Friday, June 24, 2011


Yogurt is known as a super food. But if you have shopped for it recently, it can be super confusing. So what’s the scoop on yogurt?
Yogurt has been around since the beginning of time. It is actually one of the oldest foods known to man. The Romans referred to it as “a valuable medicine”. Greek doctors once prescribed it as laxative and an intestinal cleanser. Residents of South- Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of the Far East have also included yogurt in their diets for centuries.
Western Europeans and Americans didn’t catch on to this “miracle food” until the early 1900’s. The first production of yogurt can be traced back to a French scientist. Dr. Metsikov, a bacteriologist and the director of the Pasteur Institute of Paris, did some research on the longevity of man and discovered that those who lived the longest had a steady diet of yogurt.
The simpleness of early yogurt, made from fermented milk left for days in clay pots, has disappeared from today’s yogurt market. Now one can find a vast variety and often confusing supply of yogurts. Not only does yogurt come in a wide variety of flavors and styles, it also boasts of a daunting array of health claims.
Nutritional claims found on yogurt cartons have changed a great deal in the last 30 years in the American markets. For example in 1978 a yogurt container read as, “Yogurt is a low-fat, calcium rich food with “active cultures”. Today the label or carton may include any of the following claims: “pump up your immune system”, “regulate your digestive health”, nourish your memory”, “boost your fiber intake”, “strengthen your bones”, and “help you lose weight”. You can purchase yogurt with added Fiber, enriched with DHA omega-3, and Probiotics.
Which should we choose? Here are the simple truths of what yogurt naturally will provide and its health benefits:

Yogurt is rich in:
Calcium which is good for your teeth and bones
Vitamin A for eyesight • Protein needed for growth and repair of tissues
Zinc needed for wound healing and a strong immune system
Magnesium for muscle functions
Vitamin B12 for red blood cells
 • Riboflavin for healthy skin
Niacin for energy production
Phosphorous for release of energy
Research supports that a balanced diet, which includes yogurt, will contribute to our overall well being in the following ways:
Bone health. Bones require calcium for development and yogurt is an excellent source of calcium
 • Dental health. Milk and other dairy products, like yogurt, contain lactose, a natural sugar found only in milk and milk products, which has been shown to cause the least damage to teeth.
Obesity. Research has shown that people who consume milk and dairy foods on a daily basis are likely to be slimmer than those who do not.
Lactose intolerance. Research has shown that people with lactose intolerance are often able to tolerate yogurt because it has a lower lactose level than milk and is easier on the digestive tract.
Protects and restores the digestive tract. Yogurt protects the stomach membranes. It maintains the natural intestinal flora and mouth mucous protecting you from the damages of long term antibiotic use.
 • It fights against diarrhea that may result from a gastrointestinal infection.
 • It combats chronic constipation, encouraging a “lazy” bowel to contract, restoring the intestine’s balance and ridding it of any toxins.
Others reasons to add yogurt to your daily diet:
• It’s convenient and quick. It is easy to pack into a lunch sake or eat on the run for breakfast
• It is versatile. It can be added to recipes or substituted for sour cream in most recipes
• It makes a perfect snack for children and adults.
• It comes in a variety of flavors and textures, appealing to the masses.

How do you decide which yogurts to buy with all the varieties available? Look for the following features to make your yogurt choice the healthiest:
Light. These yogurts have the fewest calories because they are artificially sweetened. Be a label reader and avoid brands that us NutraSweet (acesulfame potassium- which has been linked to cancer in recent studies) as the sweetener. (Tip- buy plain low-fat yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fruit or Splenda).
Vitamin D. many yogurts are now fortified. If you aren’t already taking Vitamin D supplements, this will be an added benefit to you. Experts recommend a daily dose of 1000 IU daily which is difficult to consume unless you are supplementing with Vitamin D tablets. If you are going to make the investment in supplements make sure you getting the most desirable for bone health found in Vitamin D3.
 • Greek Style. This is the richest and creamiest yogurt on the market and is highest in protein, although a bit lower in Calcium.

For a Nutritional breakdown of most varieties of yogurt currently on the marker see the following site:

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