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I was reading the newspaper and I saw this article about yogurt. It has been a known fact that yogurt is healthy for our bodies (just see how companies market it so much these days). However, there would be a relative population who needed some push to believe so I’m pasting below the article. Hope you enjoy reading this then grab a tumbler of yogurt!

Yogurt for health? Yo!
MIND YOUR BODY By Willie T. Ong, MD (The Philippine Star) Updated March 02, 2010 12:00 AM
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Have you tried eating yogurt? Yogurt, one of the world’s healthiest foods, is actually made from fermented milk. Yogurt is regarded by experts as a complete food, having the perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Yogurt has calcium for the bones, potassium for the muscles, and vitamin B for the nerves.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a cup of regular yogurt (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) gives the following nutritional values: 61 calories, 4.7 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 3.5 g of protein, 4.7 g of sugar, 3.3 g of fat, 121 mg of calcium, 250 mg of potassium, 16 mg of magnesium, and the B vitamins.

But more than your regular milk, yogurt has the added health value of probiotics, the good bacteria our body needs, such as your lactobacilli. Let us look at the possible ways yogurt can help us:

• For those who can’t tolerate milk. A substantial number of Asians (including me) can’t tolerate milk. Some people have trouble digesting milk proteins and the sugar lactose in milk. They develop bloating and diarrhea. As an alternative, eating a cup of yogurt a day doesn’t give the same unwanted effects.

According to Dr. John Briffa, a London physician, columnist, and nutrition expert, yogurt is less likely to cause an upset stomach for two reasons. First, the healthy bacteria used to make yogurt help in partially digesting the milk proteins. Second, these friendly bacteria also digest the sugar lactose, converting it to lactic acid. Thus, yogurt contains less of these diarrhea-inducing components.

• May help prevent stomach cancer, ulcer, and colon cancer. Dr. John Briffa writes that the healthy bacteria in yogurt have the potential to help people with stomach ulcer, food poisoning, constipation, diarrhea, and other bowel-related problems. The presence of good bacteria in yogurt somehow helps ward off and displace the bad bacteria.

One such annoying bug, called Helicobacter pylori, is known to cause stomach ulcers. A Taiwan study shows that two probiotics in yogurt — lactobacillus and bifidobacterium — help treat patients with ulcers and are taking medicines to treat Helicobacter pyloriinfection.

• For strengthening the immune system. Several studies have shown that yogurt assists our immune system. A breakthrough study by Dr. Georges M. Halpern of the University of California School of Medicine shows that eating two cups of yogurt a day for four months can increase our body’s gamma interferon (substances fighting infections) by five times. Dr. Halpern and colleagues found that yogurt with specific live active cultures (containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) boosted interferon levels.

In addition, a one-year follow-up study by Dr. Halpern shows that eating six ounces of yogurt a day can help prevent colds, hay fever, and diarrhea. And if ever the patients developed a cold, the symptoms were less troublesome.

Yet another research done on elderly people shows a significant reduction in the duration of illness (including gastrointestinal and respiratory illness) in those taking yogurt. Because of its effect on the immune system, yogurt is believed to be beneficial, too, for people with allergy, various cancers, and HIV-AIDS.

• For those taking antibiotics, especially children. Whenever you take antibiotics, it’s commonsense to take a cup of yogurt every day. Although antibiotics are extremely helpful medicines, they can sometimes destroy the good bacteria, along with the bad bacteria. Some experts believe that eating yogurt will help replace the good bacteria that may have been destroyed by the antibiotic. One study suggests that eating certain probiotics (named L. casei, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus) can also reduce the incidence of diarrhea, a possible side effect caused by taking antibiotics.

• To help prevent osteoporosis. We know that both calcium and vitamin D play a major role in preventing osteoporosis. And since a cup of yogurt contains 12 percent of our daily calcium needs, this can help protect our bones. Check the labels because some yogurt preparations are made with added vitamin D. Other food sources with vitamin D are eggs and sardines. Early morning sunshine also helps our bodies produce vitamin D.

• To help treat vaginal yeast infection. Symptoms of this common vaginal infection (called candida) are itchiness and the presence of a whitish discharge in the vaginal area. Doctors usually prescribe an anti-fungal suppository for seven days. Aside from medications, experts suggest eating a cup of yogurt for five days to help replenish the healthy lactobacillus in the body. One study reported that women who take a cup of yogurt a day had less vaginal yeast infection and less urinary tract infection (UTI). Yogurt researcher Dr. Georges Halpern believes that yogurt is especially beneficial for women, “Yogurt boosts immunity, delivers lots of available calcium, and helps prevent vaginitis.”

• To help treat canker sores (locally called singaw). Canker sores are small, shallow, and painful lesions inside the mouth. It’s not contagious, but it can make eating and talking very painful. It usually starts with a small injury (from teeth braces, accidental biting, and abrasion from the teeth).

From my own experience, ear, nose, throat specialist Dr. Elmer De La Cruz advised me to eat yogurt. According to Dr. De La Cruz, yogurt is particularly helpful because it coats all of the painful sores, even in places that are hard to reach, like the throat and inner gums. I tried it and it was a great relief! One technique is to take in one to two tablespoons of yogurt every hour or two, so as to cover the canker sores and hasten their healing.

• To help you lose weight. Compared with regular ice cream, yogurt has fewer calories, less fat, and less sugar. A small cup of yogurt yields only around 70 calories. In fact, a small study from the University of Washington in Seattle shows that eating yogurt makes one feel fuller and less hungry, compared to drinking fruit juices and other sugary drinks. So it pays to indulge in yogurt instead.

Some final tips when buying yogurt. First, you may choose the low-fat or fat-free variety. Second, make sure also that your yogurt has “live and active cultures,” which means that it has the healthy bacteria inside. Third, be sure it’s not yet expired.

And so, if you want to be healthy, many experts will agree: Have some yogurt today.

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