Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

A yogurt a day

Can you hear your stomach screaming: “Stop”? After jamming and cramming it with every kind of fish, big, small, pickled, cured, marinated, fermented, salted, soused, dried, fried, buried, dead, oily, smelly! Not to mention coloured eggs, cuddled eggs, Easter eggs, Sham Al-Nessim eggs, boiled, baked, mashed, hashed, chilled, grilled, stuffed in breads, cakes, puddings and pies! Is it any wonder your stomach is grumbling and howling: “Enough!”

With no more energy to process one last bite come down its way, why not give it a rest. We have abused and insulted it shoving food over and above its limited capacity. Will it be able to digest all this? Feasting is over and it is time to clean up!

Spring cleaning must begin from within. To face the task ahead, why not take a deep breath and reach for a yogurt to transform the inner chaos into harmony.

Perhaps bread is not the staff of life after all, yogurt is.

Call it yogurt, yoghurt, youghurt, or jougert has become a favourite universal food. It is nothing more than the fermentation of milk, mostly cows’ milk, but buffalo, goats, ewes, mares, camel and yaks have also been used.

The word is derived from Turkish ‘youghurt’ from the verb ‘yogurmak’… to be curdled, coagulated or thickened. Early yogurts were probably made accidentally, with wild bacteria or yeast infections, immediately fermented in goat skin bags.

Created in Central Asia during the Neolithic Age, almost by chance, yogurt contains strong properties including the ability to stimulate the immune system and kill the “bad bugs” or bacteria in the human gut. The secret to good yogurt is that it contains live culture which is what you should look for on the label. The process of growth from milk to yogurt involves the conversion of lactose into lactic acid, providing the enzyme to digest lactose. The lactic acid in yogurt is a perfect medium to maximize calcium absorption. With an abundance of protein, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, Vitamins B6, B12, it is better than milk… 8 ounces or 400 mg offer 25% more calcium than a glass of milk.

Research has proved its merits over and over and its potential is far from done.  The University of California, at Davis found it provides higher than the average levels of ‘gamma interferon’ associated with birth; a key component of the body’s immune system.

Want to lose weight? Try a pot of fully fat yogurt. Only the fully fat variety protects against weight gain, while low fat does nothing for your waistline. A large scale study by Dr Miguel Gonzales- Martinez, it was presented in Belgium to the European Congress of Obesity.

If you are Lactose intolerant, you have no excuse! Calcium found in dairy products needs to enter the body in an acid matrix or it will not be absorbed. Yogurt’s lactic acid is the perfect medium to maximise calcium absorption. It is well tolerated and prevents bladder and vaginal infections, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

We often think of bacteria as something that causes disease, but your body is full of bacteria both good and bad. Pro-Biotics are “good” live bacteria and yeasts that help your gut to stay healthy. Yogurt ranks highest but Pro-Biotic foods include salmon, sardines, tuna, dark green leafy vegetables, egg-yolks, chicken livers and… chocolate. Forget frozen yogurt… it has no benefits.

Eating yogurt each day is the best thing you can do for your intestinal health, but can yogurt one day battle Cancer?

Calcium and Vitamin D strengthen bones and may also fight off colon cancer according to Harvard epidemiologist Alvaro Alonso. The by-products of yogurt digestion increase your colon acidity and create an inhibitory shield against polyps and tumour-formation. Yogurt raises the level of natural killer cells, slow down the growth of tumour-cells in the gut tract and is able to improve the immune system’s ability to destroy active tumour cells. How exciting is that!

Dr Mark Tangsey, researcher at the Cork Research Centre, Ireland, has even better news. His group found that harmless bacteria from Pro-biotic yogurt. ’bifidobacteria’, naturally travels through the body and can grow inside tumours.  This discovery could one day rule out the need for administering chemotherapy drugs, and reduce the toxic effect many therapies have on healthy cells.“Bacteria can teak out from the gut into the blood inside tumours throughout the body where they can produce whatever we want” says Dr Tangsey: “we can now genetically engineer these bacteria that they will pump out anti-cancer agents specifically inside tumours.”

The main goal of cancer treatment is to focus therapy on tumours without harming healthy cells.

According to Dr Tangsey: “Future treatment could be as simple as handing someone a yogurt suspension containing millions of bacterium.”

How about it yogurt lovers? Is it any wonder that in ancient India yogurt and honey were called “the food of the gods”, and in Persia Abraham’s longevity was due to his regular ingestion of yogurt.

Used as a beverage, it lasts longer than sweet and fresh milk. The scholar Nachmanides comments on the Biblical reference to “The Promised Land”-- “the land flowing with milk and honey” as symptomatic of a particularly fertile place due to the greater food… the dairy product!

A Yogurt a day, may well keep many diseases away, hence many doctors!

This ancient magical food may have already saved many lives amongst those who love it… so, love it!

 “To eat is human, to digest divine”

Charles T Copeland (1860-1952)

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