A daily bowl of curd or yogurt is, an elixir of good health and helps in the prevention of many diseases. Curd is considered as a natural healing, nutritious and tasty food. It is a semisolid sour preparation of milk made by its fermentation. It can be eaten plain or with addition of fruits, vegetables, salt, pepper, roasted and powdered cumin, in order to make a tasty complimentary dish to many recipes.
Its origin is linked to India and is a very popular dish, which is consumed all year round due to its favourable health benefits and nutritional value.
Curd is a pre-digested food and contains live bacteria, which give milk (curd) extra health benefits and improve upon its nutritive value. Curd helps to boost the immunity and improves stamina. The health effects of curd are associated with the bacteria which help in the formation of curd. These are lactic-acid producing bacteria, including lactobacillus and streptococcus species.
The studies conducted to evaluate the benefits of curd have also shown positive effects of curd on both the health of the subject’s gastrointestinal tract and also on the prevention and delay of many chronic diseases.
The benefits of yogurt or curd are due to its effect on the gut microflora, bowel transit time and improvement in the gastrointestinal immune response. The benefits of curd or Yogurt are:
- It can be consumed by people who can not consume milk or who have lactose intolerance. This is because the sugar, lactose found in milk is converted to lactic acid in the curd by the bacteria which cause the fermentation of milk. Curd has a very low concentration of lactose as compared to milk.
- It can be consumed during both diarrhoea and constipation. During diarrhoea, milk is harmful as it is not digested or absorbed, whereas curd is better absorbed as it is a pre-digested food. Also, the presence of lactase in curd, the enzyme required for the digestion of milk sugar lactose, makes it easily available for absorption. This lactase is produced by the bacteria which help in the formation of curd.Curd reduces the intestinal transit time in people with habitual constipation. In a study people consuming fermented milk (curd) showed an improvement in their bowel function.
- Curd has a higher antioxidant activity as measured by the ability to scavenge free radicals, which is due to the lactobacillus present in it. These bacteria act as natural scavengers and also help in regulating glucose metabolism and fat metabolism, thereby helping in lowering blood glucose and lipid levels. Many studies have shown that change in the gut microflora by probiotics helps in improving type 2 Diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.
- Curd is the richest form of probiotic and contains a large number of live bacteria which on ingestion exert health benefits. These probiotics offer beneficial and healthy microflora to the gut through diet without risk of adverse effects.
- Intake of curd has shown to be helpful in inhibiting tumour formation and proliferation due to the presence of probiotic lactic acid bacteria.
- Lactobacilli in curd have an antimicrobial effect, which is mainly due to the production of organic acids, such as lactic acid, acetic acid, propionic acid, and sometimes hydrogen peroxide. These acids denature the proteins and cause DNA damage, rapidly killing the other microbes.
- Curd is generally considered an excellent source of high-quality protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12. Folate and B 12 are two vitamins which are synthesized by the bacteria used for making curd.
Interesting Facts About Curd:
- Curd contains gut friendly live bacteria which improve digestion and boost immunity
- Curd helps in beating the heat in summers
- Curd helps in detoxification of the blood
- Curd is a better supplement of calcium than milk
- Curd is also useful in insomnia
- Curd acts as an antibiotic and also helps to relive the diarrhoea caused by antibiotics
- Curd helps in the prevention of ulcers
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