White Mountain Foods | October 3rd, 2016
Yogurt was one of the first foods to be termed “health food” in this country. During the health food movement that blossomed at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s yogurt was touted as a life giving tonic and aide to over-all system health. Due in large part to studies done by Russian biologists, Bulgarian yogurt in particular was shown to greatly contribute to the health and longevity of the inhabitants of the Black Sea/Caucasian region of Asia including Bulgaria. To this day that region has one of the highest percentages of centenarians on the planet.
Yogurt is a member of a class of food termed “super foods”. Yogurt, cheese, butter milk, kefir, bread, tempeh, shoyu, pickled foods, wine, etc., are all examples of foods that are the result of microbial or enzyme (yeast, bacteria, fungus, etc.) action on common foodstuffs transforming them into nutritional power houses by breaking down and altering certain food molecules into a more usable form. This allows for easier digestion of the food product and increased level of nutrient absorption.
For example, many people cannot eat milk products in part due to an inability to properly digest lactose, the naturally occurring form of sugar found in milk. The bacteria in yogurt convert the lactose to lactic acid, which is much more easily digestible. The bacteria transferred to the intestines from the consumption of yogurt will also assist in the digestion of all food and help fight off invasion by other bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses. Foreign, harmful bacteria have a hard time getting a toehold in our body if there is already a healthy, thriving beneficial bacteria colony taking up the available space and food.
Our body requires microbes to be present in order to properly digest the food we consume. Our intestinal tracts are inoculated with bacteria during pregnancy and from our mother’s milk shortly after birth, which helps us digest our food properly and efficiently. Bottle-feeding, age, use of antibiotics, chemotherapy or poor dietary habits can cause our intestinal bacteria to be severely depleted. Regular consumption of yogurt will restock our intestinal tract with the bacteria it needs to provide us with the nutrients necessary to maintain overall system health.
Yogurt is not meant to be just a probiotic supplement. Traditional yogurt is an immune system supporting staple food product packed with easily digestible protein, vitamins and minerals that provides a highly energizing effect on the body.
Around the world yogurt is a part of many traditional diets and is eaten with just about anything from cold soup to rice and lamb and mixed with honey and spices for dessert.