Is Yogurt Good For You?

By Ekaterina Morrissey

The importance of probiotics and how to get them

When we hear the word “probiotic” we think yogurt. While in the yogurt section of the local supermarket we see most of the containers having ” probiotic” on the label. Do you know what probiotics are? Let’s get on it and understand how they benefit you.
Nobody really knows the origins of yogurt. It has been assumed that milk has been left on the sun and instead of spoiling, has fermented. This dates back to XI Century and even earlier. It was used by the medieval Turks as it has been recorded in some of their books from ancient times. The earliest yogurt were perhaps fermented by wild bacteria in goat skin bags. It is recorded that Francis I of France suffered from severe diarrhea and no doctor had cure for it. Then his ally Suleiman the Magnificent – the ruler of the Ottoman Empire then, send a doctor, who cured Francis I with yogurt. The French, being thankful spread the word of the magic food. By the 1900s, yogurt was in the diet of the Russian Empire people and all of Europe. It has been introduced in the United States in first decade of the XX Century as type of health food. This marked the begging of a downward spiral for this once healthy product.

So, if you currently spend your hard earned money on any of the popular yogurt brands and think you are actually getting health benefits and boosting your digestive tract, I’d warn you to reconsider. What food manufacturers don’t want you to know is that many store- bought yogurt products are waste of your money. Most yogurts find in the supermarket are loaded with sugar, and worst, high fructose corn syrup, as well as other additives, and are heat processed, which destroy their live bacterial cultures. Many people have lactose intolerance or digesting dairy issues; pasteurization kills the lactase enzyme, which is the enzyme that makes the dairy easily digestible. So, eating those sweetened and overly pasteurized yogurts will be met poorly by most people’s digestive tracts, by creating difficult digestion and harm to your gut’s balance.
We have also been warn by researchers that about half of the probiotic products on the market do not have the bacteria listed on the label.

Lets talk a little bit about our GI tract ( gastrointestinal track or gut). The GI tract is a long hollow tube which begins at you mouth and ends at your anus. About 60 tons of food will pass through your GI tract over your lifetime. The gut’s function is to digest the food and extract energy and nutrients, and expel the leftover material from your body as waste. My concerns, In this blog are primarly the lower parts of the digestive system, your small and large intestines. Your small intestine is about 20 feet long or about 3 1/2 times as long as your height. Your small intestine plays crucial role in taking partially digested food from your stomach and absorbing as much as possible nutrients from it. 90% of digestion and absorption takes place in your small intestine. There is a great number of the “friendly” bacteria of the “Lactobacillus” type found in your small intestine. After the small intestine finish it’s job, leftover food passes into your large intestine. The large intestine is shorter, about 5 feet long but it’s name really has to do with the width of the tube. Your large intestine has many important functions in digestion, like additional absorption of vitamins and minerals, particularly some B vitamins and essential to blood coating, vitamin K. Water and salts get absorb there too, which helps maintain proper fluid balance of your blood. A healthy large intestine contains plenty of ” friendly” bacteria, from the Bifidobacteria type. All together, your small and large intestine are home to about 100 trillion bacteria which in total are weighting 2-3 pounds!

So, to maintain optimum health, about 85% of the bacteria in your gut should be ” friendly” bacteria, such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria.
What most people today are facing is imbalanced ratio. The ” unfriendly” bacteria outgrows and crowds the ” friendly” bacteria. The ” friendly” bacteria is also known as probiotics which comes from the Greek “for life”. When the balance is thrown out of whack, the result is illness ranging from colds and allergies to diarrhea and immune disorders. The newest researches are now finding out that probiotics prevent cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and celiac disease.

More than 100 million people in Untied States suffer from digestive issues and bathroom frustrations such as:
– Constipation
– Diarrhea
– IBM ( Irregular Bowel Movement)
– Gas or Bloating
– Abdominal Discomfort

Good news is: there is way to keep your digestive tract balanced and run smoothly!

Should you take probiotics? And what else…?

It may not be the answer of all your health problems, but it’s very important to make sure you have the them in your system. How?

Probiotics exist naturally in a number of foods:
– fermented foods, like yogurt ( look for whole goat or sheep plain yogurt, or even better you can make your own at home), you can add a tea spoon of local honey or fruit and nuts to it.
pickles and sauerkraut, something I grew up with, and home made too.
probiotic supplements are for people who don’t have a taste for probiotic rich foods and is my last choice. It’s always better to get the bacteria the natural way.
– organic wine, which has fermented naturally.
– cut the junk from your diet.
– reduce the use of antibacterial products. Use plain old method to wash your hands, soap bar and warm water, and clean your home with nontoxic cleaners.
– only when absolutely necessary take antibiotics. They destroy the good bacteria, leaving your body open for disease.

What to look for when buying probiotic supplements?

If you really have to go for probiotic supplements, I suggest looking for brands from established name and manufacturer, online or at the local Health Food Store. You want to get a supplement containing at least several billion cells per dose ( some have only a million). You want to experiment with different dosage and see which one works best for you.

To your optimum health,


I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment.

  1. The yogurt we should eat can be purchased at our local health food store. Does it have sugaring it.

    • no added sugar in the plain yogurts, only in the ones with fruits.

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