Yogurt is a thick, tart, custard-like product made from milk. Tradition has it originating accidentally in the Middle East as a nomad traveled across the desert on his camel with a goatskin bag of milk. The desert heat and the bacteria inside the bag helped ferment the milk into what we call yogurt.
This peculiar fermenting process was recorded in 1907 by a Russian-born scientist who worked with Louis Pasteur, the father of microbial fermentation and pasteurization. For over a century, yogurt has been thought to prolong the aging process. In fact, the scientist, Elie Metchnikoff, won the Nobel Prize for his work with healthy bacteria. His hypothesis and proven theory stated that a person could eat their way to a longer and healthier life with fermented foods.
His secret to longevity was simple: yogurt. Yogurt is made by adding two cultures of live bacteria to milk and holding it between room temperature, 70 F and 115 F for a few hours. The resulting product is tart and made more popular by adding fruit preserves. Minus the sweet fruit, yogurt is often used in recipes as a low-fat substitute for sour cream.
Greek yogurt is strained to remove the liquid and whey. Compared to unstrained yogurt, it has a thicker, pudding-like consistency. Greek yogurt has twice the protein, less sugar, and fewer carbohydrates than regular cow’s milk yogurt. Icelandic yogurt has also become popular. Skyr is similar to Greek yogurt, but it is strained even more for a thicker, more protein-rich product. It is great in smoothies because it doesn’t water down the drink.
Usually the fruit-on-the-bottom type yogurts are loaded with sugary fruit pie filling. Adding fresh or canned fruit to plain yogurt increases the vitamins and minerals. The creamy concoction also becomes an excellent source of fiber with added fruit.
Slow movement through the intestinal tract is a source of daily discomfort for many people. The physical and physiological consequences affect their quality of life. Bloating, heaviness, difficult and painful defecation are all problematic symptoms when they occur all of the time.
The Dannon Yogurt Corporation has the exclusive distinction of adding a unique probiotic strain of bacteria to their yogurt and calling the product Activia®. Activia is the only yogurt in the world that contains Bifidus Regularis™. This bacteria survives the passage through the gastrointestinal tract and helps to regulate the digestive system.
Dannon can prove that two weeks of daily eating Activia yogurt with the added helpful bacteria and a balanced diet with a healthy lifestyle can help regulate the digestive system. It slows the intestinal transit time and avoids unwanted symptoms. Three 6-ounce containers of Activia are recommended daily for two weeks. To maintain the benefits of a comfortable abdomen at least one 6-ounce Activia daily is recommended.
Yogurt is a healthy snack. Compared to a bag of chips or a candy bar, more nutrition can be purchased with yogurt than any other grab and go treat. Besides, it could add to longevity.
Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.