therefore cannot consume milk. It ensures they derive all the benefits of milk and more.

  • Yoghurt ensures a healthy digestive system due to the lactic acid bacteria it contains. these bacteria ensure intestinal health leading to better absorption of nutrients and boosting the immune system.
  • The lactic acid helps in maximising calcium absorption.
  • It counteracts yeast infections and can be used as a douche effectively for vaginal itching.
  • It helps to increase hydrochloric acid production in HIV positive people. Hydrochloric acid is associated with digestion of food especially calcium and minerals. It also aids in better sleep and a feeling of well being.
  • Yoghurt regulates blood pressure and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising the HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • The live bacteria in yoghurt help in reducing colon cancer and inflammation of bowels.
  • Yoghurt may help in increasing the life span of individuals as the stronger immune system is less prone to diseases.
  • For growing girls, the calcium in yoghurt has been found to be especially beneficial as compared to taking calcium supplements. Higher whole-body bone density has been reported. Yoghurt also reduces the incidence of osteoporosis.
  • Yoghurt contains Lactobacillus bacteria which is a probiotic that offers preventive and healing benefits in arthritis.
  • Yoghurt suppresses the bacterium Helicobacter pylori which is responsible for stomach ulcers thus reducing the incidence of ulcers.
  • Full fat yoghurt has been found to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer.
  • Eating yoghurt twice a day reduces bad breath, dental plaque and cavities.
  • It is an excellent post-exercise snack providing quick energy and protein for muscle repair.
  • Yoghurt keeps colds at bay.
  • A facial mask of yoghurt, almonds and honey is a good skin soother and makes the skin glow.
  • Yoghurt helps to remove dandruff and itchy skin. Apply some curd on the head and hair and massage for a couple of minutes. Wrap a towel around. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash with cool water. It makes the hair soft and silky and stops hair fall.
  • To relieve indigestion, add roasted ground cumin, a little ground black pepper and salt to taste in yoghurt and eat.
  • If you suffer from migraine, eat yoghurt with rice before sunrise. It gives relief.
  • In bleeding piles, keep consuming just yoghurt till the bleeding stops. It works like magic.
  • It is the most complete food for infants next only to milk. In Bulgaria, children who do not have access to mother's milk are weaned on yoghurt.
  • Yoghurt benefits in kidney diseases also.
  • In swelling, pain and burning due to boils, use hung yoghurt by applying it on the affected area and bandaging it. Hung yoghurt is yoghurt from which whey has been removed by tying it in a muslin cloth or cheesecloth for a few hours till the whey drips off.
  • If you have difficulty sleeping, add ground pepper, aniseed powder and some sugar to yoghurt and consume at bedtime.
  • Yoghurt eating removes the intoxicating effects of opium.
  • To relieve body odour apply and massage a paste of black gram flour made in yoghurt.

Adding sugar or honey to yoghurt before consuming increases the beneficial effects of yoghurt. These are just some yoghurt health benefits.

Greek Yogurt Breakfast Recipe

Health Benefits Of Greek Yogurt

Greek yoghurt is nothing but strained yoghurt which is yoghurt that is hung in a muslin cloth to remove the whey. The following are some health benefits of greek yoghurt.

It is great for those wanting to reduce weight. A cup has only 130 calories while it is devoid of fat and cholesterol. It contains very less amount of sodium but good amounts of carbohydrates for a quick shot of energy. It contains a good amount of protein and is lower in sugar than most other types yoghurts.

It is a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, Vitamins B1, B2 and B12.

Soy Yogurt