The benefits of yogurt are innumerous. It reduces the risk of infections, kills bad bacteria, aides in digestion, builds immunity, strengthens bone health, etc. However, a latest study conducted at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston has added one more benefit that makes the milk derivative an essential dietary requirement. The study states that consuming two or more cups of yogurt per week may reduce the risk of colon cancer among men.
“From time to time, studies have proven the benefits of consuming yogurt. The latest study related to colon cancer is based on the fact that yogurt contains the bacteria—Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus— which may reduce cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. It also acts as a good cleanser and reduces the production of cancerous cell. Its anti-acidic property lowers the acid collection in colon that often leads to inflammation,” explains Dr M Wali, Senior Consultant Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.
Elaborating on the research on colon cancer, Dr Shreekant Sharma, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, at Moolchand Hospital, Delhi, says, “There are a few risk factors associated with colon cancer such as inflammation, genetics, BMI, smoking etc. It has been observed that yogurt helps reduce inflammation in colon and therefore lowers the risk of cancer.”
Several other studies have claimed many advantages of yogurt. Women who have five cups or more of it in a week have lower chances of developing high blood pressure. “Intake of yogurt reduces certain infections that cause oral ulcer, urinal tract and vaginal infections. It prevents allergies and asthma, and is also good for the skin. Apart from regulating gut movement and enhancing gut microbiota, yogurt is also beneficial in checking diarrhoea as well as constipation. It also helps prevent heart attack by way of reducing bad cholesterol in the body,” adds Dr Shreekant.
Made from the bacterial fermentation of milk, consuming a cup of yogurt fulfils 49 percent calcium need of the body per day. The same cup also satisfies 38 percent need of phosphorus, 12 percent magnesium and 18 percent potassium requirement of the body. It is also high in protein and good source of Vitamin B, especially B-12 and riboflavin, which protects the body against heart diseases.
Yogurt works well in weight management too. “Being a low-fat, protein-rich item, it has hunger-satiating capacity. The combination of protein and calcium increases the level of the hormones which suppress appetite,” says Sonia Narang, diet expert, Diet and Wellness Clinic, Delhi. Yogurt can be mixed with fruits, nuts and vegetables. It can be a good substitute of one-time meal, as this combination enhances its nutritional value.
There is a flip-side to everything; consumption of artificially flavoured yogurt is not recommended. “Flavoured yogurt contains a large amount of sugar and preservatives-colour, which lead to health issues,” points out Dr Wali. Plain yogurt with no added sugar is beneficial to health. Those who are lactose-intolerant or suffer from milk allergies should also stay away from it as it might trigger health issues. However, with the availability of nondairy milk, nondairy yogurt is a viable alternative. Narang also says that those with tendency to develop cough and cold are advisable to not eat curd at night as it causes mucus development.
the wonder food
Contains protein which helps support the body’s metabolism by appetite control
The presence of live bacteria aids the digestive system
by reducing symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders
Yogurt is rich in vitamins and minerals that play a key role in bone health. Consuming it regularly may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Regardless of its fat content, studies claim yogurt benefits heart health by increasing good cholesterol and reducing BP
It is especially high in calcium, and B vitamins
Women who are consuming five or more yogurt servings per week have 20 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Researcher Dr Andrew Chan, professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, has also found a weaker link between regular yogurt consumption and high blood pressure in men.
Compared to men who didn’t eat any yogurt, those who had at least two servings weekly were 19 percent less likely to develop so-called conventional adenomas, the most common kind of polyps found in the colon and rectum during colonoscopies. The yogurt eaters are also 26 percent less likely to develop adenomas with the highest potential to turn into cancer.