8 little known benefits of cultured milk foods for kids

A study in 1907 linked the consumption of yogurt to the longevity of Bulgarian peasants. Ever since then, yogurt became famous for its health benefits and were even sold at apothecaries as a form of medicine. Today, yogurt is still consumed by many for its health benefits and is the top choice for parents when it comes to choosing healthy snacks for their kids. When you let your kids snack on a cup of yogurt, chances are, somebody would say to you “wow, that’s so healthy!” Have you ever wondered exactly what is so healthy about fermented milk foods like yogurt?

Let’s look at some of its health benefits:

Benefit #1 – It builds good gut health – Most cultured milk foods such as spoonable yogurt, yogurt drink, cultured milk drink, and even milk kefir contain live cultures or probiotics, good bacteria that aids in keeping the digestive tracts healthy and functioning as it should. For kids, good gut health means healthy digestion. This ensures optimal absorption of nutrients for growth and development. Having good gut health is important to establish a good foundation for a healthy body as they grow.

Studies have shown that cultured milk foods can help children with antibiotic-induced diarrhoea, and cases of chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Its gut loving properties are also said to improve the management of acid reflux and flatulence.

Benefit #2 – It’s calcium rich – According to the USDA there is 183mg of calcium in every 100g of yogurt. For one 170g container of yogurt, there’s 311mg of calcium, making yogurt a healthy choice in helping kids get adequate calcium in their diet. Calcium combined with Vitamin D is essential for building stronger and healthier bones, especially in the growing up years before the onset of puberty.

Benefit #3 – It’s a good protein source – Cultured milk foods are a good source of protein. A check on the USDA nutrients database showed that one 236ml (8 ounce) glass of yogurt has the same amount of protein as an egg. Protein is an important building block for energy and muscles. Energy helps kids focus in their studies.

Benefit #4 – It supports immunity– Having good gut health also helps with our immune system. Numerous scientific studies have shown that 70-80% of our immunity lies in our guts. Probiotics have been used to replenish the gut’s microflora after a bout of antibiotics which kills both good and bad bacteria in the guts. Having a healthy population of good bacteria in our digestive tracts seems to help the body absorb the nutrients it needs and thus further strengthens its ability to fight against inflammation.

Benefit #5 – It gives you vitamin D – Besides contributing towards the tummy’s population of good bacteria, vitamin D found in cultured milk foods is vital for our health. It helps prevent rickets in kids and aids the absorption of calcium. Besides heart beat and supporting healthy thyroid function in growing children, Vitamin D has also been indicated to help in language development in children, according to a large clinical study in Australia.

Benefit #6 – It lets you enjoy milk’s goodness, minus the lactose – For children and individuals who are lactose intolerant, cultured milk foods is an alternative they could try and benefit from the nutrients which are largely similar to milk.

According to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, during the fermentation process, the “lactose is broken down to glucose and galactose”. There may still be some lactose in yogurt, just much less compared to unfermented milk.

Benefit #7 – It helps promote good bacteria to fight vaginal infections – The lactobacillus acidophilus in cultured milk foods can help with urinary tract infections. Girls reaching puberty would find this helpful as well as women because the vaginal environment functions best in a slightly acidic environment. Keeping that area clean and healthy also helps fight off yeast and other infections and thus promote better immunity in the long run for girls.

Benefit #8 – It makes you feel fuller – Studies on hunger has shown that giving people cultured milk foods compared to only fruits or fruit juices helps them feel full for a longer period of time. If children feel full for a longer period of time after having a yogurt snack, it could help them eat less of other junk foods in between meals. With childhood obesity increasingly on the rise and parents wanting to start kids off on healthier eating habits early, cultured milk foods’ ability to keep the tummy full may just help kids not overeat.

All in all, the benefits of cultured milk foods are aplenty for the little ones, the growing up ones and the not so young ones. So, the next time anyone remarks “wow, so healthy” when you take a spoonful of yogurt, you can tell them why.

Cultured Milk Definition:

“Contains not less than 3.25 percent milkfat and not less than 8.25 percent milk solids-non-fat. It is produced by culturing any of the following milk products alone or in combination: cream, milk, partially skimmed milk or skim milk with appropriate characterizing bacteria. The addition of certain characterizing ingredients and lactic-acid producing bacteria may permit, for example, the product to be labeled “kefir cultured milk,” “acidophilus cultured milk,” or “cultured buttermilk.” – International Dairy Federation

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