Imagine a creamy yogurt or a smooth delicious cheese that makes your mouth water. A common complaint is that healthy food is boring. Not true. Fermented milk products prepared on full-fat milk or cream are nutritious and tasty. But not all fermented dairy products are good choices.
Fermented milk products
Below are a few popular fermented diary products. Some are excellent choices, but may products are also loaded with sugar and additives.
Most supermarkets have a dazzling array of yogurt products for all tastes. But most contain loads of sugar and additives. This includes most frozen yogurt. Sorry!
Recommended: Plain, unflavored, full-fat, unsweetened yogurt like Greek yogurt with live microorganisms is great. Try yogurt made from raw milk. It has a creamy, full taste and contains many more nutrients. Homemade yogurt is simple and fun.
Much commercial hard cheese is low in nutrients and will just pile on calories. And low-fat cheese has little taste and low nutritional value.
Recommended: Cultured yeast and bacteria are added to certain cheeses to complete the process of fermentation making them richer in vitamins, enzymes, and other nutrients.
Blue cheese and other hard, aged cheeses are good. Some top cheeses are made from raw, unpasteurized milk from grass-fed animals (like Roquefort). They are incredibly good, creamy and smooth!
Such cheese contains…
- a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats
- vitamins A, D, E and beta carotene
- Spermidine (induces autophagy)
- good bacteria and yeast
- calcium and proteins
- much more
Kefir is one of the oldest fermented milk products and is produced by adding a yeast and bacteria culture to milk (cow, goat, sheep, coconut). The yeast and bacteria consume the sugar in the milk creating the a tangy, fresh flavor.
Kefir is easy to make at home. All you need is a kefir culture and some milk. Over-ripe kefir contains very high levels of the potent folic acid.
Buttermilk it what is left when making butter. It’s lighter than milk but contains many nutrients. Buttermilk is refreshing, nutritious and can be used in smoothies or when baking.
In addition, fermented buttermilk contains enzymes, B12, phosphorous, potassium, is high in protein and calcium. The beneficial bacteria promote a healthy digestive tract.
A definite favorite. Fermented butter has a creamy, very buttery taste and when making it yourself you can make it just the way you love it. Try making cultured butter from raw cream.
Lassi is an Asian raw yogurt drink traditionally enjoyed before dinner. There are many varieties of lassi, but you should choose the unsweetened kind to avoid excess sugar. It is better to add fruit, berries or herbs to enhance the flavor—mango, strawberries, saffron are superb additions.
In Turkey we were offered a similar drink called ayran or laban. It is yogurt mixed with cold water and sometimes a little salt, very refreshing in the summer.
The unhealthy options contain much sugar, artificial coloring or other unhealthy substances.
Danone (or Dannon): Offer a wide array of probiotic dairy products as yogurt in the Activia series. Such products may be tasty but they often loaded with sugar and/or other unhealthy additives. Such food giants could easily develop excellent and healthy fermented milk products if they wanted.
In any case, these products are not your healthiest choice. Some research claims these products have some health benefits. However, be aware that much research is funded by the companies themselves and will not be objective.
Yakult: In Japan and in some countries in Europe, the Yakult brand is popular. While Yakult contains some living, beneficial bacteria, it also contains much sugar and other additives. Standard Yakult has 18% sugar contents. As long as they insist all that sugar is needed, it is not a good alternative.
Consuming fermented milk products
Wherever you live, you can probably find fermented dairy without too many additives.
Probiotic bacteria create a suitable gut environment for bacteria to thrive in. Consuming fermented milk products is a great way to promote and support the digestive tract.
In one study, subjects consumed fermented milk products for 12 weeks (containing Lactobacillus). Participants reduced abdominal fat with 4.6 percent on the average.