Cultured dairy products are dairy foods that have been fermented with lactic acid bacteria, known as probiotics. While many types of cultured milk products can be found around the world, yogurt is by far the most common.
Although the benefits of yogurt on digestive health had already been recognized, the microbiologist Ilya Mechnikov popularized its use throughout Europe in the 1900s, believing that Lactobacillus bacteria were responsible for the remarkable longevity of Bulgarians.
Empirical research has identified a long list of health conditions that may be helped by consuming foods containing lactic acid bacteria, including colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gas, gastric reflux, heartburn, Crohn’s disease, gum disease and high cholesterol. Recent studies have shown a positive effect of probiotics on autism and obesity.
Probiotic bacteria must be consumed every day to be effective as they cannot implant in the gastrointestinal tract and they do leave the body quite readily. Include a variety of foods fermented with lactic acid bacteria in your diet daily.
The fermentation process increases the shelf life of dairy products. Refrigerated, yogurt has a shelf life of 35-40 days.