Thayir saadham, buttermilk, culture is not only a safe bet in the Indian kitchens but here’s why curd has certain health advantages too, says Consultant Pediatrician and Geneticist. Dr. Prema Lakshminarayana.
Just like the ‘discovery’ of anti-infective properties of turmeric, curds, which has been an important part of our diet is now acclaimed to possess anti-infective and immune boosting properties, as per studies published in number one medical journals like The Lancet and British Medical Journal.
No south Indian meal is considered complete without complete or buttermilk, offering buttermilk to guests has been the culture throughout India, though in cities it is being replaced by cool drinks, tea or coffee. Now the Lactobacillus contained in curds and other fermented food has been observed to protect from certain infections of the gut as well as the respiratory system. These are now called Probiotics, against Antibiotics.
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The lactobacilli, of which there are many types, depending on the source, colonise in the gut as what are called commensals, have been known to help in forming certain vitamins.
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Using lactobacilli for controlling infections is called MIT, or Microbial Interference Treatment and WHO experts recommend this, in view of the emergence of antibiotic resistance as a major public health problem. Though lactobacillus cannot replace antibiotics, this may be used in the prevention and supportive management.
Also here is why curd or yoghurt as it is popularly known in the west is a must have in your daily meal.
Yogurt, which is believed to have originated in Turkey, is milk, either whole or skim. It is fermented into a semisolid food with a sour flavour. Besides the considerable protein and calcium yogurt retains from milk, it also has a number of health benefits not found in milk alone. Yogurt is an easily digested food that can be flavoured in many ways to appeal to those who even don’t like milk. The protein-rich yogurt stimulates alertness chemicals in the brain, making it a wonderful late-day snack. Women especially benefit from the additional protein and calcium which is often deficient in their diets.
Yogurt has also been proven to stimulate human cells to produce more infection-fighting agents. Animal studies have also shown that yogurt in the diet reduces the number of cancerous products that are produced by other intestinal bacteria. The best thing about yogurt is the beneficial effect it has on the intestines. Yogurt is known for helping to prevent or control diarrhoea caused by bacteria or taking antibiotic drugs. Yogurt itself is an antibiotic.
A daily cup of yogurt reduces the incidence of vaginitis (caused by the yeast infection candida) in women. Before you buy yogurt, check the label for the sell-by date. Plain unflavored yogurt in larger containers is the best buy and the most versatile. It’s handy for salad dressings, dips, sauces, desserts and baked goods. You can mix it with fruit for a flavoured yogurt.
What is your favourite yogurt/curd based recipes? Let us know!