An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Similarly, a bowl of curd a day helps to keep the doctor away. Curd or ‘dahi’ as it’s more popularly known as in India- is an extremely popular by-product that comes from milk. The major reason for the popularity of curd is that it’s not only extremely tasty but the health benefits of curd are numerous. Add some sugar to dahi and you get ‘mishti dahi’- a popular sweet in West Bengal. Similarly, in South India curd rice is a staple meal. The reason being ‘curd nutrition’. Just like milk, curd nutritional value is high. Benefits of eating curd transcend its delightful taste but to what extent? The rest of this article is dedicated to answering precisely this question.
Table Of Contents
What Is Curd? How’s It Made?
Curd is a by-product of milk. Hence, it comes under the category of ‘dairy products’. Curd or forms of curd, prove to be the most popular by-product of milk and for good reason so. The process which converts milk into curd is called curdling.
The process in itself is extremely simple. Many Indian families avoid buying processed curd in favour of their own home-made recipes. Milk curdles whenever any acidic substance such as lemon is added to it. The acidity causes the proteins that are present in milk to solidify and become curd- as we all know it. This method of making curd is called the acidic method. The curd thus formed in popularly called as ‘dahi’ in India.
There’s another method of making curd which is called the rennet method. In this method, instead of adding lemon or acidic substances to milk, rennet is added instead. The curd thus formed is popularly called ‘paneer’ in India. Interestingly enough one of the first steps in producing cheese involves converting milk into ‘cheese curds’.
Difference between curd and yogurt
Fact: Yogurt and curd are two different by-products of milk. They aren’t the ‘same product’. The difference between curd and yogurt goes beyond their terminology. ‘Dahi’ in India is not called ‘Yogurt’ in the west- it’s best if you get rid of that notion as soon as possible. Look at it in this way. In India, people eat curd rice while in the west people choose to eat greek yogurt instead.
The real difference between curd and yogurt is given below:
Method of preparation: As explained above itself, dahi is made when acidic substances are added to milk allowing it to curdle. While the method to prepare yogurt is quite similar to the method that’s used to produce curd- the actual fermentation process is different. To make yogurt two different kinds of bacteria need to be added to the milk, namely: “lactobacillus bulgaris and Streptococcus thermophilus”.
Health benefits: While both curd and yogurt are extremely healthy- yogurt has bigger health benefits when compared to dahi. Both these by-products are healthy because of the presence of good bacteria. However, on consuming yogurt, it’s almost guaranteed that the good bacteria that are found in it reaches the intestine region. Sadly, the same cannot be said for curd.
Curd Nutritional Value
Curd nutritional value can be defined by looking at nutrients that per 100g of curd contains -
Approx. 100 Calories
Fat approx 4.3g
Carbohydrate around 3.4g
Sodium 364 mg
Potassium 104 mg
Essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin B etc.
4. Benefits Of Curd
Curd is part of a category of food products that are both; tasty and beneficial. The benefits of curd arise from curd nutrition. What benefits does curd nutrition have? What’s the real importance of the curd nutritional value? To answer both of these questions, let’s take a look at the benefits of eating curd:
1. Extremely Good For The Stomach: Curd, yogurt and greek yogurt- all these by-products of milk contain vast quantities of live bacteria making them a great and effective probiotic agent. The benefit of eating a bowl of curd everyday is that it improves the functioning of the digestive system by improving gut activity and soothing the inflamed areas.
2. Strengthens Bones: We all know that milk is a great source of calcium. Hence, as a by-product of milk, it’s only natural for curd to contain calcium. In addition to calcium, curd also contains a decent amount of phosphorous. Both these nutrients help the bones and teeth grow strong.
3. Control Blood Pressure: The presence of potassium and magnesium in curd helps individuals who suffer from high blood pressure to control their blood pressure.
4. Improve Immunity Level: Curd is a probiotic food product. This characteristic of curd doesn’t only help with digestion but it also helps to improve the body to fight off harmful bacteria thereby, improving the body’s immunity level.
5. Enhance Sexual Activity: Believe it or not- curd is known to be an aphrodisiac. Aphrodisiac foods are those foods that increase the desire for sexual activity in the body. In fact, curd is one of the most gifted aphrodisiac foods out there. It helps to fight impotence and also contributes to increasing the semen volume that one’s capable of producing.
6. Improve Skin Health: If you suffer from dry skin and are looking for a natural, home remedy- look no further. Curd is the product for you. This is not one of the benefits of eating curd however, it is a benefit of curd. It works wonderfully in a face pack and helps kill off dead cells and blemishes that are found on the surface of the skin.
7. Helps To Increase One’s Appetite: People who have a poor appetite can greatly benefit from curd. Not only does curd nutrition play its role but curd in itself is a great appetizer. It helps to increase one’s appetite and that’s why many people choose to eat a cup of curd before their meals.
8. Helps With Weight-Reduction: Have you ever wondered why parents always force their children to have curd? Curd nutritional value only makes for part of the answer. The real reason is that curd helps curb junk-food cravings thus, simultaneously helping one to lose weight. Again- that’s not all. Cortisol is the hormone because of which the body deposits the excess fat around the belly area. Curd helps to reduce the levels of cortisol in the body thereby, helping one to lose weight.
9. Contributes In Improving Brain Health: Another startling benefit of eating curd daily is that it helps to improve the health of the brain. Striking an emotional balance and insinuating a feeling of relaxation-the power of curd. Consuming curd can also act as a stress buster and anxiety reliever.
[Read more: 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Curd During Pregnancy]
Everybody loves dahi - the young, the middle-aged and the old. An exception may be found in lactose intolerant people but that doesn’t diminish the love that dahi gets. Transcending the benefits of curd in general and the benefits of eating curd in specific- is its taste. While some people may argue that the benefits of ‘greek yogurt’ outweigh the benefits of curd, just bat your eyelids at them and enjoy eating your curd rice!