1:09 PMDigestive System TuneUp
Live Active Cultures At Work
Yoghurt is a product customarily made from adding live cultures, living bacteria, to milk and has been a staple food source in Western societies for over 2000 years. According to Dairy Australia, traditionally produced yoghurt is one of the most wholesome products available.
Although many civilisations have been aware of yoghurt's health benefiting properties for centuries, numerous recent studies are now also confirming the undeniable health benefits. One recently published article in the New England Journal Of Medicine included that eating yoghurt was also found to be of benefit for weight management. The authors of that article conveyed that yoghurt consumption was associated with less weight gain in all three groups of individuals that were studied. It seems that intriguing evidence proposes that changes in gut bacterial colonies may in fact influence weight gain. Another recently published article in the British Journal Of Nutrition discovered that full fat dairy products such as natural yoghurt may not have unfavourable effects on cholesterol and blood pressure as previously thought.
Yoghurt Is Considered A Top Health Food Source
When thinking of consuming a healthy diet, neglecting the health of your digestive system is down right counterproductive – In other words, there is no point to following a nutritional diet if your body cannot absorb those important nutrients. When consuming yogurt, you care for your digestive system in two ways.
1) Yogurt contains lactobacteria which is the intestines beneficial bacterial cultures that encourage a healthy digestive system. Lactobacteria, particularly acidophilus, encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines and colon and reduces the adaptation of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. The larger the colonies of these so called beneficial bacteria that are present in your intestines and colon, the lower the chance of developing colon diseases. Basically, the beneficial bacterium in yogurt seems to neutralize harmful substances such as nitrates and nitrites before they are transformed into nitrosamines, and before they can become carcinogenic.
2) Yogurt is naturally a rich source of calcium which is a mineral that contributes to overall colon health therefore reducing the risk of colon cancers. Calcium suppresses excess growth of the cells lining the colon, whilst also binding cancer producing bile acids to prevent them from irritating the colon wall, both of which may place an individual at high risk for colon cancer. It is worth mentioning that individuals participating in diets high in calcium have shown to have much lower rates of colorectal cancer. One study showed that an average intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day is associated with a 75 percent reduction of colorectal cancer.
But What If I Am Lactose Intolerant?
Individuals who cannot tolerate milk, either because of a lactose intolerance or protein allergy, can usually tolerate and enjoy yogurt. The culturing procedures render yogurt more digestible than milk and the live cultures generate lactase, the enzyme lactose intolerant individual’s lack, and another enzyme found in certain yogurts (beta-galactosidase) helps improve lactose absorption in lactase deficient individuals. Bacterial enzymes produced by the culturing process partially digest the milk protein called casein, making it less allergenic and easier to digest. Paediatrics Centres have reported that individuals who cannot tolerate milk, can usually eat yogurt without any intestinal upset, whilst the amount varies amongst particular brands of yogurt, in general, yogurt has less lactose than milk. The culturing procedures reduce the milk sugar lactose into glucose and galactose which are the two sugars that are easily absorbed by lactose intolerant individuals.
If you have recently been prescribed antibiotics it is important to understand that antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria throughout the body, but also the healthy bacterial colonies within the intestines. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt will assist in replenishing the intestines with friendly bacteria before the harmful bacteria can take over. It is advisable to consume a daily dose of yogurt whilst taking antibiotics and continue for at least two weeks thereafter.
Yogurt is most certainly a valuable addition to a health diet for both infants and elderly individuals. For infants, yoghurt is a balanced source of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals in a consistency that children fin pleasing. For elderly individuals who usually have a more sensitive digestive system, yogurt is an ideal dietary addition. It is worth mentioning that the intestines of elderly subjects usually indicated diminished levels of bifidus bacteria, which allow for the growth of cancer causing bacteria.