The health benefits of yogurt for babies include ease of digestion, remedy from gastric troubles, boosting the immune system, remedy for diarrhea and dysentery, good food during hepatitis and jaundice, can treat insomnia and a remedy for urinary tract infections.
Yogurt or curd, as we call it is a fermented milk product. The fermentation occurs by the bacterial action. Bacterial species lactobacillus is used for yogurt fermentation and this species is considered to be safe for humans. This bacterial species can be found in the intestinal tract, urinary tract and genital without causing us any disease. The growth of this bacterial species is good for the digestive system and they protect us from disease causing bacteria.
Yogurt is very popular around the world, as it is consumed by many. The semisolid, sweet and sour taste of yogurt makes it a very good dessert and appetizer. Many cultures around the world have witnessed the birth of yogurt, of course by accident.
It is believed that yogurt was first discovered in Turkey. It is said that a nomad who was traveling in the dessert with milk stored in goat’s skin discovered yogurt formed after a few hours. The bacteria in the skin and the sun must have provided the right conditions for milk fermentation. Later on, in the centuries to come, the production of yogurt has been refined. The name yogurt comes from Turkish name yogurt. Yogurt was introduced in the United States during early 20th century. Several flavors have been introduced in yogurt and they are very popular today.
Nutrition in yogurt
According to the National Nutrient Database by the United States Department of Agriculture, the nutrition found in yogurt includes
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Water||87.9 g||Energy||61 kcal|
|Protein||3.47 g||Total Lipid||3.25 g|
|Carbohydrate||4.66 g||Fiber||0 g|
|Sugar||4.66 g||Calcium||121 mg|
|Iron||0.05 mg||Magnesium||12 mg|
|Phosphorous||95 mg||Potassium||155 mg|
|Sodium||46 mg||Zinc||0.59 mg|
|Vitamin C||0.5 mg||Thiamin||0.029 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.142 mg||Niacin||0.075 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.032 mg||Folate||7 ug|
|Vitamin B-12||0.37 mg||Vitamin A||99 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.06 mg||Vitamin D||0.1 ug|
|Vitamin K||0.2 ug|
Is yogurt safe for babies and at what age can babies eat yogurt?
Yogurt is generally regarded to be safe for babies. Pediatricians suggest that yogurt can be introduced to babies as young as 7 months. During this time, any milk other than mother’s milk is not recommended but yogurt is. This is because, the milk protein which is difficult for babies to digest is broken down by the bacteria present in yogurt and this makes it easier for even babies and older people to digest yogurt. Apart from this, constant supply of the lactobacillus species of bacteria is also good for keeping your baby’s digestive system clean and healthy.
Health benefits of yogurt for babies
Here are some of the health benefits of yogurt for babies
Good for gastric troubles: Fermented yogurt has lactic acid in it. But, in reality this acid does not disturb the acid-alkali balance in the body and moreover it is helpful in neutralizing the acidity and reduces irritation in the stomach. Thus, it is an alkaline food which is good for the stomach. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Boosts the immune system: The lactic acid found in yogurt can boost the immune system. When consumed regularly, the bacteria causing diarrhea, dysentery, infections and inflammations in the stomach cannot survive in the presence of lactic acid. Thus, in one sense, feeding yogurt to your baby can act as a preventive measure against diarrhea, dysentery and infections. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Useful remedy for diarrhea and dysentery: Apart from preventing diseases like diarrhea and dysentery, yogurt can also act as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. Studies with infants aged between 6-24 months with moderate and severe diarrhea when given yogurt along with standard treatment recovered quickly than those who received only standard treatment. Note: The milk used to make the yogurt was pasteurized. (Pashapour, et al, 2006).
Food during hepatitis and jaundice: Hepatitis and jaundice are liver related diseases. Ammonia formation in liver can be reduced in these diseases when yogurt is consumed on a regular basis. In fact, many traditional schools of medicine like Ayurveda, recommend yogurt and butter milk during jaundice or hepatitis. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Helps treating insomnia: One of the major issues that babies can face is insomnia. Insomnia can be reduced greatly by regularly giving yogurt to your child. Apart from yogurt intake, a massage of yogurt on the forehead can induce sleep in children. (Bakhru, Foods That Heal).
Remedy for urinary tract infections: The probiotic bacteria found in yogurt help in reducing infection causing bacteria that reside in the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections can result in burning sensation while passing urine. This burning sensation and the root cause of the infections can be reduced to a great extent by giving yogurt to your baby regularly. (Reid, 2001).
Supplies essential nutrients: Apart from acting as a remedy for various diseases, yogurt is also useful in supplying essential vitamins and minerals to your growing baby. Yogurt contains vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and folate. The minerals found in yogurt include calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, sodium, zinc, etc. These vitamins and minerals are essential for your baby’s overall development.
What measures can I take while giving yogurt to my baby?
Here are some measures to be taken while giving yogurt to your baby without having much trouble.
Chose yogurt made from whole milk: Yogurt made from whole milk is good for your child as the fat in the whole milk is useful for brain and vision development. Pediatricians also suggest feeding whole milk yogurt for babies.
You can make yogurt at home with simple steps: It is easy to make yogurt at home. All you need is milk and a teaspoonful of yogurt to begin the fermentation process. Take about a half a litre of milk and heat it on low for about 15 minutes. Cool it to an approximate temperature of 45 deg C or 112 deg F. Add half teaspoonful of the yogurt to the milk and cover it with a lid. Leave for about 6-7 hours. You can check it after 6 hours whether yogurt is forming or not. A gentle push to the milk tumbler can determine whether yogurt has formed or not. When you use whole milk, the fat content rises up in the form of butter. If skimmed milk is used, the butter would hardly form on the surface.
Optimum yogurt forming temperatures: Yogurt making can be tricky at times. The lactobacillus bacteria operate between a small range of lukewarm temperatures. During hot summer, yogurt can easily form because the bacteria require lukewarm temperature to thrive. But during cold winters, yogurt formation can take time. As the temperature quickly drops, bacterial activity is also affected. So, during winter times, the boiled milk must be at least 50 deg to 55 deg C or 130 deg F for yogurt to form. During winters, yogurt can be kept insulated from outside cold for better results.
How to store yogurt: Generally, yogurt turns sour from sweet taste after the fermentation process is complete. Yogurt turns sour faster during summers and hence, it must be stored in refrigerator until consumed. It preserves the taste. During winters, storing it in refrigerators might not be necessary.
Do not add sugar or honey to yogurt: Some people suggest adding sugar or honey to yogurt. But it is not necessary and in some sense, it can create new issues. First of all, the baby would develop a sweet tooth, secondly tooth decay can take place and thirdly adding honey can cause infant botulism that can be dangerous.
You can add certain fruits: The combination of yogurt and certain fruits is recommended for the coming summer months. These include banana and mango. Mashed banana with yogurt is really good to taste. It is not only liked by toddlers and kids but also by adults. Secondly mango, mashed up sweet mango fruit when mixed with yogurt is also wonderful. Please make sure that mango fruit does not have any long fibers that can be difficult for your baby to swallow.
Be wary about yogurt mixed with strawberries and other berries: Strawberry and other berries can be allergic to babies. Hence, be wary of buying yogurts flavored or mixed with strawberries, blue berries, or other berries. Ask your pediatrician about these flavors. As far as possible prefer plain yogurt and stick to the above mentioned fruits.