Medicinal value of yoghurt

Yoghurt or curd is made from milk and live cultures of bacteria. This is what makes it healthy. The human body also has bacteria, in the digestive tract, the mouth, the vagina etcetera, and most of it is healthy bacteria needed by the body. Adding yoghurt, which is a source of good bacteria to the diet can prevent the bad bacteria from attacking the body. The many medicinal benefits of yoghurt are explained here.

Our normal reaction to the word 'bacteria' is one of repulsion. But, are you aware that the there are millions of bacteria living inside us. There are approximately 500 types of bacteria inhabiting our digestive tract. Surprised? The good news is that most of these bacteria are useful. They assist with a number of bodily functions, such as improving immunity, assisting with digestion of lactose (the sugars present in milk), helping with the assimilation of nutrients in the body and largely supporting our digestive health. However, sometimes the bad bacteria invade our body and create health concerns. That is why it is good to incorporate yoghurt (curd) into your diet, as it contains healthy bacteria.

Yoghurt (curd) is good for you

Yoghurt contains bacteria. A small bowl of yoghurt can have millions of live bacteria. Most of the bacteria present in yoghurt are good and possess exceptional medicinal properties. Yoghurt is prepared by adding a live culture of bacteria, known as 'active bacteria' to warm milk. The bacteria ingest the sugars present in the milk and secrete lactic acid, which curdles the milk, to form yoghurt. Any yoghurt that contains live bacteria is packed with a multitude of health benefits.

The organisms present in yoghurt are called probiotics. The main probiotics in yoghurt are -
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophiles

These organisms defend the body against the dangerous bacteria, by consuming the resources that the harmful bacteria would require to flourish. Some of the organisms present in yoghurt also excrete acids that destroy the bad bacteria and germs that can cause health problems.

There are plenty of healthy bacteria in the large intestine of healthy individuals. However, in the case of illness that requires the intake of antibiotics, the good bacteria gets destroyed along with the bad guys. This can result in stomach cramps, diarrhoea, flatulence, reduced efficiency in nutrient absorption and fungal infections.

The good thing is that consumption of yoghurt can reduce the symptoms related to antibiotics. There has been a lot of research on the effect of yoghurt on the body, and all results have been encouraging. It's been established that yoghurt can lessen diarrhoea in infants and suppress symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. There is also evidence that yoghurt when combined with a high-fibre diet, can avert the serious medical condition of diverticulosis.

Yoghurt's miraculous medicinal properties

Yoghurt is a nourishing food and a valuable source of vitamins and minerals. It can halt the growth of dangerous microorganisms in the body. Here are some of the health benefits attributed to yoghurt –

Builds strong bones

People with lactose intolerance are forced to give up milk because their body does not have the enzyme required for digesting the lactose, present in the milk. Such individuals miss out on the 'bone strengthening' properties of milk. Consuming yoghurt can resolve the 'lactose intolerant' issue, as the microorganisms present in the live culture, digest the lactose, outside the body, turning it lactose-free. Individuals with lactose intolerance generally do not indicate any of the symptoms associated with the condition, when they eat yoghurt.

The processes involved in the making of yoghurt naturally increase the calcium quotient in the yoghurt, making it better for bones, than plain milk.

Fights athlete's foot

Athlete's foot is a fungal disease, caused by a fungus. Unflavored yoghurt comprising of live acidophilus bacteria provides immediate relief from the condition. The acidophilus bacteria present in yoghurt are good microbes that can effectively keep the fungus in check. The treatment requires an application of yoghurt on the affected region. The yoghurt is then left to dry and rinsed off, in plain water. The friendly bacteria destroy the offending fungus and cure the problem.

Prevents cold sores

Cold sores are generally activated by the herpes simplex type 1 virus and trigger the onset of nasty blisters that ooze and take over a week to disappear. Studies indicate that acidophilus bacteria present in yoghurt can hamper the virus from becoming active. Eating yoghurt can keep the virus dormant for prolonged periods.

Gets rid of dandruff

Dandruff might not be a serious health condition, but it is definitely unsightly. There are different reasons attributed to dandruff, including the shedding of dead skin cells. However, there are also suggestions that it is can also be caused by the excessive presence of pityrosporum orbiculare, which is a yeast that feeds on oily skin cells. Slathering yoghurt to the scalp can kill the yeast and cure dandruff.

Strengthens immunity

A healthy immune system promotes good health. It is the immune system that is the body's first defence against illness-causing microorganisms. For improving the immune system, copious amounts of yoghurt is recommended. Doing so multiplies healthy flora in the gut and it can ward off bacterial attacks on the body. Studies reveal that eating about a cup of yoghurt can increase the production of the protein gamma interferon, formed by the white blood cells in the body. This protein is what destroys disease-causing microbes.

Combats cancer

Yoghurt is not a cure for cancer, but it is definitely capable of averting relapses, especially in patients who have had bladder cancer. The acidophilus present in yoghurt is a potent healer, it stops cancer-related tumours from recurring, in these patients.

Stops diarrhoea

Milk products are best avoided when one has diarrhoea, with the exception of yoghurt. Yoghurt is gut friendly because it contains bifidobacterium and lactobacillus acidophilus, both good bacteria. Eating yoghurt improves the levels of healthy bacteria in the intestines, which helps control diarrhoea and the quick recovery from it.

Irritable bowel syndrome commonly referred to as IBS causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhoea and fever, and is serious enough to upset routines. Diarrhoea caused by IBS can also be treated by eating yoghurt with live bacteria.

Flatulence and bloating are also contained by yoghurt as it improves the flora in the intestine and regulates digestion.

Healing ulcers

Ulcers are painful, whether they are in the mouth or peptic ulcers. The best way to heal ulcers in the mouth is by eating a cup of yoghurt, three to four times a day until the problem ceases. Holding the yoghurt in the mouth before swallowing it is more beneficial than spooning it down quickly.

Peptic ulcers can also be prevented by the consumption of yoghurt. The bacteria in yoghurt inhibits the growth of H. pylori bacteria. Eating lots of plain yoghurts, especially when you are under medication to kill viruses and bacteria can help maintain the healthy bacteria in the intestines. Medication such as antibiotics cannot differentiate between healthy and unhealthy bacteria and end up killing the good bacteria too while targeting the bad, disease-causing bacteria.

Recovery from food-poisoning

Eating yoghurt with active bacteria helps in the restoration of microorganisms in the intestine that get wiped out during a bout of food-poisoning. This makes the healing and recovery a lot quicker.

Yoghurt and women's issue

Women are prone to infections of the bladder and the urinary tract. Additionally, they can also develop a fungal infection in the vaginal region. The beneficial bacteria present in curd can protect women from these infections.

Women who suffer from frequent infections of the bladder and/or the urinary tract can relieve themselves of the problem by eating yoghurt with every meal, or three times a day. Combine yoghurt with cheese, for quicker and better results.

Women suffering from a fungal infection in the vagina (thrush) can deter the growth of the fungus by consuming yoghurt regularly. The yeast, Candida Albicans is generally present in every healthy woman's vagina, along with other microorganisms. The latter prevent the former from multiplying and turning into a vile problem that causes severe itching and burning in the region. The incidence of these problems reduces considerably, in women who eat yoghurt.

Yoghurt and skin

Yoghurt has some exceptional healing properties. As illustrated above its consumption of heal a number of medical conditions. Yoghurt can be used topically as well to combat sunburn and suntan. Applied regularly to clean skin, it helps fade dark spots and smoothens and moisturises the skin.

Nutritional values of yoghurt

A good source of calcium and phosphorous, yoghurt also provides healthy amounts of vitamin A and many of the B vitamins, as well as zinc. Yoghurt has fewer calories than milk. A cup of yoghurt made from whole milk has approximately 140 calories as opposed to a cup of whole milk, which has 150 calories. A cup of yoghurt contains roughly 415 mg of calcium and 530 mg of phosphorous. It has around 2 mg of zinc, 25 mg of cholesterol and a bit of riboflavin, cobalamin and folate.


Author: Mallela Jyothi15 Mar 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

That was really an informative source about yoghurt. Yoghurt is a common food that people consume regularly. However, most of them may really not know these amazing benefits of it. This was really helpful and interesting to know many benefits of this simple and common food (yoghurt).

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