Imagine a creamy yogurt or a smooth delicious cheese that makes your mouth water. “Can this really be healthy?” you wonder. Yes, a common complaint is that healthy food is boring. Not true.
Fermented milk products prepared on full-fat milk or cream are both nutritious and tasty. Just make right choices.
Fermented milk products
Below are a few popular fermented milk products. Some you might want to try, others you should avoid as .any commercially fermented milk products are loaded with sugar and additives.
What to avoid: Most supermarkets have a dazzling array of yogurt products for all tastes. But most contain much sugar and unhealthy additives. This includes most frozen yogurt. Sorry!
Recommended: Plain, unflavoured, full-fat, unsweetened yogurt like Greek yogurt with live microorganisms is great.
Try yogurt made from raw, unpasteurized milk. I think it has a creamier and fuller taste and contains vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients. Or try making homemade yogurt, which is simple and fun.
What to avoid: 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. Consuming buttermilk is great for your health—its refreshing, nutritious and can be used in smoothies or when baking.
In addition, cultured or fermented buttermilk has many health benefits; it contains natural enzymes, B12, phosphorous, potassium, is high in protein, and an effective source of calcium. The beneficial bacteria promote a healthy digestive tract. Lactose intolerant can often consume buttermilk made from raw milk.
One of my favorites. It has a creamy, very buttery taste and when making it yourself you can make it just the way you love it. The tastiest cultured butter is made from raw, unpasteurised 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.
When we visited Turkey we had a similar drink called ayran or laban. It is yogurt mixed with cold water and sometimes a little salt, very refreshing.
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.
Consume fermented milk products daily
Wherever you live, you can probably find some fermented milk products without much sugar added.
Probiotic bacteria consumed does not replace the gut microflora but it create a suitable gut environment for bacteria to thrive in. Consuming fermented milk products is a great way to promote and support your 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.
Try to consume fermented milk products daily, or, at least, weekly!