How Good Bacteria in Yogurt Works Its Magic

Simon King
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What Is Yogurt Bacteria?

If you have ever eaten yogurt, you may already be familiar with the term “good bacteria.” But do you know what that is and why it matters to you?

So what’s good bacteria anyway?

Bacteria are one of the smallest living things you’ll ever come across. There are more bacteria in your body than there are cells. That’s more bacteria than blood cells! (1)

Bacteria are everywhere. We encounter them every day, all over the place. We encounter more bacteria every day than we encounter people! But don’t get grossed out about it just yet, because not all bacteria are harmful.

  • There are good bacteria, (the ones we want in our body).
  • And there are bad bacteria, (the ones we want to get out of our body).

But generally speaking, bacteria live together in a balance with each other and the environment. For example, would you ever think you’d hear this? Yeast are a type of bacteria! Yeast are not bad. They are actually a very useful and important part of a balanced digestive system. And they’re also used in the baking industry.

Good vs Bad Bacteria

All bacteria are technically microscopic living organisms. They can be either harmful or helpful depending on the situation. While bacteria is often used to refer to a harmful form, it is technically the term for any of these microscopic organisms, including the helpful ones. In the case of yogurt, the “good” kind of bacteria is most frequently Lactobacillus Acidophilus. The word “acidophilus” means “a loving substance,” and these bacteria are exactly that.

How Lactobacillus Acidophilus Works Its Magic

They make their own enzyme that aids in the digestion of milk sugar, lactose, and milk protein. On top of that benefit, the acid they produce also breaks down the lactose and the milk proteins into a simpler form so that it can easily be digested. (Too much lactose in the diet can lead to bloating and diarrhea, so it's good to know there is some relief.) Even so, you should still eat yogurt that contains these helpful bacteria for maximum relief when you have digestive disorders.

Yogurt as a Source of Beneficial Bacteria

How Is Yogurt Made?

The process starts with the milk. Yogurt can be made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk, or a combination of the two. The fresh milk will be pumped into a large container that has been sterilized and cooled to the correct temperature. Then, the starter culture is added, as well as a high-temperature coagulant.

As the milk ferments, the yogurt cultures turn the milk sugars into lactic acid, which is what gives yogurt its flavor and texture. The longer the milk ferments, the more tart the yogurt will be, and the more beneficial bacteria it will contain.

Some yogurt you buy in the store hasn’t been made from scratch but has been frozen and then thawed. These yogurts are often not the full-fat variety, but a combination of whey and milk proteins.

Once the fermentation is completed, the yogurt will be strained and the cream will rise to the top.

This cream can then be used in other dairy products, such as Kefir, cream cheese, ice cream, and many other dairy products.

The yogurt will then be homogenized, which means that the yogurt will be broken down into small droplets.

Precautions to Take with Yogurt

When you read about the benefits of probiotics, one of the first things you learn is that yogurt is packed with probiotics.

But you also learn that not all yogurt is created equal.

Most commercial yogurt contains regular or live cultures. What gives yogurt a bad name is the fact that it does not retain its beneficial bacteria for very long.

It is also pasteurized and loaded with sugar and other ingredients which make the friendly bacteria almost useless to your body.

When buying yogurt, look for plain organic yogurt. It may be slightly more expensive, but it is well worth it. Your body will be grateful for sacrificing that extra dollar.

However, the best thing you can do is make your own yogurt.

It is not difficult. Here is a great recipe that contains only 2 ingredients ” milk and the starter culture. Instructions can be found below.

Storage

Since flavored, probiotic, low-fat yogurt cups aren’t easy to come by, having your own starter yogurt … which you can make in minutes … is definitely beneficial. If you are looking forward to eating yogurt regularly, you will need to make a daily batch.

To maintain is shelf-life, store yogurt under the refrigerator (the temperature should be around 40°F or 5°C). If you are in a rush or do not have time to eat it, store it in an insulated container in the freezer. It is advisable to eat it in two to three days.

Knowing When to Throw It Out

When our parents taught us to save money and stock up when a product is on sale, they weren’t just being frugal. There’s logic behind such admonitions. In fact, when it comes to yogurt, there’s a good reason to avoid buying more than you’ll eat immediately.

A study conducted by the University of Agriculture in Finland revealed that the cultures in yogurt do not change, so you can drink it even if a few days have passed since you purchased it. Always check the expiration date, but don’t let it limit you.

You can keep yogurt unopened in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or even longer, in the freezer for up to three months.

In the fridge, a container of yogurt will maintain its quality for up to three weeks. But after it’s been open, the quality will significantly deteriorate in a matter of days. Same goes for freezing yogurt. If the container remains sealed, it’ll last practically forever.

On the other hand, opening a container of yogurt will introduce bacteria into it. You can tell whether yogurt has gone bad because it’ll become as runny as milk. Throw it away immediately.

Foods with Friendly Bacteria

Yogurt is one of the first foods to have probiotics as part of the ingredients. It's one of the best foods that you can include in your diet when you are trying to encourage the good bacteria in your system to thrive.

Probiotics are live, health-supporting bacteria that are included within yogurt and select other foods. You'll find them in the refrigerated section and usually near other yogurts. They are usually distinguished from other yogurts by the phrase “live and active cultures” on the label. It's smart to pick foods that include a live and active cultures for your probiotic source, because it means you'll get the good bacteria right away. These foods also tend to last longer, because of this.

You are also smart to pick as many natural choices as possible. Yogurt can be a potent food, meaning fermented yogurt is the best choice. This allows the good bacteria to thrive and reproduce.

This gives your body an ongoing supply for supporting your digestive system and fighting off disease. Probiotic foods come in a variety of forms. You can choose them as snacks or small foods, combine them with other foods throughout your day and include them within various recipes.

Final Thoughts

For centuries, yogurt has been seen as a health food. Many health and fitness experts consider yogurt a “superfood” and many people use yogurt to improve digestive health and wellness. The fact that yogurt often contains live and active cultures, a variety of probiotic bacteria, makes it a natural choice for maintaining healthy gut bacteria. Yogurt can either be homemade or purchased as a product from the store. In the homemade version, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can include. Using your own yogurt maker, you can whip up your yogurt in under 20 minutes. In this post we’re going to look at how good bacteria in yogurt works its magic.

Science shows that probiotics play an important role in the immune system and the brain.

This group of micro-organisms directly influences our mood, the quality of our thinking and learning and behavior. As a result, a healthy gut environment contributes to a good mood and even helps alleviate mood issues such as depression and anxiety. It may be due to the fact that the nervous system is connected to the gut.

As the nervous system is connected to the immune system, a healthy gut also correlates with a healthy immune system.

This means a healthy gut also prevents the symptoms that come with several health conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, and even obesity.