Freshly-made yogurt is filled with countless numbers of beneficial bacteria that help digestion and kill harmful viruses. The key here is fresh yogurt, as compared to commercial store-bought yogurt. According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, yogurt that has been sitting on the shelves at the grocery store does not have the fresh, active bacteria that homemade yogurt does.
Store-bought yogurt is cold, heavy, difficult to digest and can cause the finer channels, or shrotas, of the physiology to become clogged. Also, once the yogurt has been refrigerated, the quantity of friendly bacteria decreases and thus the health-producing benefits are less. Also, from the ayurvedic perspective, it may contribute to weight gain due to the cold and heavy qualities it has.
To gain the benefits of yogurt bacteria, choose products that contain live active cultures. If the yogurt has been pasteurized or heated at home, the bacteria are dead and will not provide benefits. Fresh yogurt is especially beneficial for individuals following a vegetarian diet, since yogurt adds about 13 grams of protein (1 cup yogurt) as well as B complex, calcium (450 milligrams), potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid. People taking antibiotics (which can destroy lactic flora) are often advised to eat yogurt to replace the healthy bacteria. Fresh yogurt is digested in about one hour, as compared to the three hours it can take to digest milk. Individuals who have trouble digesting milk may find that fresh yogurt is much easier to digest and actually aids in their digestion as well.
Other health benefits from fresh yogurt include decreased bloating, as well as relief of both constipation and diarrhea and other stomach disorders. Ayurveda recommends taking yogurt in the form of a drink known as lassi. This makes the yogurt even more light and digestible and helps in intestinal comfort after eating a meal. Ayurveda recommends making a batch of fresh yogurt to be consumed each day. According to ayurveda, yogurt should not be combined with milk or cream. Yogurt is the only "fermented" food recognized as sattvic by ayurveda. Yogurt, as a sour taste, is good for balancing Vata, but should be reduced by people on a Pitta or Kapha balancing diet.
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