Yogurt or yoghurt is derived from the Turkish word yoğurt and is related to the obsolete verb yoğmak which means to be curdled or coagulated. Yogurt is a dairy product produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Good bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are added to the milk to make yogurt. The fermentation of lactose by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang.
Here are the varieties and their description
- Regular yogurt - made from whole milk, has at least 3.25 percent of milk fat.
- Low-fat yogurt - made from low fat milk or part-skim milk, has between 2 and 0.5 percent milk fat.
- Nonfat yogurt - made from skim milk, contains less than 0.5 percent milk fat.
- Lite (light) yogurt - 1/3 less calories or 50 percent reduction in fat than regular yogurt.
- Swiss or custard - Fruit and yogurt are mixed together for individual servings. To ensure firmness of body, a stabilizer, such as a gelatin, may be added.
- Greek yogurt - has been strained in a cloth to remove the whey—which explains its soft-cheese consistency. Also called “strained yogurt,” greek yogurt has more fat than regular yogurt.
- Frozen yogurt - freezing process does not kill any significant amount of the cultures (instead they go into a dormant state). Once the yogurt is eaten, the bacteria return to the normal body temperature and again become active. Not all frozen yogurts actually contain live and active cultures. Look for the National Yoghurt Association (NYA) Live and Active Cultures seal.
Why yogurt is good for you
- Yogurt is easier to digest than milk. Lactase in yogurt helps improve lactose absorption in lactase-deficient persons. Bacterial enzymes created by the culturing process, partially digest the milk protein, making it easier to absorb and less allergenic.
- Yogurt contributes to colon health. Lactobacteria is intestine-friendly bacterial cultures that foster a healthy colon, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. It lowers the risk of colon cancer and other colon diseases.
- Yogurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium. Culturing of yogurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yogurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium.
- Yogurt can boost immunity. The bacterial cultures stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream.
- Yogurt aids healing after intestinal infections. Some viral and allergic gastrointestinal disorders injure the lining of the intestines which result in temporary lactose malabsorption problems. Yogurt contains less lactose and more lactase, which is better tolerated by recovering intestines.
- Yogurt is an excellent source of protein. The proteins in yogurt are often called “predigested,” because they are easier for the body to digest and absorb.
- Yogurt is a “grow food.” Two nutritional properties of yogurt may help children with intestinal absorption problems grow: the easier digestibility of proteins and the fact that the lactic acid in yogurt increases the absorption of minerals.