More than a refreshing small meal, yogurt is well recognized for its health giving properties. Valued for its nutrition and for its flavor, yogurt has long been considered, quite simply the elixir of life. Both Balkan and Armenian communities made the creamy, nutritious product for centuries. Its possible that the people of Asia knew of it, too. A nomadic culture, they transported fresh milk in goat skins over the long distances they traveled. So, when they arrived at their destination, they found curdled, yet refreshing and delicious, yogurt. Bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are what cause milk, called lactose, into lactic acid. The lactic acid and the living bacteria in yogurt beneficially affect a large number of metabolic processes within the body, making yogurt far more than just a tasty snack.
Healthy living with plain yogurt
The live cultures that can be found in yogurt help build healthy flora in the intestines. However, not all brands contain these cultures. Choose a yogurt product that lists live, or active, cultures in the ingredient list. If you are unable to find such a brand in your local market, inquire at your health food store. Another alternative is to simply add wheat bran to your yogurt.
When taken internally, yogurt provides the body with essential vitamins, minerals and protein. Its lactic acid causes healthy microflora to become established in the mucous membranes of the intestines and keeps harmful bacteria at bay. This significantly improves the absorption of nutrients. Applied externally, lactic acid acts as a germicide and maintains the proper pH of the skin's naturally acidic protective layer.
Plain yogurt is packed full of nutrition; it contains protein, carbohydrates, lactic acid, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and vitamins a and B2. just 1 cup supplies 20-25 percent of daily protein requirements and as much calcium as a glass of milk. The amount of cholesterol in yogurt depends on whether it is made from whole or skim milk.
Restoring the intestinal mucous membranes
An unbalanced diet, constipation or misuse of laxatives can harm healthy intestinal flora, severly impairing the body's ability to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. Nutritional deficiencies and even serious intestinal disorders can result. Yogurt's lactic acid helps restore healthy intestinal flora and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
Yogurt for calcium deficiency
Osteoporosis is caused by a calcium deficiency, but yogurt can come to the rescue. As a preventive measure or as part of osteoporosis treatment, add 1 ¼ - 2 cups of yogurt per day to your diet. Only 2 cups of yogurt supplies 585 mg. of calcium, almost 75% of the recommended daily dose of 800 mg. For the added benefit of more vitamins, mix fresh or dried fruit into your yogurt.
First aid : To ease the pain of sunburned skin, carefully apply chilled yogurt to the burned area and leave it on until it no longer feels cool. Repeat several times until the pain subsides.
Used for constipation, damaged intestinal flora, dry skin, sunburn and other minor burns; preventing osteoporosis; and as apart of a healthy diet.
- 1 tsp. wheat bran
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tsp. honey
As part of your breakfast, mix the wheat bran into the yogurt and sweeten to taste with the honey. Also drink herb or fruit tree, but avoid black tea as it causes constipation. Throughout the day, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. The lactic acid in yogurt ensures healthy intestinal function, and the wheat bran enhances this effect.
Mask for dry skin
- 2 tbsp. almond bran
- 1-2 tbsp. plain yogurt
Apply this moisturizing facial mask at night before going to bed. Begin by preparing the facial mask: mix almond bran with the yogurt to achieve a relatively thick consistency. Before applying the mask, pull back your hair then wash your face and neck thoroughly. Next, gently apply the mask to your neck and face, being careful to avoid your mouth and eye area. As you apply the moisturizing mask, lightly massage your skin in circular motions to increase circulation. Leave the mask on for 10 min., and then wash it off with lukewarm water. As a final touch, apply your favorite face cream.