Yogurt: Numerous Health and Anti-Ageing Benefits
Food to Feel Good
In times of economic uncertainty, reverting to simple and natural ways to take care of your health is not only helpful for cutting down on expenses, but also a perfect opportunity to explore the affordable health solutions that are so readily available.
Amongst a plethora of foods known for their nutritional and health benefits, here we highlight one known for its age-defying properties, as well as the feelgood factor it provides due to its powerful action on your digestive system.
Yogurt: Historic Overview
Yogurt, a name of Turkish origin, has enjoyed a reputation as a health food for centuries. Ancient Persians and Middle Eastern nomadic tribes are believed to have invented it as a means to preserve milk.
The health-enhancing and restorative powers of yogurt have been known for centuries. Historians confirm that Genghis Khans armies relied on yogurt to keep them healthy throughout their extensive conquests.
Yogurt became popular in Europe as the Wonder Medicine in the 16th century, when a Turkish doctor saved King Francis I of France from intestinal disease by treating him with goat's milk yogurt.
In his 1907 book Prolongation of Life, Nobel-Prize-winning Russian scientist Eli Metchnikoff noted that a majority of the Bulgarian population lived to between 87 and 100 years old, and sometimes over. This longevity he attributed to eating cultured milk products. Metchnikoff firmly believed that the consumption of fermented dairy products, produced by lactic acid bacteria, improved overall health and prolonged life. In fact so strongly as to state that with daily yogurt consumption, one could possibly live up to 150 years old!
Other than containing many beneficial nutrients like calcium, high quality protein, potassium, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins, the probiotics found in yogurt are thought to alter the gastrointestinal flora. Probiotics contain live bacterial cultures such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which fight the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria, thus improving the bodys immune functions and strengthening its defences against infection and disease.
Benefits of Yogurt
In his article Health Benefits of Yogurt Dr. Charles Suber stresses that a proper balance of bacteria living in the intestine is one of the most crucial -and usually overlooked- factors in delaying ageing, and preventing illness and disease.
The food we ingest, the environment we live in, illness, antibiotics as well as stress and ageing are all factors that affect the balance of our gastrointestinal flora. Their combined action encourages harmful bacteria to grow, causing imbalance. This imbalance weakens our immune system, and consequently our resistance to illness. When harmful bacteria multiplies and colonises the intestinal flora, it releases toxins that lead to the intestines inflammation. An on-going -albeit dormant- intestinal inflammation can lead to serious, and sometimes life-threatening, disease.
Yogurt and especially the bio or live variety contains beneficial live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus. These are known to restore balance in the intestinal bacterial population. They also reduce the growth of harmful bacteria, which leads to improved health, energy and wellness.
Yogurts anti-aging properties are most likely attributed to the legendary longevity of the people of the Balkans who consume it in large quantities. Recent studies seem to confirm the fact that live active bacteria contained in yogurt has positive effects on overall health and longevity. It is no wonder most naturopaths and holistic health practitioners believe that all disease starts in the gut!
Other reported health benefits of consuming yogurt include reducing osteoporosis, fighting yeast infections and providing protection against colon cancer.
Studies have shown that the active live bacterial cultures found in yogurt ease lactose digestion enabling lactose-intolerant or lactose-deficient individuals to better digest the lactose in yogurt.
Yogurt and Cucumber Salad
- 3 cups reduced fat plain bio yogurt
- 2 small cucumbers or ½ a large one, peeled and diced
- 20 fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- Salt, to taste
Place the mint and garlic together in a salad bowl and crush with a pestle with a pinch of salt. Stir in the yogurt and add the chopped cucumbers. Mix and chill before serving.
PS: Another highly effective way to cleanse the gastrointestinal tract and prevent the accumulation of bacteria and toxins in the abdomen is the Detox Bath. Have you tried it yet?
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