Nowadays people prefer vegetarian diets for many reasons. Some are spiritually inclined, some are worried about the environment and animal rights while some want to lose weight. Reasons may be many, including personal choice. When the life is too busy, there is absolutely no time to think about food, forget about thinking about their nutritional values. Whether you are vegetarian or not, your diet must include an adequate amount of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and fats along with micronutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium etc. Foods which are rich in nutrients keep you on your toes.
But how many are aware of and care about nutritional food values and how the diet should be planned? Especially in a country like India where people are under tremendous pressure to make their both ends meet? When a vegetarian diet isn’t planned in a manner as it should be, then the trouble related to nutrition can start. It’s not only about vegetarians but also for people who suddenly stops eating meat and instead, decides to be a vegetarian.
If you are a vegetarian, how frequently you check with your protein intake? One very good source of protein for all you vegetarians is yoghurt/curd.
Let us first understand the difference between yoghurt and curd.
- Indian curd is made by boiling and cooling the milk to lukewarm state and then adding a spoonful of curd. Curd has lactic acid bacteria or lactobacillus. This bacteria multiplies itself in the ambient temperature and in few hours ferments the milk to form the curd.
- Yoghurt is prepared similarly but the fermentation of the milk is done by adding other specific strains of bacteria like Lactobacillus bulgaris, streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus casei. Other strains of lactic acid bacteria may also be added. This ensures both quality and right quantity of bacteria in the yoghurt. Sometimes vitamin D is also added to yoghurt to enhance its nutritional value.
Hence, you can yoghurt of your choice from the market or you can have homemade curd. Nothing else is easier than preparing curd at home!
Yoghurt/Curd is a good source of protein, vitaminB6 and B12, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and other minerals. It’s a source of fat too but you have a choice of low-fat or fat-free yoghurt if you are hypertensive and diabetic. Due to the presence of protein and calcium, yoghurt helps in building bones, prevents osteoporosis, and keeps your muscles relaxed after a workout (or prevents post work out muscle trauma).
The presence of bacteria or more precisely, the probiotic bacteria keeps your gut healthy. Our digestive tract needs these bacteria which help in digestion and keeps away other gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, colon cancer, and more importantly H.pyroli (a bacteria) infection. Chronic H. pylori infection causes ulcer and stomach cancer.
Yoghurt helps to reduce lactose intolerance. Scientists believe that probiotics in yoghurt boost the release of beta-galactosidase, an enzyme that enhances lactose digestion.
Scientific evidence reveals that addition of yoghurt to your diet can protect you from the development of several types of cancer like colon, bladder, and breast.
Yoghurt helps in reducing obesity. The main component of yoghurt, calcium is responsible for its anti-obesity benefits. Calcium can suppress the release of the hormone calcitriol, thereby halting fat storage and promotes fat breakdown. The anti-obesity activity thereby reduces the risk of Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also enhances the immune system of the body.
Yoghurt also helps in reducing hypertension and increases HDL. It can prevent gum disease too.
Enough of good side effects of yoghurt. Excess intake may cause prostate cancer and kidney stone due to high intake of calcium. And many people can’t tolerate milk sugar (lactose). So they may avoid having yoghurt in case yoghurt can’t improve their lactose intolerance condition.
I wanted you to know the health benefits of yoghurt or curd. A food which can be prepared easily is so beneficial. So, why wait? Let me give you some idea to have yoghurt in your diet in the easiest way.
- Always have fresh yoghurt/ curd. Have it during breakfast with fruits or alone.
- You can have yoghurt, cereals and banana mixed together. It makes a nutritious food.
- Prepare a smoothie of hung curd and mango. Take equal quantity of mango pulp and hung curd. Add sugar (optional). Blend it, relish it instead of an ice cream. Have a better food than ice cream.￼
- Prepare a thinner blend of yoghurt/curd (Indian lassi) with any fruit crush like blueberry, strawberry or black currant. Add a pinch of salt. Add few ice cubes (optional). Have it after lunch or in hot summer, anytime.
- There is a famous preparation of ‘sweet curd’ in India. It can replace ice cream.
- Add curd in different recipes of paneer or vegetables.
- Prepare delicious Curd Rice.
Eat healthily. Daily intake of curd will help you to live longer.
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