Yogurt is a healthy delicious snack that you can indulge in anytime of the day. Yogurt contains two very unique and special ingredients: probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live organisms that are beneficial to your health when taken in adequate amounts. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your colon. Yogurt also gives you a healthy dose of calcium and is a significant source of protein.
The live bacterial cultures combined with the calcium in yogurt have been proven to play a role in longevity. It seems the bacterial cultures in yogurt boost the immune system and make it more resistant to disease.
Yogurt is great for your digestive system. And when you have a healthy digestive system, it is much easier to keep the rest of you healthy, too. It doesn?t matter if you eat the healthiest food in the world if your digestion system isn’t absorbing nutrients properly. And not only could yogurt help your digestive system, but it could also help in the prevention of cancer, soothe the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, lower your blood pressure, and keep yeast infections at bay.
In one study done in Granada, Spain, healthy volunteers were deprived of fermented foods, including yogurt, for a two-week period. Researchers observed that the innate immune responses of the volunteers decreased. When a probiotic yogurt was added back into the diet, the immune responses returned to their previous levels.
In another study, which took place in Rome, Italy, 162 very elderly people were recruited for a five-year study. The researchers wanted to evaluate the connection between the consumption of specific food groups and nutrients and the overall five-year survival of the participants. They found that those who consumed yogurt at least three times a week were 38% less likely to die than those who ate yogurt once a week.
A few tips about buying yogurt. First of all, buy it fresh. Yogurt contains about 100 million bacteria in a single gram — when it’s fresh! This number quickly dwindles after a couple of weeks on the self at the grocery store. Don’t buy yogurt that has been heat treated. Heat-treated yogurt doesn’t contain bacteria and won’t give you nearly the same health benefits as yogurt with live bacterial culture. Read the list of active bacteria cultures on the label — the more, the better. Fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt can have up to seven teaspoons of sugar added — so stick to plain, unsweetened yogurt and add your own fresh fruit at home.