Sunday, December 9, 2012

Greek style yoghurt, a natural source of probiotics:

Probiotics was a question we covered   a few weeks ago. Maybe now is an excellent place to define the term probiotic, so everyone is clear as to the definition. The international description says that probiotics are organisms living within the host’s bio system that confer health benefits. The human gut, for example, contains somewhere in the region of 2 kilograms of live bacteria. Some of these bacteria are good, and some are bad. For potent digestive health to happen we require the beneficial bacteria to outweigh the detrimental. Remember, too, that superior digestive health is the key to complete nutritional health. To achieve this end, we recommend you include a substantial percentage of friendly bacteria in your diet.
Where do you get this? The first place to look is within the realms of fermented foods. In times, past people ate more fermented food because this was an ideal means of preserving food before the days of refrigeration. In those times, drinking water came from wells where the bacterial overgrowth provided a plentiful supply of humic acid, another good source of probiotics. Today, many of these older natural links to healthful bacteria have been replaced by supposed new and better ways of doing things. Now, we have to go out of our way to sustain ourselves with these living organisms. We need to eat fermented foods, and for those who can tolerate dairy products, yoghurt provides an ideal answer, or does it? Many yoghurt brands claim they are plentifully stocked with probiotics, but they are not! Most commercial brands found in supermarkets are chock full of added sugar. Bacteria are living matter and they die off because of the toxicity of the sugar. Today, sugar is growing more expensive, so food producers turn to artificial sweeteners to offset costs. The worst of these is controversial aspartame, which hides behind well-known brand names like NutraSweet. US alternative medicine researcher and publicist Dr. Joe Mercola claims it to be “the most dangerous food additive on the market”. He bases his claims on several studies that have been conducted over the years. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon brands the sweetener an excitotoxin and further claims, "Excitotoxins have been found to dramatically promote cancer growth and metastasis. In fact, one aspartame researcher noticed that, when cancer cells were exposed to aspartame, they became more mobile … “All compelling reasons to avoid commercially produced yoghurts that say they are a terrific source of probiotics.
Greek yoghurt is free of added sugar, but milk contains its own sugar, called lactose. When they come to make this kind of yoghurt, they strain off the liquid whey and with it goes a lot of the lactose. This is then a remarkably healthy environment for natural probiotics to develop. This leaves a creamy, thick substance which is extremely high in protein. The content is 16 protein Gms per 100 Gms of weight. The human need for protein is another modern day fable. We don’t require massive amounts of protein to promote cell growth. Calculate the daily requirement as being 1Gm of protein per 1 kilo of body weight. A man weighing 70 kilos requires approximately 70 Gms of protein intake per day. This is not a huge amount; it will fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. Greek yoghurt makes an excellent protein source, being much easier to digest than meat, for example.
Christos Panidimos is a long time resident of Koh Samui and is now the patron of the “Fi” Restaurant, located on the road leading up to Tesco-Lotus in Bophut.  Here they make 30 to 40 kilos of probiotic rich Greek yoghurt daily. His uncle Evagalos Polyhropoulos teaches food sciences at the Haropio University in Athens. He attests to the nutritional value of this product. Both men urge everybody to use it instead of mayonnaise or butter and suggest the yoghurt provides the basis of a mouthwatering breakfast when mixed with fresh fruit. 
Alister Bredee
This article first appeared in "The Southern Times" of 1st December 2012

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