Yogurt: Enemy or Best Friend

The yogurt sitting in your refrigerator seems like a modest health choice but may not be as wise as you think.  True, yogurt is a great source of protein, probiotics, and potassium, but it can also be an unwanted source of sugar.  Have you looked at the nutrition facts on your favorite yogurt lately?

All yogurt, even plain, will contain sugar because of the lactose in milk.  However, a six-ounce serving of a typical flavored yogurt can easily contain 17 grams of added sugar!  Compare that to the 17 grams of sugar found in a Pop-Tart, and a supposedly healthy breakfast heads into a downward spiral real quickly. Wondering about the recent Greek yogurt trend? If you’ve been picking out Greek yogurt instead of regular, you should still be cautious of those tempting honey- or fruit-flavored Greek yogurt options.  Flavored Greek yogurt still has about 12 more grams of sugar than plain Greek yogurt.

The best choice is to stick with plain and add your own mix-ins at home.  Stir in some fresh or frozen berries, some homemade granola, or even add a teaspoon of honey (containing 4.5 grams of one of the healthiest forms of sugar) or organic jam–the few grams of sugar from honey or jam will be much better than the 17 grams found in the flavored yogurt!  It may take a little while to adjust to the tartness of plain yogurt, but it’s worth the effort and you may find you soon develop a taste for it.

To read our article on yogurt’s health benefits, click here.

Originally posted 2013-03-15 22:32:00.

Eight reasons you should eat yogurt daily.

 

Yogurt is one of those foods that has so many benefits that it just makes sense to eat it on a daily basis.  While it’s gained a bit of a reputation as a “girly” food, yogurt is a super food that packs significant health benefits for nearly everyone, from housewives to football players.  Here are the reasons why:

1) Can I get some more bacteria please???  Yogurt is loaded with several forms of healthy bacteria, including lactobacillus.   These bacteria colonize the colon and help improve digestion, boost the immune system, reduce or prevent the symptoms of yeast infection, and can even help lessen the likelihood of colon cancer. 

2) Yogurt is one of the best sources of digestible calcium.  An 8 oz serving provides nearly 50% of your daily need for calcium.  In addition to the calcium, yogurt contains a protein called lactoferrin, which enhances the activity and diversity of the cells that are responsible for bone formation (called osteoblasts).  Besides supporting the development of strong bones and teeth, calcium is also important for a healthy nervous system and proper muscle function.

3) An 8 oz serving also provides almost 60% of your daily need for iodine!  The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones, which control the body’s metabolism.  A shortage of iodine can cause a sluggish metabolism as well as a host of other problems.  Iodine is also especially important for women’s health.

4) Yogurt may promote lean muscle mass. In addition to providing a generous amount of high quality protein that supports muscle growth when combined with resistance training, consumption of yogurt has been linked to healthy weight loss.  Several studies have found links between dairy consumption and fat loss.

5) Freshens breath and promotes good oral hygiene.  The bacteria in yogurt fight off the bacteria that cause plaque and bad breath.

6) The probiotics in yogurt help reduce inflammation and may lessen the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.  In a medical study performed in Israel, researchers fed lactobacillus to lab animals that were affected with arthritis.  As a result, the animals showed a significant reduction in inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis! 

7) Since it has less lactose than other dairy products, it can often be enjoyed by those who are mildly lactose intolerant.  When yogurt is fermented, the bacteria break the lactose (milk sugar) down into lactic acid.  The lactic acid affects the milk protein, which thickens the milk and gives yogurt its distinct texture and flavor.  

8) At MIT, a study with mice found that mice fed yogurt had increased fertility, shinier fur, and increased sex appeal.  It’s possible that people who eat yogurt might obtain these benefits as well (minus the shiny fur)!  Given all of yogurt’s other benefits, it’s worth a try!

A quick note: I recommend eating yogurt that’s made with organic milk from grass fed cows!  Also, to avoid all the refined sugar and additives, stick with plain yogurt and add your own healthy toppings, like raw honey and/or berries!


References:

MIT study
Yogurt and metabolic syndrome
Yogurt and fat loss

Originally posted 2012-11-13 23:15:00.

What soil erosion, probiotics, and sauerkraut have to do with your health:

Topsoil supplies are being depleted at an alarming rate. Industrial agricultural practices like mechanized plowing, mono-crop planting, and enormous farms deplete the top soil and leave remaining deposits vulnerable to erosion by wind and water. The majority of land used for agriculture today doesn’t actual contain a healthy amount of top soil. Soil is living – it contains organic matter, bacteria, and other living organisms. The bacteria in soil suppress harmful funguses, affix nitrogen to the soil, and break down organic matter into useful material. By contrast, most food today is grown in dead dirt. Dirt requires fertilizers and pesticides to make it fruitful. Yet, while all this may sound interesting or even alarming, you might be wondering what it has to do with human health.

Actually, the state of soil has a lot to do with health; In fact, the very future of food depends on healthy soil. More immediately, however, topsoil also impacts another area of health: your intestines. Every gram of healthy soil is filled with millions of bacteria. In a previous time, people used to grow or harvest their food from healthy soil, lightly wash it, and eat it along with a mouthful of healthy bacteria. As a result of soil erosion, it turns out we are consuming a lot fewer healthy bacteria than we used to. There are over twenty varieties of bacterial strands that serve various functions in the digestive system. Intestinal bacteria help prevent infections, bolster the immune system, prevent disease, promote healthy digestion, and can help preserve critical nutrients. Much of these benefits are lost, however, if the digestive system isn’t regularly replenished with healthy bacteria, a task that is becoming increasingly difficult in our modern, sterilized age.

There are a number of food sources, however, from which healthy bacteria can be obtained. Yogurt is a well known source of the probiotic (bacteria) acidophilus (learn how to make your own yogurt by clicking here). Ingestion of acidophilus supports the immune system, prevents infections, and aids the digestion of vitamins K and B, as well as calcium. Sauerkraut is a lesser known source of probiotics but contains a plentiful amount of bacteria known as Lactobacilli Plantarum.  Sauerkaut’s probiotics help the body fight irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis. Kefir is another excellent probiotic source, as it contains a variety of bacterial strains not found in yogurt. Outside of fermented food sources, the best way to replenish your digestive system’s flora is by taking a probiotic supplement. Affordable supplements are available that provide upwards of ten different bacterial strands in convenient pill form. For more information on probiotics visit: http://probiotics.org

The human dependence on microorganisms for optimum health speaks to the complexity and amazing symbiosis of God’s creation. The degradation of top soil and the resulting effect on human health is another example of how human efforts fail to procure a better life on earth. God created everything to work together in the best possible way – human pride and self-reliance only result in destruction of the good things God provided to keep us healthy and happy.

Originally posted 2011-07-31 10:29:00.

Make Your Own Sauerkraut

There’s nothing quite like brats or corned beef with some fresh homemade sauerkraut!  Sauerkraut has been made at home for centuries as a way to preserve and enjoy the cabbage harvest.  Cabbage is one of the healthiest vegetables known to man, and sauerkraut makes it even healthier by adding probiotics!  It’s unfortunate that not as many people are making sauerkraut at home these days, since it’s easy to make and more delicious than the store-bought stuff!

sauerkraut-ingredients
All the ingredients you’ll need: cabbage, salt, jar, and knife!
cabbage-chopped-1
Chop the cabbage according to your preference.
cabbage-salt-2
Any salt will work, but we like pink Himalayan because of its extra trace mineral content.
cabbage-wilted-3
After the salt is added and the cabbage is massaged, the cabbage will shrink down considerably.
After the cabbage is thoroughly wilted and massaged, put the cabbage and extracted water in a jar and wait patiently!
After the cabbage is thoroughly wilted and massaged, put the cabbage and extracted water in a jar and wait patiently!

Originally posted 2013-07-13 01:44:23.