Yogurt, or yoghurt, is made by adding bacterial cultures to milk, which ferments it. Fermentation of lactose (milk sugar) converts it into lactic acid, which gives yogurt its slightly sour taste. Yogurt is a good dietary source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium and iodine. Consumption of yogurt has been shown to improve cholesterol profile. Intake of yogurt has been found to be associated with lower risks of colorectal and bladder cancer. On the other hand, some (but not all) studies have reported that yogurt consumption is associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer and squamous cell skin cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating low-fat yogurt
Yogurt compound CLA has been shown to inhibit the growth and migration of breast cancer cells. Case-control studies conducted in France and Uruguay have found that yogurt consumption is associated with a reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
While yogurt appears to have some ability to protect against breast cancer, kefir (a fermented milk drink popular in the middle east, parts of the Mediterranean, eastern Europe and Russia) has been shown to have stronger effects at lower concentrations. Kefir is made using kefir grains, which consist of a complex living culture of yeasts and bacteria, whereas yogurt typically is made using only lactobacillus strains.
Yogurt with added probiotics (microbial cells that are intended to have a beneficial effect on health) is designed to improve intestinal functioning. Probiotics appear to act by reinforcing the intestinal mucosal barrier against deleterious agents. Preliminary evidence suggests that they might also have anti-cancer activities.
100% grass fed organic yogurt is preferable to non-organic yogurt because the milk used to produce it contains fewer hormones and it has higher CLA and omega-3 fatty acid contents. Low-fat yogurt is preferable to nonfat yogurt because it has a higher CLA content without the relatively high saturated fat content of full-fat yogurt.
Greek yogurt is yogurt that has been strained. Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt can be used successfully in many recipes that call for sour cream, milk or melted butter.
Many flavored yogurts contain substantial amounts of sugar. This is especially true of nonfat varieties. Yogurt brands listing carrageenan (a breast carcinogen) as an ingredient should be avoided.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on yogurt.