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  Diet & Nutrition

June 2011
Yoghurt The Wonder Food
Neha Gupta
Yoghurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. People who are moderatelylactose intolerant can consume it without ill effects, because much of the lactose in the milk is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial culture in yoghurt. Probiotics are "friendly bacteria" that are naturally present in the digestive system. Live strains of these "good bacteria" are also found in many yoghurt products.

Good bacteria prevent imbalances in the body’s yeast levels, which can prevent various types of yeast infections. It has been shown that good bacteria can also prevent urinary tract infections. If you are taking antibiotics, they may be destroying the good bacteria present in your body. Eating yoghurt regularly can help restore your good bacteria levels.

Uses of Yoghurt
Externally, lactic acid and enzymes in yoghurt help to hydrate and soothe the skin, leaving it soft and smooth. The cleansing properties that make it beneficial to digestion, purify the skin as well, both when applied directly to the skin and when ingested. As a sunburn remedy, it soothes the pain and improves redness. Applied to the scalp, it can relieve itchiness and act against dandruff. When combined with honey and lemon juice, yoghurt makes a moisturizing and exfoliating mask, great for softening the face and neck and minimizing discolouration.

During summers, when people mostly suffer from diarrhoea and constipation, yoghurt helps in keeping the digestive system healthy and manages the nutrient stores inside the body, so the person doesn’t feel tired during summers.

Healthy Options From Yoghurt
  • Buttermilk: A refreshing drink made out of beaten yoghurt.
  • Fruit yoghurt: Fruit (like pomegranate) blended in yoghurt.
  • Vegetable raita: Shredded cucumber, onion, carrot or cabbage, added to yoghurt with seasonings.
  • Yoghurt dip: Finely chopped carrot, capsicum, cucumber, green chilli can be added into properly whipped yoghurt and served as a dip.
  • Shrikhand: Yoghurt is drained well through a muslin cloth, and sugar, nuts and saffron added to it. Chilled before serving, it is an excellent dessert.

Neha Gupta is Lifestyle Counsellor, Apollo Life, New Delhi

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