By Edeline Anne Goh
What’s pleasant on your taste buds, easy on your tummy, loved by the young and old and hugely beneficial to your overall health? A cup of bio-live yoghurt, of course!
Natural yoghurt is the simplest form of yoghurt, which is made by fermenting pasteurised milk. Natural yoghurt does not have any added flavours and usually has a sour taste. It is great eaten by itself, topped with fruits and even served as a vegetable dip. In fact, it’s believed that natural yoghurt has the richest calcium content among all yoghurts! Plus, it’s also friendly on your stomach as it contains friendly bacteria such as L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus, which can help ease certain gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.
Aside from various friendly bacteria that can be found in most yoghurts on supermarket shelves, bio-live yoghurt also contains additional L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, which helps to promote your general digestive well-being. Also the word ‘live’ indicates that this type of yoghurt undergoes a fermentation process which ensures that the good bacteria in the yoghurt is well-preserved. Bio-live yoghurts are in contrast with yoghurts labeled UHT or ‘long-life’ as these have been heat-treated to ensure that they have a longer shelf-life. Unfortunately, this process eliminates the friendly bacteria, which is extremely beneficial to your stomach and overall digestive system. That’s why bio-live and other types of yoghurts that contain active cultures have a much shorter shelf-life span but offer a wider array of benefits for your digestive tract.
Can Baby Enjoy It Too?
Yes! Babies can enjoy the wholesome benefits of yoghurt too from the age of 6 months onwards. If you are planning on introducing yoghurt to baby, choose those that are whole-milk and specifically created for babies. This is because, yoghurts made for adults are usually low in fat, have a higher sugar content and may contain artificial flavouring which is not ideal for your little one. Full-fat dairy products contain the protein, carbohydrate, calcium as well as vitamins that are recommended for a child’s healthy development and should generally be given to every child at least until the age of 2.
When choosing the right type of yoghurt, be sure to read the label carefully. “Yoghurt for babies should be packed with goodness from fresh milk and made from delicious natural fruit puree,” says Yap Chin Keong, distributor of Rachel’s yoghurt, Malaysia. Some of the key words you should look out for on the yoghurt pack include:
- Whole milk
- Plain or naturally sweetened
- No artificial additives
- Non Genetically Modified
Just like other types of solid foods, it’s best to speak to your child’s peadiatrician before introducing it to baby gradually. If the peadiatrician gives you a nod, go ahead and choose the kind of yoghurt that is best for baby.
As a tip, if you are planning on buying a fruit flavoured yoghurt, opt for a flavour which baby is already familiar with. “Yoghurt is ideal for weaning baby and it’s great if it comes in a range of fun, fruity flavours which contain organic whole milk yoghurt and smooth fruit purees that are sweetened with organic fruit juice,” says Yap.
When to Stop Feeding Yoghurt?
Generally, yoghurts should be well accepted by baby as long as there is no history of milk allergy or intolerance. However, it’s always important to be on the lookout for any symptoms of food allergy. These symptoms include:
- Rash around the mouth
- Skin rash
- Swelling of tongue, lips or face
If baby demonstrates any of the above symptoms, be sure to seek help from a medical professional immediately. A word of advice — when introducing a new food, you should wait at least three days before introducing the next new food. This is so you can monitor for any reaction and know the cause of the symptoms.
In a nutshell, there are countless ways on how you and your family can enjoy this wonderful source of calcium and friendly bacteria, so don’t forget to make yoghurt a part of your healthy diet.