Yogurt is derived from milk – it is the fermented version of milk. World wide, cow’s milk is generally used for making yogurt. However, any mammal’s milk can be turned into yogurt. The bacterial fermentation of milk results in yogurt. In the commercial process, yogurt is produced using a culture of good bacteria. However, the benefits of home-made yogurt far outweigh those obtained from commercially produced yogurt.
To make yogurt, milk is boiled and then cooled. To this milk, about half-a-teaspoon of yogurt is added. Then, the actual fermentation process by the good bacteria starts. After a certain period of time, depending on the temperature, yogurt or curd sets.
Yogurt is a health food. It is rich in the minerals calcium and potassium. It also contains proteins, vitamins A and B2. It provides instant energy when consumed. A little white sugar or honey may be mixed with a bowl of chilled yogurt to make it tastier.
Let us look at the health benefits offered by yogurt:
- Bone health:
Yogurt is rich in calcium – the mineral required for healthy bones. The calcium requirement of children is greater than that of adults. Also, yogurt is more easily digestible than milk. Hence, ensure that you give at least two bowls of yogurt to your child, every day. It helps in proper growth during childhood and adolescence.
Also, women can avoid osteoporosis and arthritis by being regular eaters of yogurt.
- For proper digestion:
End every meal with a cup of yogurt. This is one easy step to ensure proper digestion. For people who face the problem of a slow digestion, buttermilk, the diluted form of yogurt, can be substituted.
The good bacteria in yogurt help in ridding the stomach and intestines of heavy metallic wastes and toxins. Also, they stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. All this helps in improved digestion.
- Heart health:
2 bowls of yogurt, daily, helps in maintaining proper heart health. This is due to the presence of potassium in yogurt. The arteries and blood vessels get proper nutrition and they start functioning well. This in turn, improves the efficiency of the heart. Thus, the long term benefits of consuming yogurt include a fine and healthy heart.
- For the skin:
Yogurt is a combination of milk and good bacteria. When applied on skin, using a little patch of cotton, it clears the skin of dirt and dust. Wash the area thoroughly with water, later.
Yogurt not only cleans the skin but also moisturises it and gives a smooth and radiant feel.
- For acne:
A paste made with yogurt and fuller’s earth can be applied on the face, on the pimple-affected area. This is best applied before bed time. Regular application helps in reducing the acne.
- As an effective Cleanser:
Also, a face mask made with turmeric, yogurt and green gram powder helps in keeping the facial skin blemishless, well-moisturised and cleansed.
- To reduce and remove sun tan:
Yogurt is also effective as a sun tan remover. Apply plain yogurt on the tanned skin and wash off after 20 minutes. Doing this regularly helps in restoring the original complexion of the skin.
- As a cooling drink:
Yogurt and buttermilk are effective remedies to counter the heat during hot summer afternoons. Mix a little amount of sugar to chilled yogurt and eat it. This helps in bringing down bodily heat. Similarly, buttermilk, to which roasted and ground cumin powder is added, helps in countering the effects of dehydration caused due to excessive exposure to sun.
Always use fresh home-made yogurt. Use low-fat milk to make it. In order to prevent the yogurt from turning sour, refrigerate and take it out 10 minutes before actual use.