Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Yogurt (yoghurt)

I'm pretty easy going when it comes to breakfast. I like both sweet and savory with favorites being egg sandwiches, peanut butter toast, or warm porridge. Or bacon, or shredded wheat, or crumpets....... you get the idea. Lately though, i've had increased energy, decreased waistline, and overall better attitude, and what have i been eating for breakfast? YOGURT!

I'm sure many of you (who live in America at least) have seen plenty of commercials and advertising touting the benefits of probiotics in our diet. They're good for the immune system, digestion, and are found in lactofermented goodies- especially yogurt. Lactobacillus acidophilus (those good bacterias found in yogurt) can help children and adults alike beat allergies - another reason i'm loving my new breakfast routine: Miranda's gots some baaad allergies. Here are some imformative bullet points from

Health Benefits of Probiotics

  • Studies have found that probiotics may improve nutrient bioavailability, for B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and phosphorus, among others.
  • Pediatric studies have found that certain strains (such as Lactobacillus GG, found in Culturelle capsules) may aid in significantly decreasing the rate of acute diarrhea and rotavirus shedding. Parents also reported a 25% decrease in diaper rash among babies drinking formula containing probiotics.
  • Probiotics and active bacteria culture may improve lactose intolerance. The bacterial strain commonly used in yogurt can produce lactase enzymes. Therefore, people with lactose intolerance and children suffering from intestinal infection can usually tolerate yogurt with an active culture.
  • Some studies have shown that by regulating intestinal transit time, probiotics improve constipation among the elderly.
  • Other studies have shown that probiotics, especially acidophilus, promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and reduce the conversion of bile into carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
  • Some studies have found that probiotics may enhance immunity by regulating lymphocytes and antibodies.

Not all yogurts are alike, however. I eat homemade yogurt made from raw milk. Unpasteurized milk by itself has more healthful bacterias in it than the store bought stuff, and by souring or fermenting it to make yogurt you boost those good bacterias even more. Fresh, living probiotics are aflurry in my yogurt, but if you purchase yours from the store be sure and choose a brand that clearly states 'living cultures' because not all include them. Are you familiar with creamy, overly sweet and fruity custard like yogurt? That just doesn't cut the mustard and can contain harmful sugar that counteracts your desire to eat healthfully. Calcium is nice. Probiotics are nice. Tons of sugar for breakfast is not nice - you might as well eat some fruit loops. When i buy yogurt here in Austin (i need starter for my homemade yogurt, and if i have my timing wrong and have used up all of my own yogurt, i need to purchase my starter) i purchase White Mountain Bulgarian style yogurt. It's made locally and is rich with living bacterias.

Smoothies, labneh (yogurt cheese), curry, tzatziki sauce, cucumber salad, or in a bowl with some fruit and chia seeds: yogurt is where it's at. And it is super easy to make, so make yogurt part of your immunity boosting, cancer fighting, regularity building diet today!

What's your favorite use of yogurt?

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