Yoghurt is a staple food of many traditional cultures around the world and is and is an excellent probiotic food. Discover some of the incredible and numerous health benefits of yoghurt and avoid the additives found in so many commercial brands of yoghurt and learn how easy it is to make your own with these 2 delicious recipes.
Top 8 Reasons That Yoghurt Is a Health Food
1. Yoghurt is easier to digest than milk.
Many people who cannot tolerate milk, either because of a protein allergy or lactose intolerance, can enjoy yoghurt. The culturing process makes yoghurt more digestible than milk. The live active cultures create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack, and another enzyme contained in some yoghurts (beta-galactosidase) also helps improve lactose absorption in lactase-deficient persons. Bacterial enzymes created by the culturing process, partially digest the milk protein casein, making it easier to absorb and less allergenic.
2. Yoghurt contributes to colon health.
There's a medical truism that states: "You're only as healthy as your colon." When eating yoghurt, you care for your colon in two ways. First, yoghurt contains lactobacteria, intestines-friendly bacterial cultures that foster a healthy colon, and even lower the risk of colon cancer. Lactobacteria, especially acidophilus, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. The more of these intestines-friendly bacteria that are present in your colon, the lower the chance of colon diseases. Basically, the friendly bacteria in yoghurt seems to deactivate harmful substances (such as nitrates and nitrites before they are converted to nitrosamines) before they can become carcinogenic.
Secondly, yoghurt is a rich source of calcium - a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. Calcium discourages excess growth of the cells lining the colon, which can place a person at high risk for colon cancer. Calcium also binds cancer-producing bile acids and keeps them from irritating the colon wall. People that have diets high in calcium (e.g. Scandinavian countries) have lower rates of colorectal cancer. One study showed that an average intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day is associated with a 75 percent reduction of colorectal cancer. As a survivor of colon cancer, I have a critical interest in the care of my colon. My life depends on it.
3. Yoghurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients.
Culturing of yoghurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yoghurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium, making it easier to absorb.
4. Yoghurt can boost immunity.
Researchers who studied 68 people who ate two cups of live-culture yoghurt daily for three months found that these persons produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. The bacterial cultures in yoghurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown yoghurt cultures to contain a factor that has anti-tumor effects in experimental animals.
5. Yoghurt aids healing after intestinal infections.
Some viral and allergic gastrointestinal disorders injure the lining of the intestines, especially the cells that produce lactase. This results in temporary lactose malabsorption problems. This is why children often cannot tolerate milk for a month or two after an intestinal infection. Yoghurt, however, because it contains less lactose and more lactase, is usually well-tolerated by healing intestines and is a popular "healing food" for diarrhea.
6. Yoghurt helps replenish helpful bacteria.
Antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria; they also kill the healthy ones in the intestines. The live bacterial cultures in yoghurt can help replenish the intestines with helpful bacteria before the harmful ones take over. I usually "prescribe" a daily dose of yoghurt while a person is taking antibiotics and for two weeks thereafter.
7. Yoghurt can decrease yeast infections.
Research has shown that eating eight ounces of yoghurt that contains live and active cultures daily reduces the amount of yeast colonies in the vagina and decreases the incidence of vaginal yeast infections.
8. Yoghurt can lower cholesterol.
There are a few studies that have shown that yoghurt can reduce the blood cholesterol. This may be because the live cultures in yoghurt can assimilate the cholesterol or because yoghurt binds bile acids, (which has also been shown to lower cholesterol), or both.
Easy Home Made Dairy Yoghurt Recipe
- ½ gallon milk (preferably organic and grass-fed)
- ½ cup yoghurt (plain and organic / biodynamic) to use as starter culture for the first batch
- Clean glass jars (ball / mason jars work well)
- Thermometer (optional)
- Warm up the oven either on ‘warm’ or the lowest setting for about 15 mins. then turn off.
- Add milk to a large pot and cook on high heat until just under a boil. When you see little bubbles on the surface, remove from the heat.
- Let milk cool to about 115 degrees (on thermometer) or until you can comfortably place your hand on the side of the pot (or dip your clean finger into the milk) for at least 10 seconds.
- Once it’s cooled down, scoop the yoghurt into the warm milk.
- Stir gently 2-3 times (no more than that!) to make sure it’s all mixed well, then pour (or ladle) the milk/yoghurt mixture into prepared jars.
- Place jars on a tray and move into the oven (uncovered), making sure not to agitate or jostle them too much. Turn oven light on (very important - this keeps it slightly warm), and set the timer for 4 hours.
- Remove jars from oven, and rest them on the counter until they’ve cooled to room temperature. Then, cover the jars and store in the fridge, where they’ll keep for up to 10 days.
- You can now use your new yoghurt to start your next batch!
The longer the yoghurt sets for, the thicker and tarter it will become so experiment with setting times according to how you like your yoghurt to taste.
Once your yoghurt has set, the variations are endless: you can add a natural sweetener (like raw honey or maple syrup), crushed nuts, berries, passion fruit pulp, stewed fruit or vanilla extract.
Quick Raw Vegan Coconut Yoghurt Recipe
Yields approximately 3 cups
3/4 to 1 cup raw young thai coconut water
16 ounces (453 grams) raw young thai coconut meat
Probiotic powder (2 capsules worth) or half a cup of pre-made yoghurt (make sure it contains probiotic bacteria)
- Blend the coconut water and coconut meat until smooth.
- Add the probiotic powder (simply open the capsules and dump the contents into the blender), or half cup of pre-made yoghurt and blend briefly.
- Pour into a bowl (or jar) big enough to allow a bit of room to expand. Gently place a lid on top and set your coconut yoghurt to culture on your counter for 8-16 hours. The longer it cultures, the more yoghurt-y it becomes in taste.
- When you’re ready to eat it, feel free to sweeten it and/or add extracts like vanilla, fresh fruit, etc.
Yoghurt will culture faster in warmer weather so the culturing time may vary. If you live in a cooler climate, you may want to use a temperature controlled yoghurt maker. Once cultured, this yoghurt will keep for up to seven days in a sealed container in the fridge.
You can use this wonderful yoghurt in many ways: smoothies, dressings, stirred into chia pudding, used as a dessert with raw chocolate, enjoyed as is with fruit and/or granola added, etc. You can even use it to make frozen yoghurt-scicles.