Natural curd for gut health and weight loss


Milk is not everyone’s favourite food but it’s tough to come across someone who dislikes to yoghurt or curd, which is the popular name for milk curdled using live bacteria that is part of traditional diets across most of south Asia and the Middle-east.
Curd has been a staple in India for generations. It is the only fermented food considered sattvic (full of live-giving prana), according to Ayurveda texts, which tout it as the nutritional boost that helps treat disorders ranging from indigestion and fever to anorexia and infertility.
Curd is made when “beneficial” live bacteria (as against bacteria that cause disease) convert milk sugar called lactose into lactic acid, which thickens the milk and gives it the distinctive tart flavour. Since fermentation breaks down lactose into lactic acid, some people with lactose can eat a little curd without experiencing adverse effects.
Since milk is its primary constituent, curd is high in protein (10 gm/100 gm; one small bowl) and calcium (100 gm), and brings with it all the nutritional benefits associated with milk, such as prevention of osteoporosis or brittle-bone disease. Its high live bacterial content improves gut microbiota, which boosts the immune system, break down potentially toxic food compounds, and synthesise certain vitamins and amino acids, including vitamin K and the B vitamins, riboflavin and B12.
Indian Vs Greek: Most types of Indian curds contain higher amounts of calcium than Greek yoghurt, which typically lose calcium when it’s strained to give it a thick and creamy consistency.
Apart from the texture, purists insist that curd if different from Greek yoghurt because the latter is made from fermenting milk with specific strains of bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, with lactobacilli and bifidobacteria sometimes added to it.
Curd from India, on the other hand, has been found to contain at least 250 species of Lactobacillus bacteria, which explains the wide varieties of natural textures and flavours across the country.
For maximum health benefits, it’s best to eat curd in its natural form or with vegetables and fruits added without added sugar. Commercially-available flavoured yoghurts may have up to 20-25 grams of sugar per 150 ml container, which can lead to weight again. Commercial yoghurts may have gelatin added to thicken the texture, and pectin to increase shelf life, so it’s advisable to read the labels.
Health Plus: The biggest plus of yoghurt is its boosting gut health, improving nutrient absorption and lowers symptoms of diarrhoea, including antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Lactobacillus, along with other families of anaerobic “good” bacteria such as peptostreptococcus, bifidobacterium, and clostridium, flourish in the low oxygen environment in the large intestine and prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria by competing for nutrients and attachment sites in the gut’s mucous membranes, which are the primary site of immune activity and production of antimicrobial proteins.
A study that followed 120,877 men and women over 20 years published in The New England Journal of Medicine found yoghurt lowered body weight and protected against heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
It also protects against the chronic inflammatory bowl diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, as well as allergies and H. Pylori infection, which is one of the primary causes of gastroenteritis in India. People with any of these conditions would benefit from eating yoghurt every day, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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