Yoghurt / Kefir (also Vegan Version)
A strong immune system defends your body against infections of many kinds, including the common cold up to serious diseases, such as cancer
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Cosmetic Applications for Yoghurt: Age Spots & Sunburn
Yogurt & Probiotics for our Health & Well-being
Yogurt is valuable because it contains "friendly" bacteria which are extremely important for digestion.
Good bacteria (probiotics) line the intestinal tract and protect the body against harmful bacteria and infections. Whenever we're forced to take antibiotics for serious infection, these antibiotics will kill helpful (as well as harmful) bacteria.
Studies have shown that probiotics contained in some yogurts and Kefir can lead to an improved immune response by increasing the body's white blood cell count. Those probiotics are only found in yogurts with live or active cultures -- specifically the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. Traditional kefir is similar to yogurt but cultured with special kefir grains, so it contains slightly different bacteria. Unlike the bacteria in yogurt, which are transient and pass through the system over time, the bacteria in kefir are capable of colonizing in the intestinal tract. Kefir also contains good yeasts that help fight off pathogenic yeasts in the body.
Additionally, eating yogurt daily (or other fermented milk products, such as kefir or buttermilk) can help one in four of us get their high blood pressure under control as effectively as commonly prescribed pressure-lowering drugs, but without the negative side effects. The study-proven dose was one cup daily.
Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey - resulting in creamy yogurt with twice as much protein and less sugar than unstrained varieties.
Even though plenty of yogurt and kefir varieties are available commercially, the choices for vegans are rather limited. However, it is fairly easy to make your own yogurt, with probiotics, using nuts. Below is a recipe for cashew yoghurt -- which is a very tasty and creamy and is easy to make:
Cashew Yogurt is is a good source of protein, iron, magnesium and zinc, in addition to the beneficial bacteria and enzymes. It 's easy to make!
- Ingredients: 1 cup raw organic cashews and 1 cup filtered water
- Place cashews in blender and grind to a coarse powder.
- Add water and blend until smooth. It should have a consistency of heavy cream.
- Pour mixture into a jar and cover with a light towel or napkin.
- Place in a warm location (70ºF to 100ºF). Choose a place where the temperature will remain constant.
The incubation period is 8 to 24 hours depending on the ambient (room) temperature. The warmer the temperature, the faster it will incubate.
First, you should notice bubbles forming. When it has formed thick curd with a layer of liquid (whey) on the bottom, cover and transfer to refrigerator. Chill for at least one hour.
When ready to eat, stir the whey and yogurt together. Yogurt will keep refrigerated up to a week.
Note: You won't really need a yoghurt culture, however, if you are looking for additional / different beneficial bacteria cultures you can add 1 teaspoon of probiotic powder per cup of water at the time when you are combining the cashews and water. After blending and mixing, refrigerate overnight before serving.
Cosmetic Applications for Yoghurt:
Age Spots: Hyper-pigmentation and blotchiness can show up now as we age -- how much will depend on the time spent in the sun. A regular weekly mask will help reduce this problem. Spread a thin layer of plain yogurt on your face and neck. Let penetrate for 20 minutes before rinsing. The lactic acid in the yogurt is a natural exfoliant and lightening agent. With consistent use, your pigmentation can become noticeably more even.
Recent studies on probiotics demonstrate that these organisms can help the body resist respiratory infections, like the flu and the common cold. A study in Germany discovered that taking a supplement that contains probiotic bacteria with vitamins and minerals for three months during the winter and spring can alter our susceptibility to colds and flu (Intl Jrnl Clin harm Ther 2005 Jul;43(7);318-26). When the researchers compared the health of about 240 people taking the supplements with another 240 who went without. The findings were as follows:
- The group taking probotics suffered 13 percent fewer respiratory infections.
- Lap work performed by the scientists also showed that the people taking probiotics had more immune cells ready to take part in their immune defense.
- The scientists concluded: "the intake of a dietary supplement containing probiotic bacteria plus vitamins and minerals during a period of at least three months in winter/spring may reduce the incidence and the severity of symptoms in common cold infections.
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