Yogurt or yoghurt or yoghourt is a fermented milk product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as "yogurt cultures". Fermentation of lactose by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang.Yogurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. Lactose-intolerant individuals can sometimes tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products, because the lactose in the milk is converted to glucose and galactose, and partially fermented to lactic acid, by the bacterial culture.
Yogurt's got power-boosting protein and bone-building calcium. It can also help you lose weight and fend off a cold. Here's the scoop on what it can do -- and how much you should eat.
Help you maintain weight loss:
Eat 18 ounces a day and you can drop a jeans size. People who ate that much in conjunction with cutting their total calories lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than dieters who skipped the snack, according to research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They also retained one-third more calorie-torching lean muscle mass, which can help you maintain weight loss. When you eat yogurt, the calcium signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol, making it easier for you to drop pounds, while the amino acids help burn fat.
Most brands of yogurt contain good-for-you bacteria:
The words "live and active cultures" on the container mean that your yogurt has probiotics, beneficial bugs that live in your digestive tract and help crowd out harmful microorganisms that can cause intestinal infections.
But many varieties now also contain special strains of probiotics meant to help regulate your digestion or strengthen your immune system. The research on them isn't conclusive, however.
Yogurt is loaded with vitamins:
One serving is a significant source of potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, iodine, zinc, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Yogurt also contains B12, which maintains red blood cells and helps keep your nervous system functioning properly. Eating more yogurt can help close the nutrient gap: An eight-ounce serving contains 1.4 micrograms of the vitamin, about 60 percent of what adult women need daily.
A cup of yogurt a day can help you recover faster after a workout:
With the right ratio of protein to carbohydrates, yogurt, particularly high-protein Greek yogurt, makes an excellent post-sweat-session snack. The protein provides the amino acids your muscles need to repair themselves, Gans explains, and the carbohydrates replace your muscles' energy stores, which are depleted after a hard workout. It's a bonus if you drink a bottle of water along with it: The protein in yogurt may also help increase the amount of water absorbed by the intestines, improving hydration.
Not all yogurt is equal when it comes to calcium and vitamin D:
Since it naturally contains calcium, you'd think the amount would be the same no matter which yogurt you pick. Wrong. "The levels can vary widely from brand to brand, so you really need to check the label," Newgent says. How much is in a container depends on processing. For instance, fruit yogurt tends to have less calcium than plain because the sugar and fruit take up precious space in the container. "Vitamin D isn't naturally in yogurt, but because it helps boost calcium absorption, most companies add it,". It contain at least 20 percent of your daily value for both nutrients.
Yogurt may prevent high blood pressure:
Every day 70 percent of us consume more than twice the recommended amount of salt; over time that can lead to hypertension and kidney and heart disease.
A daily serving of yogurt keeps colds away:
Dig into four ounces each day and you may find yourself sniffle-free in the months ahead, according to a study at the University of Vienna. Women eating this amount had much stronger and more active T cells, which battle illness and infection, than they did before they started consuming it. "The healthy bacteria in yogurt help send signals to the immune-boosting cells in your body to power up and fight off harmful bugs,"
Yogurt can help your smile:
Despite its sugar content, yogurt doesn't cause cavities. When scientists at Marmara University in Turkey tested low-fat, light, and fruit flavors, they found that none of them eroded tooth enamel, the main cause of decay. The lactic acid in yogurt appears to give your gums protection as well. People who eat at least two ounces a day have a 60 percent lower risk of acquiring severe periodontal disease than those who skip it.
Yogurt is a high-protein food:
Yogurt can be an excellent source of protein.
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