Properties of yoghurt, source of health
Yoghurt is a traditional part of the Mediterranean diet, and is an ideal component of a healthy and balanced diet thanks to its nutritional values and health benefits.
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Yoghurt is a dairy product obtained by fermenting milk, usually cow’s milk, with two healthy bacteria: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. It is a healthy food because it contains millions of live microorganisms (probiotics).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), probiotics are living microorganisms that, when consumed in the right quantities, have a beneficial physiological effect on the consumer’s health
Did you know that the very first yoghurts were sold inpharmacies because of their healthy qualities?
Properties of yoghurt
Among the widely-accepted health benefits, the Federation of the Spanish Nutrition, Food and Diet Societies (FESNAD) highlight:
- High nutritional value: yoghurts contain lots of nutrients relative to their calorific content. It is therefore a food appropriate for all stages of life, which brings many benefits despite its low energy and fat content (in its semi-skimmed and skimmed versions). Moreover, it contains high-quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals – calcium and phosphorous in particular. It is also easy to digest.
- It is an excellent source of calcium which is more easily absorbed than from other food sources, which is particularly important for growth into adulthood.
- Yoghurt’s live cultures improve lactose breakdown in people with problems digesting lactose.
- Yoghurt improves calcium absorption. Studies show that yoghurt consumption has a positive correlation with calcium absorption in adults as well as those intolerant to lactose, as it is easier to absorb than from other dairy products such as milk.
In this context, the FESNAD recently presented a consensus on the role of yoghurt and other fermented milks in the good diet of the Spanish population. This consensus has served as a basis for the Spanish Association of Yoghurt and Fresh Dairy Desserts Manufacturers (AEFY) to launch the "1 yoghurt a day” awareness campaign, which aims to promote the incorporation of yoghurt into the different dairy products consumed on a day-to-day basis to increase the intake of essential nutrients like calcium.
Varieties of yoghurt
Currently there are many varieties of yoghurt and, beyond conventional yoghurt, the ingredients and manufacturing process determine the different varieties: yoghurt, liquid, ice cream, fermented milks, etc.
This has the same properties and ingredients as conventional yoghurt, but the preparation is different, as it comes in liquid format that can be drunk instead of eaten with a spoon.
This variety of yoghurt has come a long way, and nowadays you can find many different types of liquid yoghurt, both skimmed and unskimmed, or even with 0% fat.
This variety contains 0% of fat, which, unlike conventional yoghurt, delivers a lower energy intake without changing the rest of nutritional and beneficial properties of yoghurt.
As well as the microorganisms characteristic of yoghurt (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus), these also contain other ingredients. They may be different bacteria, or other elements like plant sterols in the case of cholesterol-lowering dairy products.
This is conventional yoghurt subjected to a freezing process. It retains the same nutritional properties as any yoghurt, but is in a different form.
At the moment it is considered very fashionable and can be served with other foods like pieces of fruit, cereals or chocolate.