What Exactly is Greek Yoghurt?
You may have recently heard about a “new” food Greek Yogurt and wondered what all the fuss is about. Is it better for you? How does it taste? What is so special about Greek yogurt? Let’s take a look at this food and compare it to it’s American counterpart.
This is a common food, a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Fermentation of the milk sugar (lactose) produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give it its texture and its characteristic tang. It is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
Yogurt has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk: people who are moderately lactose-intolerant can enjoy yogurt without ill effects, because the lactose in the milk precursor is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial culture. The reduction of lactose bypasses the affected individuals’ need to process the milk sugar themselves.
It also has medical uses, in particular for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, and in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. One study suggests that eating yogurt containing L. acidophilus helps prevent vulvovaginal candidiasis, though the evidence is not conclusive. It is believed to promote good gum health, possibly because of the probiotic effect of lactic acids present in yogurt.
This is a food which has been strained in a cloth or paper bag or filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese, while preserving yogurt’s distinctive sour taste. Like many yogurts, strained yogurt is often made from milk which has been enriched by boiling off some of the water content, or by adding extra butterfat and powdered milk. “Greek-style” yogurts are similar to Greek strained yogurt, but may be thickened with thickening agents. Or if made the traditional way, are based on domestic (rather than Greek) milk. Greek yogurt’s live and active culture content is much higher than that of regular yogurt. However it should be noted that liquid whey contains cystine, and amino acid that boosts your body’s level s of the Cancer-fighting compound glutathione.
What are probiotics and what good are they?
Yogurt, a great food contains probiotics. Probiotics are dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeasts. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.’
Probiotic bacterial cultures are intended to assist the body’s naturally occurring gut flora, an ecology of microbes, to re-establish themselves. They are sometimes recommended by doctors, and, more frequently, by nutritionists, after a course of antibiotics, or as part of the treatment for gut related candidiasis. Claims are made that probiotics strengthen the immune system to combat allergies, excessive alcohol intake, stress, exposure to toxic substances, and other diseases. In these cases, the bacteria that work well with our bodies may decrease in number, an event which allows harmful competitors to thrive, to the detriment of our health.
So, which is better, America yogurt or Greek Yogurt?
When it comes down to a choice between these great foods, both standard American yogurt and Greek yogurt are great for you, just in different ways. Greek yogurt is, for the most part, more concentrated than American yogurt, so it contains about twice as much protein as American yogurt. But the each contain high amounts of probiotics (although Greek yogurt contains more simply because it is so much more concentraited), so really, you don’t have to choose. Eat them both daily and you will benefit more than if you each just one of the two. And remember, a healthy diet alone won’t help you keep your weight and health in check.