18 benefits of yogurt: why eat it?
- Lactic acid bacteria are the source of many virtues associated with the consumption of yogurt. Many strains of lactic acid bacteria are currently being studied to assess their usefulness in preventing or curing certain diseases. They would, among other things, have beneficial effects on lactose digestion, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and possibly gastric ulcers and blood lipids.
- Many people are unable to digest lactose, a sugar found naturally in milk and certain dairy products. Thanks to the fermentation process, the yogurt contains little lactose. In addition, its bacteria can synthesize an enzyme called beta-galactosidase which helps to digest lactose. Several studies indicate that people with lactose intolerance usually tolerate yogurt better than milk; they have fewer side effects such as bloating, gas and diarrhea.
- The bacteria in yogurt could reduce the symptoms of diarrhea by favorably modifying the bacterial flora of the intestine. The results of studies on the subject are not always conclusive. The effect exerted by yogurt would depend in particular on the bacterial strain used for its manufacture. In a study of young children with diarrhea, the authors concluded that eating yogurt is associated with a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements and the duration of the condition. To date, only certain studies have also succeeded in proving that the consumption of yogurt improves intestinal function in individuals treated with antibiotics. A team of researchers has shown that in older people receiving antibiotics,
- In vitro and animal studies have shown that eating yogurt would boost immune function. Lactic acid bacteria are said to promote the production of antibodies and cytokines, which protect against pathogens in the digestive tract. This could be the cause of the improvement of certain conditions such as allergies. In a clinical study carried out on young adults and the elderly, the daily consumption of 200 g of yogurt helped reduce allergic symptoms.
- Lactic acid bacteria may decrease the number of certain cytokines associated with inflammation. Very useful, cytokines are a sort of “defense mechanism” for the body. They are secreted or activated by immune cells in response to inflammation or infection. Although clinical studies have demonstrated certain beneficial effects of the consumption of lactic acid bacteria in subjects suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the preventive or curative potential of yogurt remains to be evaluated.
- Consumption of yogurt could affect the development of a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori, which is associated with certain types of gastric ulcers. In a recent study, the daily consumption of two servings of yogurt made it possible to eliminate this bacterium in subjects suffering from gastric ulcers. Other probiotic strains added to yogurt such as Lactobacillus gasseri would also be effective in preventing gastric ulcer.
- The bacteria in yogurt can promote several enzymatic reactions necessary for the detoxification of carcinogenic compounds present in the intestine. Certain animal studies have demonstrated the anti-tumor activity of yogurt, possibly associated with the prevention of colon cancer or colorectal cancer. Certain bacterial strains of Bifidobacterium lactis which have anti-mutagenic properties are currently being studied as a preventive measure for colon cancer.
- Consumption of calcium from dairy products, such as yogurt, is associated with better blood lipid levels that can prevent cardiovascular disease. By modifying the intestinal flora, lactic bacteria also promote the elimination of cholesterol from the intestine, which lowers blood cholesterol. Although some studies in humans have shown that eating yogurt lowers blood cholesterol, it appears that some lactic acid bacteria are more effective than others in lowering blood cholesterol. For example, the consumption of products fermented with Lactobacillus acidophilus can lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). It is important to mention that these fermented products are under study and are not yet marketed.
- Yogurt contains essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the human body. Among other things, it contains calcium, a nutrient involved in bone formation and possibly in the prevention of osteoporosis. The calcium in yogurt could also help prevent obesity.
- The consumption of calcium from dairy products, such as yogurt, is linked to body weight, body mass index and waist circumference, especially in women. Several studies indicate that calcium promotes greater loss of body fat in people under calorie restriction. A recent study in obese people showed that the daily consumption of three 175 g servings of yogurt promoted greater loss of body fat while preserving muscle mass in subjects subjected to a slight calorie restriction. To date, studies on the subject have been limited and not all of them have been conclusive. Currently, there are no specific recommendations regarding the consumption of yogurt in connection with obesity.
- Milk calcium plays a role in bone health. Several studies have established a link between the consumption of dairy products, including yogurt, and better bone mineralization. However, as with milk, there is currently no consensus on the optimal amount of calcium to consume in adulthood in order to prevent osteoporosis and the incidence of fractures in the elderly. As part of a healthy diet, it is currently recommended to consume two to three servings of dairy products such as milk and yogurt daily.
- Yogurt (plain and fruit) is an excellent source of phosphorus. Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. This mineral plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues, helps to maintain normal blood pH. It is one of the constituents of cell membranes.
- Plain yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, while fruit yogurt is a good source. Calcium is by far the most abundant mineral in the body. It is mainly stored in the bones, of which it is an integral part. It contributes to the formation of these, as well as that of the teeth, and to the maintenance of their health. Calcium also plays an essential role in blood clotting, maintenance of blood pressure and contraction of muscles, including the heart.
- Yogurt (plain and fruit) is an excellent source of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, vitamin B2 plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.
- Yogurt (plain and fruit) is an excellent source of vitamin B12. This vitamin works together with folate (vitamin B9) to make red blood cells in the blood. It also works to maintain nerve cells and the cells that make bone tissue.
- Fruit yogurt is a good source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several enzymes containing copper also help the body’s defense against free radicals.
- Plain yogurt is a good source of zinc for women, but only a source for men because of its higher requirement for this mineral. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, the production of genetic material, the perception of taste, scarring and the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones, as well as insulin.
- Plain yogurt is a good source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), while fruit yogurt is a source. Pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme in the energy use of the food we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters and hemoglobin.