In the Far- and Middle East people regard yoghurt as penicillin.
It has definite, undeniable medicinal as well as astronomic properties.
In the Caucasian mountains, many farmers and shepherds exceed the century mark by a few decades. Researchers contribute their longevity to yoghurt, exercise (mostly walking), and a frugal diet consisting mainly of vegetables, bread, cheese, and little else.
According to one legend, yoghurt originated when the goat was first domesticated in Mesopotamia around 5000 B.C. Warm goat milk stored in gourds in the hot climate naturally soured, and formed a curd. Then a brave soul had the courage to taste it, and the rest is history.
In India and Sri Lanka, Ayurvedic writings that date back to more than 50 centuries mention the use of yoghurt as a curative food.
has long been credited with restorative properties, from contributing to longevity, to aiding digestion.
Lactic acid cultures in yoghurt produce substances that actually prevent pathogenic bacteria from multiplying in the gastrointestinal tract,
However, yoghurt must be eaten regularly to be effective. A steady diet of yoghurt means that beneficial yoghurt bacteria are present in the intestines. Upon ceasing to eat yoghurt, the beneficial effects disappear.
Yoghurt also helps digest lactose, which helps lactose-intolerant people indulge in small quantities of milk.
It is easier to digest yoghurt than any other dairy product, and it contains calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B.
Yoghurt is an integral part of the Indian, Persian, Armenian, Georgian, Greek cuisines.
It can also be sued as a marinade. The mild acidity helps break down tough tissue and ass a pleasing tartness to curries.
Casein, the main protein in yoghurt, binds the taste buds and literally wipes away the burning capsaicin on the tongue.
Yoghurt is produced from the milk of ewes, goats, buffalos and cows. The Middle Eastern yoghurt is thick enough to slice it, and this is how it is sold and by weight, not the way now western manufacturers package and market it.
Middle Eastern yoghurt is creamy in texture, tart, and smooth in the mouth, never watery or semi-liquid.
It can be eaten plain, or sweetened with honey or treacle (as they do in Sri Lanka), or used with fruit jams after a meal instead of dessert.
Yoghurt is also used as a base for refreshing lassi or ayran (yoghurt, salt and pepper, water, cubed cucumbers).
For many Middle Eastern people, yoghurt is more than just an important food. Housewives swap recipes, gossip while enjoying a glass of lassi, or when guests visit. It is part of the culture.