You might not realize it, but that cup of yogurt sitting in your fridge could be more than just a tasty, summertime treat.
In 2019, a large epidemiological survey in JAMA Oncology shed new light on the properties of yogurt, with scientists reporting that yogurt consumption was associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer by 33% when synergized with high fiber foods.
In the same year, after analyzing health data consisting of more than 1.9 million participants, Professor Deng Zhenhua’s team found that yogurt consumption was significantly correlated with overall risk reduction across all cancers–as high as 19%. The specific cancers that yogurt consumers had the greatest risk reduction in were esophageal cancer (36%), bladder cancer (21%) and colorectal cancer (12%), with the study being published in the highly accredited US publication, the International Journal of Cancer. In fact, the science behind the probiotic benefits and healthiness of yogurt has been backed and discussed for hundreds of years; in 1906, Russian Nobel Prize winner Mok Nikov, after investigating a phenomenon where Balkan residents had seemingly longer average lifespans, established the theory that yogurt could promote longevity, sparking decades of research into this powerful probiotic.
Besides cancer prevention, yogurt boasts a wealth of other illness-fighting capabilities:
1. Preventing Diabetes: The Food and Health-Scientific Evidence Consensus (2016) states that drinking 80 grams of yogurt per day (100 grams in a small supermarket plastic cup) can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 28% compared to not drinking yogurt at all. Furthermore, in a study done by the Harvard University School of Public Health, which analyzed health data from 100,000+ participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Nurses’ Health Study, and Nurses’ Health Study II, researchers found that yogurt was linked to an 18% decrease in the risk of type II diabetes, a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin or develops a resistance to insulin. Surprisingly, this property was not found to occur with any other dairy products, and they hypothesized that probiotics in yogurt improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation.
2. Controlling High Blood Pressure: Unfortunately, in the US, someone dies from a cardiovascular disease nearly every 36 seconds. Yet, studies have shown that increasing dairy intake, especially products from low-fat milk, can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. In light of these studies, UniSA researcher Dr. Alexandria Wade proposes that “dairy foods contain a range of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure. Yogurt is especially interesting because it also contains bacteria that promote the release of proteins which lowers blood pressure. This study showed for people with elevated blood pressure, even small amounts of yogurt were associated with lower blood pressure. And for those who consumed yogurt regularly, the results were even stronger, with blood pressure readings nearly seven points lower than those who did not consume yogurt.”
3. Stroke Prevention: High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke, so drinking yogurt can help reduce the risk of strokes to a certain extent. In a publication from the European Heart Journal, researchers selected over 418,329 men and women in nine countries (UK, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden) and investigated the incidence of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Astonishingly, the study found an increased intake of fruits, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and fiber led to a decrease in the risk of ischemic stroke.
4. Relieving Constipation and Diarrhea: Both human and animal experiments have proved that after consuming yogurt, the resistance to various intestinal pathogenic bacteria and viruses is significantly enhanced, the incidence of diarrhea is low, the symptoms are mild, and the recovery is fast. Some people are constipated, the doctor will prescribe lactic acid bacteria, or simply let you drink 1-2 cups of yogurt every day, because yogurt can restore the balance of probiotics in the stomach. Why not only relieve constipation, but also cure diarrhea? Because most of the constipation and diarrhea are caused by the disturbance of the intestinal flora, yogurt can adjust the intestinal flora, inhibit harmful bacteria, promote digestion and absorption, and improve the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Drinking 1-2 cups of yogurt every day for a few months can significantly improve digestion and absorption, effectively relieve problems such as constipation and diarrhea, and gradually disappear discomfort such as bloating and bloating.
5. Promotes Lead and Mercury Detoxification: Across elderly populations, many are plagued with memory loss, fatigue, malaise, and joint/abdominal pain, symptoms that seldom point to a specific condition or are misdiagnosed. Yet, from a simple blood test, a high lead concentration can easily reveal the culprit: plumbism, or lead poisoning. Fortunately, certain foods have been discovered to eliminate lead through excretion, with one of them being yogurt. In yogurt, and other dairy products, the milk-specific whey protein is rich in cysteine, which binds with lead ions to form a water-soluble compound that’s excreted through the kidneys, pumping lead out of your bloodstream. Furthermore, A 2014 study from the American Society for Microbiology found that yogurt produced with Lactobacillus rhamnosus protected pregnant women against mercury absorption by ~36% and against arsenic by ~78%. Thus, not only can yogurt tackle plumbism, but it can also reduce the risk of birth defects, giving children healthier, more fulfilling lives.
6. Improves your immunity and bone health as a Multivitamin Supplement: In addition to retaining all the nutrients of quality milk, yogurt is a probiotic with acidophilus and bulgaricus varieties of Lactobacillus, which produce a variety of vitamins necessary for the human body during the fermentation process, including, but not limited to, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
7. Probiotics, the “good” bacteria that are often found in certain kinds of yogurt, can also boost mood. Researchers at the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition in the Netherlands say that probiotics may be an effective way to fight depression and anxiety.
From fighting cancer to providing your body with better mineral absorption, yogurt establishes itself as a solid choice as a breakfast, lunch, or everyday meal. At the same time, with so many methods of incorporation, this begs an age-old question:
As for broader yogurt types, Greek yogurt is a prime candidate for those following ketogenic diets. Why is Greek yogurt keto? Greek yogurt is higher in protein, while lower in sugars that may contribute to weight gain. Since the goal of a ketogenic diet is to help with weight loss and becoming less dependent on sugars for energy, essentially rewiring your body’s energy input to mainly depend on the catabolism of fat over sugars, the high concentrations of other macros in Greek yogurt certainly helps to achieve this goal. In a grocery store, the average serving of Greek yogurt has 5 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fat, and nearly 15 grams of pure protein. Furthermore, this nutrition-packed treat helps coat the stomach lining to allow the good bacteria in yogurt make it to the gut, as opposed to bacteria found in probiotic pills that may become significantly less potent as they travel through the digestive tract and die along the way. Yet, these benefits might be outweighed by some of the dangers of store-bought yogurts.
While store-bought yogurts and probiotic supplements might be ready to eat as soon as you buy them, their artificial additives and sweeteners, microplastics, or thickening agents like carrageenan may cause more harm to your gut lining than good.
When choosing the healthier yogurt for probiotics, look for brands that contain live and active cultures, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Opt for plain, unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars. Check for minimal additives and preservatives. Select yogurt with no artificial flavors or colors, and ideally, opt for organic options for the best quality.
The easiest and the healthiest yogurt is the homemade, of course! Luckily, there’s a quick way to make yogurt at home and all you need are two ingredients: whole milk and a starter batch of yogurt.
According to the GAPS diet,when yogurt ferments for 24 hours, the bacteria in the yogurt culture readily consume the available lactose in the milk, soaring to a population of 708 billion friendly microorganisms in just 1 cup of yogurt! That’s nearly 50 TIMES more probiotics than a serving of store-bought pills or commercial yogurt.
Even at this step, there’s still room for improvement. With homemade yogurt, you need a controlled environment in the cooking vessel, with little fluctuation in internal temperature. Even minor deviations in temperature from a sunny day or indoor heating elements may impact the quality of the fermenting process, turning the entire batch too sour. Thus, proper insulation is necessary in order to keep the fermentation occurring at the same temperature throughout the whole cooking process.
Therefore, to go a step further, instead of any yogurt maker made with plastics, try making it in aVitaClay clay pot on the yogurt setting. Why? Quite simply, clay is the best cooking medium for making yogurt; it absorbs the excess water in the cooking process, leading to a thicker, richer, creamier yogurt; clay acts like a natural thermal insulator to heat evenly and keeps the fermentation process going at an even constant temperature. In addition, the alkaline nature of clay neutralizes yogurt acidity to a degree, making the end result naturally sweeter. In the end, with a VitaClay organic clay pot multicooker, you’ll have a quality product superior in areas like promoting gut health, bone health, weight loss, and easing anxiety/stress. The great thing is, that you can use your most recent batch to make a completely new batch of probiotic-rich yogurt and goodness! Say goodbye to plastic waste–and say hello to saving money.
Below we’ve attached some recipes and their core health benefits in their description, all to help you get set on your probiotic journey. Your stomach and gut will thank you!
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