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Enjoyed during breakfast as an electric treat to start the day, or savored during lazy afternoons to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner, yogurt has cemented its place in the refrigerators of thousands of people across the globe (1) .
This delectable dairy product comes in a variety of different flavors , and is highly regarded for its unrivaled health benefits and unique texture and taste.
While yogurt has become a very prominent product in grocery stores and households, many don’t actually realize what it’s made of. Categorized as a dairy product, yogurt incorporates a plethora of different ingredients that give it the health properties, texture, and taste that we all know and love.
What is Yogurt Made Of ?
Walk into any grocery store and you’re likely to find the yogurt products alongside milks, butters, and cheeses. Take a peek into a yogurt container, and it’s quite obvious that it is made of dairy. But what exactly do they mix in with yogurt to give it that unique slimy, pasty texture?
Generally, yogurt is made of a combination of milk and cream which is processed to come up with the unique yogurt consistency. But milk and cream aren’t the sole ingredients of this dairy treat. Manufacturers incorporate lactic bacteria starters, often called cultures, which is why yogurt is recognized as a digestion friendly food.
- The process starts with the combination of milk and cream products which function as the base of the yogurt concoction. Pasteurized, homogenized milk is heated and stored until such time that it’s ready for the addition of bacteria. (2)
- Once the milk and cream mixture reaches optimal temperature, it is taken out of storage and is then mixed in with the culture, or the bacteria specimen. The entire concoction is mixed together until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated into one another.
- After the bacteria is added into the mixture, the concoction is taken back into storage where it is incubated at a specific temperature to activate the bacteria activity.
- While in incubation, the bacteria in the mixture turn the lactose in the milk into lactic acid which lends the sour, tangy taste to yogurt.
- After a certain period of time, the yogurt mix is taken out of incubation and is cooled, during which flavours, fruits, and berries can be added into the mix. For commercially sold yogurt variants, this is the time when manufacturers add in stabilizers and preservatives to prolong the product’s shelf life.
The Benefits of Yogurt
Improved Gastrointestinal Function
Some say that they need a cup of yogurt every morning to gum up the works, and there might be some truth behind this claim. Because yogurt incorporates lactobacilli, those who experience indigestion and constipation might expect relief when they consume yogurt. The bacteria in the yogurt work to mobilize digestion, thus making for a more effective GI function. (3)
Enhanced Immune System
According to recent studies, eating yogurt on a regular basis can help to boost a person’s immune system. This is because the probiotic strains in yogurt help with reducing inflammation, speed up recovery from common sicknesses, and improve resistance to infection. (4)
Strengthened Bone Density
Let’s not forget that yogurt’s main ingredient is milk. What’s great about the process of creating yogurt is that the milk and cream incorporated in the concoction do not lose their natural properties to the process.
So anyone who consumes a cup of yogurt everyday can expect to get the same benefits as a glass of milk. In fact, research suggests that those who consistently and frequently make yogurt a part of their daily diet have better bone density than those who choose to down a glass of milk daily. (5)
Better Heart Health
While the reasons behind this particular benefit are still unclear, research has shown that consuming a cup of yogurt everyday will help normalize blood pressure and reduce the chances of heart related conditions. These benefits are even doubled when individuals choose low-fat yogurt varieties, and plain options like Greek yogurt. (6)
You’ve probably already noticed how fitness buffs and health conscious individuals prefer to incorporate yogurt into their diet. This is because yogurt has been proven to help with weight loss. Aside from the previously mentioned benefits, yogurt is also great at helping people feel fuller for longer.
This means eating a cup of yogurt during your meals will help you stretch the hours between meals, allowing you to eat less throughout the day. If you opt to substitute yogurt for some of the items in your meals – like salad dressing and dessert. (7)
Now that you know what yogurt is made of and what it can do for you, make sure you include this tasty treat in your daily diet. Experience improved health without sacrificing taste by having your share of yogurt everyday.