Curd and yogurt are both dairy products, but typically, yogurt refers to the fermentation of milk in anaerobic conditions. In the US and Europe, curd is a dairy product produced by transforming milk into a solid mass by adding acidic substances like lemon juice or vinegar. The whey that is produced, is drained from the curd. In India, this is called paneer or cottage cheese, and what we call curd is when warm milk is allowed to ferment by adding a spoon of yogurt to the milk. The milk is then kept aside till it sets. You could call it a homemade version of the yogurt, which includes a little bit of whey, which yogurt doesn’t have. The terms curd/curds/yogurt are interchangeably used, and curd is mostly made from buffalo milk.
The first yogurt was believed to have been made in Turkey. Legend has it that a nomad while traveling through a desert, kept some milk away in a goatskin bag and hung it across the back of his camel. Opening the bag a few hours later, he found that the liquid had turned into a thick tangy custard. The desert sun and bacteria inside the bag produced the required condition for the preparation of yogurt.
Yogurt is a very nourishing food and has many health benefits. It is a valuable source of protein, essential vitamins, and minerals, a rich source of calcium and riboflavin. It is also a good source of iodine, zinc, potassium, and B12. The protein in yogurt is more readily digested than the protein in milk. These beneficial bacteria aid in the absorption of minerals and the synthesis of vitamins in the B group.
Health Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin B-2, and vitamin B-12. This makes it very nutritious. It is very light on the stomach and it also is a probiotic. Probiotic foods are those that contain live bacteria. The human intestines contain about 400 different species of bacteria, both good and bad, which is very important for the proper functioning of the digestive system because it helps to improve the activity in the gut. It is a very important ingredient in our skincare regimen.
Yogurt health benefits for the skin
Yogurt is rich in zinc and it also has anti-inflammatory properties. The probiotics in yogurt help to restore the skin’s natural barrier. Yogurt is known for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which help prevent acne breakouts and help to get glowing and healthy skin.
- Curd mixed with lemon juice is a good face cleanser.
- A mixture of oatmeal and curd makes the skin softer and helps to remove tan.
- A paste of Bengal gram flour and curd applied on the face helps to prevent and cure pimples.
- The use of buttermilk is highly beneficial in the treatment of skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. The application of buttermilk compresses is useful in these conditions.
- The compress is also very effective in case of skin inflammation.
Yogurt health benefits for the hair
Yogurt is rich in proteins that promote strong and healthy hair. The lactic acid in yogurt is said to cleanse the scalp, remove dead skin cells and help the hair follicles grow. Yogurt is also very useful in conditioning hair. It makes the hair soft, healthy, and strong.
- Yogurt should be applied to the roots of the hair.
- Massaging the hair with curd that has turned sour, helps to remove dandruff.
- A simple way to incorporate yogurt into your hair routine would be to apply the yogurt to your scalp and the length of your hair. Leave it on for half and hour. Rinse it out with warm water or a mild shampoo.
Yogurt benefits for gastrointestinal disorders
During the process of making yogurt, bacteria convert milk into yogurt and predigest milk protein. These bacteria inhibit the growth of hostile bacteria inside the intestinal tract and promote beneficial bacteria needed for digestion. It is, therefore, an ideal diet for those with sensitive digestive systems. Yogurt brings relief to patients with gastrointestinal disorders such as chronic constipation and diarrhoea. Besides aiding in the digestion of food, curd decreases dryness and gas in the stomach by helping in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and renin.
Buttermilk has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of colitis, dysentery, gastric ulcer, and chronic appendicitis.
Yogurt health benefits for longevity
The live bacterial cultures in yogurt help to fortify the immune system. It builds resistance to immune-related diseases. A human study has confirmed that a daily serving of probiotic-rich yogurt bolsters your body’s ability to protect you from infection. Daily consumption of yogurt, both homemade and probiotic yogurt (yogurt containing health-promoting bacteria), stimulated cellular immunity. Cellular immunity is our immune system’s first line of defense, which serves as our body’s primary means of protection against infection by viruses, yeasts, and parasites. Cellular immunity is also critical in preventing the development of cancer. It is believed that premature aging can be prevented by taking sufficient curd in the daily diet.
Yogurt health benefits for arthritis
Lactobacillus, a probiotic (friendly) bacteria found in yogurt offers “remarkable preventive and curative” effects on arthritis, say Israeli researchers in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. In laboratory experiments, animals fed with yogurt consisting of large amounts of lactobacilli had the least amount of arthritic inflammation, while those fed plain yogurt experienced only moderate inflammation.
Yogurt health benefits for yeast infections
Eating yogurt may help to prevent yeast infections. In one study, women who had yeast infections ate 8 ounces of yogurt daily for 6 months. Researchers reported that a threefold decrease in infections was seen in these women. In addition to all these benefits, a cup of curd a day is also said to help improve your cholesterol profile.
Intake of calcium is said to help obese people lose weight. Yogurt which is very rich in calcium helps in losing weight.
Make Yogurt easily at home
- Heat the milk and bring to a boil.
- Let the milk cool down and become slightly warm to the touch.
- Add a little yogurt to the milk and mix well. You can add around 1 tablespoon of yogurt to half a litre of warm milk.
- Keep this aside for 6-8 hours, depending on the temperature where you live. In cold climates, it may take more than 8 hours.
- Once the yogurt is done you can have it or refrigerate it for use later.