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Yogurt, which is believed to have originated in Turkey, is milk, either whole or skim. It is fermented into a semisolid food with a sour flavor. Besides the considerable protein and calcium yogurt retains from milk, it also has a number of health benefits not found in milk alone.

Yogurt is an easily digested food that can be flavored in many ways to appeal to those who even don't like milk. The protein-rich yogurt stimulates alertness chemicals in the brain, making it a wonderful late-day snack. Women especially benefit from the additional protein and calcium which is often deficient in their diets.

Yogurt has also been proven to stimulate human cells to produce more infection-fighting agents. Animal studies have also shown that yogurt in the diet reduces the amount of cancerous products that are produced by other intestinal bacteria.

The best thing about yogurt is the beneficial effect it has on the intestines. Yogurt is known for helping to prevent or control diarrhea caused by bacteria or taking antibiotic drugs. Yogurt itself is an antibiotic.

A daily cup of yogurt reduces the incidence of vaginitis (caused by the yeast infection candida) in women.

Before you buy yogurt, check the label for the sell-by date. Plain unflavored yogurt in larger containers is the best buy and the most versatile. It's handy for salad dressings, dips, sauces, desserts and baked goods. You can mix it with fruit for a flavored yogurt.

Yogurt can be used in a variety of ways. So you have a number of healthy choices to make to keep your body and mind strong.