(HealthyResearch.com) – Yogurt is a product of milk that’s been fermented with multiple strains of beneficial microbes, or probiotics. The resulting culture can have many health benefits, including improvements to digestive and immune health, and it might even boost weight management and bone strength. In theory, adding yogurt to your daily diet is a win-win.
There are drawbacks to buying commercially-packaged yogurt, however, which makes going homemade a great option. And the best part is it’s super easy! We have details and recipes to help get you started. But first, let’s take a look at three benefits of making your own yogurt.
1. You Control the Sugar Content
Many commercially available yogurt brands are loaded with added sugars. Consider one serving of Yoplait’s original strawberry yogurt, which contains 13 grams of added sugar. That’s just over 3 teaspoons — roughly one-half of your recommended daily allowance if you’re a woman (or one-third of your daily allowance if you’re a man).
By making your own yogurt, you can sweeten it however you like. Blend in fresh fruit and withhold the sugar completely for your healthiest option.
2. You Don’t Have to Worry About Artificial Sweeteners
Even low-sugar options often have their issues, and one of those is the inclusion of artificial sweeteners. Yoplait’s Greek 100 option only contains 2 grams of added sugar, but it also includes an ingredient called acesulfame-potassium. According to studies, this artificial sweetener can disrupt the gut microbiome, with regular consumption possibly increasing the risks of chronic inflammation and obesity. If you’re eating yogurt for the nutritional benefits, why would you sweeten it with something that might worsen your health?
3. You’ll Reduce Disposable Packaging Waste
Let’s say you find a brand of plain yogurt that’s healthy with no crazy additives. Have you considered the waste you could still be creating with the packaging alone? Even if you toss your used yogurt tubs in the recycling bin, according to LifeHacker, they may not get recycled. This is because they’re typically made using a more durable plastic that’s harder to process, so most of them wind up in a dump regardless of which bin you throw them in. When you make your own yogurt, you aren’t contributing to this waste problem.
How to Make Your Own Yogurt
Serious Eats has a simple recipe that only requires two ingredients, a saucepan and a cooking thermometer:
- Start with 1/2-gallon of whole milk and heat it in a saucepan on medium until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep it between 180 and 190 degrees for 10 to 30 minutes. The longer you go, the thicker your finished yogurt will be.
- Allow the milk to cool to 110 degrees.
- Dilute 2 tablespoons of starter with a few tablespoons of the cooled milk, then add the thinned mixture to the milk and stir well.
- Transfer the mixture into containers for culturing.
- Keep the containers as close to 110 degrees as you can for several hours. You can do this by keeping them in a warm bath or in a cool oven with the light on.
- Once the yogurt appears set, allow it to sit at room temperature for 12 hours.
- Move to the refrigerator and allow it to set for an additional 3 days. Enjoy!
- For Greek yogurt, use a mesh strainer, along with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, to strain out the majority of the whey.
You can buy a decent yogurt culture starter just about anywhere, but if you need, you can take any good-quality unflavored yogurt and use it as a starter as well.
Homemade yogurt can be a healthy, wholesome alternative to sugary or artificially flavored varieties — and what you’ll save landfills on packaging alone makes it worth an effort. Try your hand at making yogurt to see how easy it is. You might never want to go back to store-bought varieties ever again.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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