Earlier this week we discussed the benefits of milk alternatives but it’s important to remember that dairy milk can also be really great for our health. You might have heard people discussing the benefits of fermented milk before, but what is it and why should you try it?
What is Fermented Milk?
Fermented milk is made by fermenting milk with lactic acid bacteria. This breaks down the protein and lactose, which are the parts that people can be intolerant of or allergic to. So, fermentation makes milk easier to digest, especially for those with a lactose intolerance. They have often been used to help with abdominal problems and diarrhea. But many enjoy fermented milk products just because they taste great and are good for digestive health.
Why Should You Try It?
With only 30-50% of the lactose of milk, fermented milk products are a great alternative for anyone lactose intolerant. The fermentation process makes the milk much easier to digest so can be an excellent way to enjoy tasty milk products without discomfort.
The vitamin and mineral content of fermented milk products depends on the process but is largely similar to that of un-fermented milk. However, some researchers suggest that these nutrients are made more available to the body through fermentation. This makes fermented milk products a great source of calcium, phosphorus and zinc.
One of the main reasons fermented products are thought to be so beneficial for our health is the bacteria in them. The bacteria used in the fermentation process is thought to be able to reach our gut and help out with digestion.
Fermented milk products also last much longer than milk. In Scandinavia, people traditionally made their own fermented milk products at home and could keep them for months just stored in a cold room. So any fermented milk products that you buy should last for ages in the fridge!
How Can You Try It?
Fermented milk products are found in most supermarkets. Things like sour cream and buttermilk are common in the dairy isle. My favourite kind of fermented milk product is Skyr, which is is a kind of Icelandic yoghurt. It’s normally thicker than yoghurt but tastes really similar and you can get really low fat and low sugar varieties. There’s a great fat-free one in Lidl with less than 4g of sugar per 100g! I prefer it to normal yoghurt!
Fermented milk products also make a great addition to muesli. One of my favourite healthy snacks is some muesli mixed with skyr and either flaxseeds or chia seeds and some fruit. It’s delicious and I know it’ll keep me full until my next meal!
Try Making Your Own Milk Kefir
Kefir is a kind of fermented milk product that has a kind of cheesy or yoghurty flavour but is more savoury and light. It’s full of healthy bacteria and can can be made into cheeses or sour cream. You can use it just like yoghurt or milk, you can put it in a smoothie or add it to muesli. But, what’s even better is that you can easily make it at home. Check out this recipe and give it a try!
What’s your favourite fermented milk product? Whether you enjoy them all the time or are just trying them out, we’d love to see how you enjoy fermented milks!