Yogurt-the original health food

Yogurt-the original health food – Abstract

It used to be that eating yogurt in itself qualified you as a health nut. Those days are long gone and yogurt is as un-weird as a glass of milk. But guess what? Yogurt may, in fact, be the ultimate health food by enhancing the immune response in those who eat it regularly. A recent review of the research on the immunological effects of yogurt with active cultures concluded that although many of the studies are flawed, in toto they produce compelling evidence that yogurt improves resistance to immune related disease.

That literature review did not even have the benefit of two newly published studies further confirming the claim that eating yogurt enhances immunity. In the first study, mice were fed yogurt and immune response variables were measured and compared to controls. In a wide variety of immune functions, supplementing the diet with yogurt significantly improved immunity of the mice.

The second study followed 25 healthy, elderly human volunteers in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study. Volunteers were given either milk or milk with active yogurt bacteria (Bifidobacterium lactis) for six weeks. Immune response variables were then measured and the subjects who consumed the yogurt bacteria benefited by a significantly enhanced immune response as compared to controls. The authors concluded that these results were more than just interesting on paper. These measurable improvements are likely to provide significant health benefits to those who eat their yogurt.

You always knew yogurt was good for you–it provides beneficial cultures that aid in digestion and provides an excellent source of calcium. But, did you ever think it might help keep your immune system in top form? Now you know. Be sure to eat yogurt with active cultures. There are lots of yogurt-like products out there that are closer to being gelatinized milk than they are to yogurt. Look for brands that brag of “live” or “active” cultures–they help keep your immune system running in peak condition.

(European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1000, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp. 263-267; British Journal of Nutrition, 2000, Vol. 83, No. 2, pp. 167-176; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol. 71, No. 4. pp. 861-872)

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