Yogurt is fermented milk that has been soured and thickened by adding acid-producing cultures. These cultures of bacteria (probiotics) have some benefits to our digestive system. If you go to the store, you will find that there is a large array of options: light, non-fat, low-fat, Greek, Swiss, fiber-added, and so on. Not all of them have the same benefits, so you must be knowledgeable before choosing.
Please note that those yogurts that say “live and active cultures” on the label actually contain probiotics.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles are the most important probiotics added to milk to produce yogurt. Basically, what these cultures do is to maintain a correct balance of bacteria in your digestive system to ensure proper digestion and boost the immune system.
Studies have suggested that the strength of the immune system depends a lot on the amount of probiotics in the digestive system. Therefore, taking yogurt has a benefit to your defenses.
When it comes to your digestive tract, probiotics in yogurt will help with some gastrointestinal conditions such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Colon cancer
- Lactose intolerance
Some of the cultures or probiotics found in yogurt are thought to directly combine with the intestines microflora to enhance its benefits. This is still in study as some research seem to suggest that probiotics do not really repopulate the gut flora.
Recent studies have found that the amount of good bacteria found in yogurt do not really add a significant amount to the bacteria already present in our intestines. Nevertheless, these cultures are still important and adding a little more actually helps to keep a proper balance. Besides this, yogurt itself has many other properties that makes it an important part of many diets.