Yogurt Benefits Including, Probiotic Health and Nutrition Facts (Recipes Included)

yogurtThis is an article I’ve been meaning to write for a while.  I give credit, however to my little brother for prompting me.

Yogurt has so many uses it’s hard to list them all or put down enough information emphasizing each important element.  However, in this article, I will give you a good chunk of knowledge in some of the areas.  By the time I’ve finished, you will understand: What probiotics are, the effect antibiotics have on your system when overused, nutrition facts, and last some recipes to get you started using yogurt.

When most people hear the word probiotic they usually associate it with yogurt.  This is great, but I want to make sure you understand why.  I will quote from different resources to make the point that whether you are a medical professional or someone (like me) who believes in alternate and more natural forms of medicine we all can agree on certain facts.

WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?

good and bad probioticsWebMD gives this explanation:

“Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.”

Types of Probiotics

“Many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most come from two groups.”

Lactobacillus. “This may be the most common probiotic. It’s the one you’ll find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help with people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk.”

Bifidobacterium. “You can also find it in some dairy products. It may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and some other conditions.”

Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast found in probiotics. It appears to help fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.”

“You can find probiotics in supplements and some foods, like yogurt. Doctors often suggest them to help with digestive problems.”

Now that is one opinion and here is another given by Mayo Clinic:

What are probiotics?

 “Probiotics are good bacteria that are either the same as or very similar to the bacteria that are already in your body. Your lower digestive tract alone teems with a complex and diverse community of these bacteria. In fact, there are a greater number of bacteria in your intestines than there are cells in your body.”
“But not all of the bacteria in your body are good for you. Some research suggests that having too many of the “bad” and not enough of the “good” bacteria — caused in part by an unhealthy diet — can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body’s systems. This imbalance can lead to weight gain, skin conditions, constipation or diarrhea, and various chronic health conditions.”

No one, including naturalist doctors or homeopathic doctors, would disagree with the explanations above and therefore share a common appreciation for having healthy probiotics in your system to improve your health.

Now that we’ve covered what probiotics are I want to dive into how we can gain the benefits specifically from yogurt.  There are obviously other resources, like raw milk, but this article is going to be long enough as it is.

Antibiotics

antibioticsYogurt has the good probiotics that every healthy gut needs.  I recommend it to family and friends especially when they’ve gone to a doctor and have been put on antibiotics.

Antibiotics either stop bacteria from reproducing or destroy them.  It is not possible however to have an antibiotic only kill the bad bacteria.  Therefore, while correcting one problem you are creating another by killing the good bacteria or healthy bugs.

I realize there are times when our bodies white blood cells don’t attack harmful bacteria and our immune symptoms aren’t strong enough to keep up, thus needing an antibiotic to fight off certain infections, but I also believe antibiotics are overused.  Medical News Today wrote an article explaining this very issue and here is there quote: “There is concern worldwide that antibiotics are being overused. This overuse is contributing toward the growing number of bacterial infections that are becoming resistant to antibacterial medications.”

With that quote and other research that has been done on the overuse of antibiotics, I am so happy there are alternative ways you can cure and prevent things (not all, but a lot) without taking antibiotics.  Ear infections are one of them.  I use a garlic infused oil for my daughter who has had multiple ear infections when she was younger.  It’s natural, cured an earache or infections every time and didn’t have any side effects.  Here is a link describing How to Cure an Earache using Garlic.  This is just one of many examples of how you can replace antibiotics naturally.

Start Eating Yogurt

yogurt and fruitTaking it from there we can now get into eating yogurt for the benefit of giving your body healthy probiotics and these key nutrients:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • B Vitamins
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

Yogurt is a great source of bone-building calcium and can help with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, urinary tract infections, and vaginal yeast infections, to name a few conditions.

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

1 cup a day of yogurt with live cultures.


I have so many recipes I could include but will limit them for the sole purpose of getting you started without overwhelming you.

yogurt, vanilla and honeyVanilla Yogurt Dessert

This recipe is from my son who likes to experiment in the kitchen and is perfect for when you are craving something sweet.

Ingredients:

  • Honey
  • Plain Greek Yogurt.  Look to make sure it has live cultures and remember the longer it sits on the shelf the more it breaks down, so look for the freshest yogurt you can.
  • Vanilla

Directions:

Measure a cup of plain yogurt into a bowl, dribble honey over to taste and add about 1/8 tsp. vanilla.  Now stir and give it a taste.  The creamy dessert should melt in your mouth.  Adjust recipe according to the amount.

Three Helpful Tips:

  1. Yogurt can break down during cooking, so if you’re adding it to a hot dish, stir 1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch into 1 cup yogurt.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt until creamy.
  2. Most store-bought chocolate yogurt doesn’t contain as many live, active cultures as plain yogurt.  Make your own by stirring cocoa powder and a bit of honey or sugar into plain yogurt.
  3. When coating pork, chicken, or fish with bread crumbs, replace the eggs used to moisten the meat with plain yogurt.  Plan on using about 8 ounces of yogurt per pound of protein.

Light Caesar Dressing

Puree 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons each grated parmesan and olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 anchovies and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Tangy Guacamole

Mash 2 ripe avocados with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt. Stir in 1/2 chopped small red onion and 1/2 chopped small jalapeno, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, the juice of 1 lime and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

 

granola yogurtYogurt and Granola

This recipe you take 1 cup yogurt and a 1/4 cup granola of choice.  If you want a tad of sweetness on top of the granola, add a 1tsp of honey.

Our family always substitutes yogurt when sour cream is called for.  An example would be to use it on your tacos, dressing and so on.


Turmeric and Yogurt Face Mask

  • 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons milk

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together and apply to clean face.  Leave on for 10 – 15 minutes or until the mask is dried.  Gently wipe off the face with fingertips and warm water.  A washcloth can be used if needed.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot (or tinea pedis) is a fungal infection which attacks the warm, moist areas between the toes, most commonly between the fourth and fifth toes.  It is highly infectious, spreading through close physical contact, notoriously in the changing facilities at public swimming pools.  Once acquired, athlete’s foot is very persistent.  It usually affects people with, particularly sweaty feet.

Directions:

Apply a little live yogurt to the area daily, for its antifungal properties.

yogurt for the hairTreatment for the Hair

Yogurt is a great hair conditioner.  When applied and massaged into the roots it makes your hair soft, healthy and strong.


I could go on and on talking about how yogurt helps in weight loss, cancer and in other ways, I haven’t mentioned.  My hope is, however, you will head to the store and stock up on the right kind of yogurt and start making it a part of your daily lives.  It’s good for you and will help aid in getting your health on track.

-Heather Earles 

Mustard-Turmeric and what they have in common

 

 

 

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