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Yogurt a Top Health Food

In India, Yogurt is yogurt, dahi is the Indian word for yogurt and curds is a term also used for yogurt. In the US, curds are a dairy product obtained by curdling (coagulating) milk with rennet or an edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar and then draining off the liquid portion (called whey). Milk that has been left to sour (raw milk), alone or pasteurized milk with added lactic acid bacteria will also naturally produce curds. The increased acidity causes the milk proteins (casein) to tangle into solid masses, or "curds".

Why is Yogurt or Dahi a top Health Food:

1. Yogurt is easier to digest than milk. People with milk intolerance, either because of a protein allergy or  lactose intolerance, can enjoy yogurt. The culturing process makes yogurt more digestible than milk. The live active cultures used in home made dahi create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack and another enzyme contained in some yogurts (beta-galactosidase) also helps improve lactose absorption in lactasedeficient  persons. Bacterial enzymes created by the culturing process, partially digest the milk protein casein, making it easier to absorb and become less allergenic. In paediatric practice, it has been observed that children who cannot tolerate milk can often eat yogurt without any intestinal upset. While the amount varies among brands of yogurt, in general, yogurt has less lactose than milk. The culturing process has already broken down the milk sugar lactose into glucose and galactose, two sugars that are easily absorbed by lactose-intolerant persons.

2. Yogurt contributes to colon health. There"s a medical truism that states: "You"re only as healthy as your colon." When eating yogurt, you care for your colon in two ways. First, yogurt contains lactobacteria, intestines-friendly bacterial cultures that foster a healthy colon and even lower the risk of colon cancer. Lactobacteria, especially acidophilus, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. The more these intestinesfriendly bacteria are present in your colon, the lower the chance of colon diseases. Basically, the friendly bacteria in yogurt seems to deactivate harmful substances (such as nitrates and nitrites before they are converted to nitrosamines) and before they can become carcinogenic. Secondly, yogurt is a rich source of calcium - a mineral that contribute to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. Calcium discourages excess growth of the cells lining the colon, which can place a person at high risk for colon cancer. Calcium also binds cancer-producing bile acids and keeps them from irritating the colon wall. People who have diets high in calcium (e.g. Scandinavian countries) have lower rates of colorectal cancer. One study showed that an average intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day is associated with a 75 percent reduction of colorectal cancer. urvivors of colon cancer need to take critical care of their colons as their life depends on it.

3. Yogurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients.

Culturing of yogurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yogurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium, making it easier to absorb.

4. Yogurt can boost immunity.

Researchers who studied 68 people who ate two cups of live-culture yogurt daily for three months found that these persons produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. The bacterial cultures in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infectionfighting white cells in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown yogurt cultures to contain a factor that has anti-tumor effects in experimental animals.

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