Historians agree that yogurt was likely discovered by accident centuries ago, when milk was unable to be stored properly. Many historical accounts attribute yogurt to herdsman in Central Asia, who began milking their animals and storing the milk in animal stomachs, which they used as carrying containers. The natural enzymes would curdle the milk, essentially making yogurt.
Since then, yogurt has become a popular source of nutrients. It’s full of protein, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. Yogurt is made when lactic-acid producing cultures (also known as probiotics) are added to milk products, which thickens and creates that sour taste. The cultures used to make yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Other probiotics can be added to increase health benefits by maintaining the balance of bacteria in the digestive system and promoting proper gut function.
Yogurt also helps boost the immune system, and can sometimes be enjoyed by people with lactose intolerance because it contains lower amounts of lactose than milk and other dairy products. It’s a great source of calcium and phosphorus, as well as vitamins A, C, D, E, K and more. Some yogurt can contain a lot of sugar in the form of flavoring and additives, so be sure to look for the most natural yogurt possible.
Greek yogurt is thought to be a healthier choice than other kinds of yogurt. It has almost twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt and less than half the sodium. Yogurt is an extremely versatile food, and can be combined with many other things to enhance flavor and health benefits. Serve it with muesli for breakfast, or combine natural yogurt with blueberries, raspberries and other fruits as an after-school snack.