Yoghurt is universally recognised as a healthy food, for various reasons. Like cheese, it contains all the goodness of milk, and has additional benefits. Milk is turned to yoghurt by adding living cultures of beneficial, harmless bacteria. The cultures of choice for the purpose in commercial yoghurt making these days are called AB cultures. AB cultures comprise lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium. These bacteria cause a series of natural reactions which in turn set the milk, so turning into what we call yoghurt, and give it its slightly characteristic acidic flavour. Yoghurt also tenderises meat and is used in many marinades, especially in delicious recipes from India and Greece. Dips made with yoghurt, fresh crushed garlic, and other natural ingredients are particularly delicious as well as being very good for your health. High in protein, vitamins, minerals and good bacteria, natural yoghurt is a perfect health food. Yoghurt, even made from whole milk, is low in fat and high in protein. Low fat yoghurts are made with skimmed milk.
The Kefalos range of delicious locally produced yogurts are very popular in Zimbabwe and are distributed countrywide by The Cheeseman. Kefalos uses probiotic AB cultures to make these yoghurts and offer a range of flavours, including Strawberry, Berries of the Forest, Vanilla, Greek, and Low Fat Yoghurts.
Most of us think of bacteria (germs) as inherently bad. However, only those bacteria which cause the illnesses known as infections are bad for us. These bacteria cause our bodies to react adversely with symptoms such as we get with colds, flu and tummy bugs, as our bodies try to fight and kill these germs, to return the boy to its healthy infection free state. If we are strong and healthy, our immune systems constantly protect us from bacterial and viral infections without us even knowing. It is only when our resistance is low due to fatigue, physical or mental stress that our bodies might succumb to an infection otherwise knocked on the head by the immune system before it got a chance to multiply and spread round our body.
But there are literally millions of bacteria that are essential to good health, living in our bodies in a state of mutually beneficial symbiosis. Without them, we actually get ill! In symbiosis, both organisms benefit from the presence of the other. These bacteria have a fine, sustaining place to live, in various parts of our bodies, particularly in the gut! In return, they maintain a healthy balance for us, ensuring that fungal infections cannot prosper, by competing with them, and greatly assisting normal digestive processes.
Have you noticed how run down you feel after a course of antibiotics, and how your stomach is often upset during and after the course? This is because in the process of killing unwanted bacterial infection, inevitably the drugs also kill the beneficial bacteria we need to keep a healthy balance of gut flora (good bacteria). One easy way to remedy this problem is to eat plenty of natural yoghurt both during and after the antibiotic course, to replace the necessary bacteria that are killed by the anti-biotic.
Candida albicans is a well-known fungal infection which can get right out of hand if the finely-tuned balance of bacteria in the body is knocked out. Over-population of candida leads to thrush infection and a number of other complaints, the long term effects of which are fatigue, headaches, bloating, lethargy, and generally feeling unwell. Usually kept in check by our natural bacteria, candida quickly thrives and spreads if levels of these bacteria drop, as a result of stomach upsets, stress, exhaustion, antibiotic use or poor diet. Candida loves sugar, and can thrive if the diet is high in sugary foods. Regular intake of yoghurt, with high levels of good bacteria, helps keep candida at bay.