Yogurt has become one of the most common food items seen on the dairy-aisle display section. In some grocery stores, there is even a wider variety of yogurt displayed than traditional dairy products.

What is a Yogurt?

Yogurt is a type of food that is custard-like and has a tart flavor. It is prepared from milk that has been turned sour by bacteria, specifically the bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Streptococcus thermophilus is also a bacteria that is partly responsible for the curdling of milk for yogurt production. To make yogurt palatable, it has fruit added, making it sweet-tasting.

The milk that is used for making yogurt can either be cows’ milk, goats’ milk, sheep milk or soy milk. The bacteria that is added to the milk breaks down part of the milk’s main sugar, lactose, into lactic acid. When sufficient lactic acid has been produced, the milk then coagulates. When the fermentation process of yogurt is finished, it is then cooled, primarily for preservation.

Health Benefits of Yogurt

Yogurt is a very good source of a number of nutrients. These nutrients include protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B. Plain yogurt almost has the same nutritional value as regular milk, plus a few additional nutrients resulting from its fermentation. Commercial yogurt has different values for fat, calories and carbohydrates. Generally, plain yogurts have 7% carbohydrate content and fruit-flavored yogurts have between 11% to 18% carbohydrate content. At most, a yogurt can contain up to 10% fat content while its cholesterol level varies from 7.5 mg to 12.5 mg for every 100 g, both for flavored and plain varieties.

Yogurt is said to be beneficial to health. It is recommended for longevity of life and is said to be helpful in the proper function of the digestive system. Yogurt is also said to help treat vaginal infections or inflammations. It is also recommended in preventing certain types of cancer. Yogurt also contains bacteria that help facilitate lactose digestion.

Are There Disadvantages in Yogurt?

“Conventional,” or inorganic yogurt, is produced in factory farms which inject rBGH into cows that are healthy. This compound, which is a growth hormone, will enable these cows to produce a relatively greater amount of milk (according to a published article from “The Huffington Post”). These cows are also given antibiotics in order to remain free from diseases and able to produce milk. These antibiotics and hormones might be transferred to humans that consume the yogurt coming from these cows. According to the Coalition of Cancer Prevention, these antibiotics and hormones are linked to certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.

Purchasing yogurt that is organically produced with milk from cows that do not receive hormones or antibiotics is a good way to obtain yogurt’s benefits and not the side effects.