Yogurt has become an integral part of our diet. In fact it is now being hailed as health food . Yogurt is nothing but bacterial fermentation of milk , a process which produces Lactic acid. Yogurt has a history dating back to almost 6000 years.
Going by records it was discovered in the Middle Eastern and Asian regions by the nomads who carried milk in Goat skin bags, which turned sour and thick after a couple of days which was liked and relished by the nomads. This became a practice with the tribals when they started making curds in goatskin containers and bags.
There is an old story of a Rajasthani tribal who carried milk across the Thar dessert . On reaching home , his wife opened the Goat skin bag in which he carried the milk and found that it had turned into a firm solidified white mass .Either way, Yogurt was discovered by the wandering tribes and later made its entry into the civilized world.
One also comes across reference to Yogurt in the epic Mahabharata and in Turkish books like Diwan Lughat al-Turk written in the 11th century. It was a natural beauty product as well used by the ladies of those days to clean their hair and skin .
Yogurt was introduced to Europe and the United States only in the 1920's and then suddenly the entire western world woke up to the fact that they had discovered a new health food that had its roots in the east.
As health food
1, There is absolutely no doubt that it is a valuable health food for both infants and elderly people with minor ailments . For children, it is one of the most balanced source of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals in a texture that most kids love.
2, For those, who usually have sensitive colons or whose intestines have run out of lactase, yogurt proves to be a valuable food. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt can help replenish the intestines with helpful bacteria before the harmful ones take over.
3,Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and it has been proved that it can lower Cholesterol levels in our system effectively with prolonged use.
4, Low fat Yogurt is also very helpful for those wanting to lose weight .It provides all the required nutrients with lesser number of calories ! Having said that plain or fruit yogurt is in itself is good for dieters since it fills you up and you naturally eat less.
5, According to research , people who ate two cups of live culture yogurt daily for three months or more produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. Yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream thereby boosting our immunity system.
6, People who cannot tolerate milk, either because of a protein allergy or lactose intolerance, which is found in many individuals especially children, can enjoy yogurt. The culturing process makes yogurt easier to digest than milk.
7, The live active cultures found in yogurt create lactase, the enzyme that lactose-intolerant people lack, and another enzyme contained in some yogurts known as beta-galactosidase , also helps improve lactose absorption in lactase-deficient persons.
One can make Yourt at home by adding a little live yogurt to warm milk which has been strained and is free of cream. It takes 5-6 hours to set and form Yogurt. Once the yogurt is set, it is best to refrigerate it, otherwise it ferments and turns sour. Very sour yogurt may not be tasty and can also cause indigestion in some people.There are many varieties of Yogurts depending on different regions
In India where probably it originated, it is popularly known as Dahi in the northern parts and Mosaru in Kannada. Thick curds churned with either sugar or salt makes it a tasty sweet or salt Lassi, which is an extremely popular drink.
During summer months there is no other drink that cools your system like Lassi. Dahi is also diluted and mixed with spices like Roasted cummin powder, pepper powder, crushed ginger and salt to make delicious Masala Butter milk.
Mango, Apple, Banana, Strawberries and other fruits are either blended with yogurt to make a refreshing dessert/ summer drink. Fruit salads are served with a topping of sweetened yogurt or curds as a dessert. Hung curds with added spices makes an excellent dip for crackers and chips.
Raita which is a dish made with Yogurt and vegetables has become well known all over the world where Indian food is popular .
Hung Curds are beaten with sugar and with a dash of Cardamom powder and chopped nuts , is served as a dessert called Sreekand ! This is a favorite dish served at wedding receptions and festvals.
Around the world
In Lebanon Yogurt or Laban as it is known, is very popular and used in a number of dishes mainly salads with vegetables like Cucumber and Aubergines and eaten plain with a dash of salt, pepper and olive oil.
In Egypt it is known as Zabadi and made from Baffalo milk. It is used extensively during the fasting period of Ramadan prior to Id festival. In fact yogurt is used extensively in Greece and the Arab world since it originated from the same region.
In the recent years , Yogurt has become a popular ingredient used in cooking and confectionaries all through the world and now Frozen yogurt served with fruits and other toppings has become very popular in many countries.
Yogurt for beauty and skin care
1, Yogurt mixed with a beaten egg and applied to hair and hair roots is very helpful in getting rid of Dandruff and conditioning the hair.
2, Yogurt mixed with a little Turmeric powder and a few drops of lime juice and applied to the face is excellent for clearing pimple marks, pigmentation and discoloration of the skin.
3, Yogurt can also be mixed with a little corn powder and a few drops of rose water , made into a face mask which is again a natural product that has long lasting benefits for tired and aging skin!
4, Yogurt can also be mixed with ground methi seeds or powdered methi seeds and applied to the hair. This treatment effectively gets rid of dandruff and also conditions the hair making it soft and silky.
Adding Yogurt into your diet and beauty routine has immense all round health benefits