Among various fermented dairy products, yogurt has been a significant ingredient of the human diet for thousands of years.
Consumption of fermented dairy products maintains the balance of intestinal micro bacteria and improves the host metabolism. Yoghurt is most accepted dairy product as it is easily digested because during fermentation, milk protein, fat and lactose components undergo partial hydrolysis. Yogurt is categorized as a food of high nutritional value due to its relatively low fat content in combination with its high protein content, as well as vitamins of the B complex, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. However, nutritional value of different yogurts may significantly vary depending on the type of milk and straining process. Yogurt has been shown to have various beneficial effects on many aspects of human health, like blood pressure, cholesterol reduction, muscle building and prevention of various1 metabolic diseases. As far as gastrointestinal health is concerned, yogurt contains cultures of lactic acid bacteria that improve digestive system function through their positive impact on gut microflora, bowel transit and gastrointestinal 2immune responses.
Yogurt is alive
Since yogurt is a culture of living healthy bacteria. There are millions of bacteria of various species persisting in yogurt. Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are the species found in yogurt. These are the main/starter cultures in yogurt. The function of the starter cultures is to ferment lactose (milk sugar) to produce lactic acid. Further lactic acts on milk protein and give a universal texture to yogurt as well as an acidic flavor. Few other species are also found in yogurt like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus.
Enrichment enhances quality of yogurt
Additionally, the low viability of probiotics causes the short shelf life of fermented dairy products. Thus, to maintain the health-benefiting properties of yogurt its viability should be prolonged. Antioxidants are known to increase the shelf life of food products, when added. In this context, plant extracts, a good source of antioxidants and exhibiting significant antioxidant activity may also enhance the viability of enriched yogurt.
According to a study done by Mosiyani et al, basil and savory plant extract have enhanced the viability of probiotic bacteria and probiotic yogurt.