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Are Fermented Dairy Products Such As Yoghurt, Curd Healthier Than Fresh Dairy?

Cultured buttermilk, sour cream, kefir and yoghurt are some of the common fermented dairy products, and they are easily on the 'good food' list. Termed as cultured dairy products, most of the dairy products become more nutritious when fermented.

Fermentation extends the shelf life of milk. Plus, it makes the milk tasty and easy to digest. Typically, fermentation starts by adding bacteria called lactobacillus [1]. Of course, you can also allow the milk to naturally get sour during the process of fermentation. Fermented dairy is becoming more and more popular because of its distinct taste and health benefits. The fact that they heal your system is why some experts say they are better than milk products.

It is easier for our digestive system to take in (or accept) fermented milk. Besides that, it is great for your liver and pancreas. Additionally, certain studies suggest that fermented milk is less likely to cause side effects than fresh milk for those who are allergic to dairy [2]. However, you should only use fermented dairy products after consulting your doctor. Let's talk about the benefits of fermented dairy.


Health Benefits Of Fermented Dairy

  1. Improves bone health: Fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, contain a significant amount of calcium, which is beneficial to the bones. In addition, fermented dairy products contain vitamins B and phosphorus which are vital for the human body [3]. The high nutritional content of yoghurt may account for the association between eating yoghurt and increased bone density, greater growth in children, and reduced risk of hip fracture in older adults.
  2. Boosts energy levels: There is a substantial amount of nutrients and amino acids found in fermented dairy products that go a long way towards making us feel energetic throughout the day [4].
  3. Enhances immunity: As fermented dairy products are filled with some antibiotic agents that help your system fight pathogens efficiently, they can help enhance your immunity levels [5].
  4. Promotes digestion: Dairy products that are fermented can be beneficial for digestion as well. In addition to containing vitamins and minerals, they also contain gut-friendly bacteria that are beneficial for digestion [6].
  5. Contains fewer carbs: As compared to regular milk products, fermented milk products contain significantly lower amounts of carbohydrates. This makes fermented milk products an excellent replacement for regular milk products. Fermentation of milk reduces the number of sugars that are present in it as well [7].
  6. Improves heart health: Several studies have demonstrated a link between consuming yoghurt and a reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease. Healthy fat levels in the blood, particularly lower total cholesterol, and reduced blood pressure may explain these effects [8].
  7. Eases diarrhoea: Children and infants with diarrhoea may benefit from drinking lactobacillus casei fermented milk. Researchers have also found that by using a specific fermented milk product (Actimel) containing numerous types of bacteria, children as young as 6 months to as old as 5 years can stop diarrhoea faster [9].
  8. During pregnancy: Research suggests that drinking fermented milk containing multiple types of bacteria during pregnancy and after delivery reduces the risk of a young child developing eczema [10].

What Are The Uses Of Fermented Milk?

Fermented milk is taken by mouth for diarrhoea caused by a virus or antibiotics, stomach flu, hay fever, arthritis, and asthma. It is also used in the treatment of digestive disorders, cancer [11], diabetes [12], high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and many other illnesses, but little scientific evidence supports many of these uses.

In fermented milk, special bacteria are added to regular milk to break down milk proteins as well as lactose, the sugar found in milk. This is effective for people with allergies to milk protein or lactose intolerance, as well as those who have difficulty digesting milk. Additionally, fermented milk may have some antioxidant and immune-stimulating properties.

Here are some uses of fermented milk:

  • For common cold: Research suggests that taking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei can help prevent colds in pre-schoolers. In middle-aged men, fermented milk may help prevent colds [13].
  • For bacterial infection: Research shows that drinking a fermented milk beverage containing multiple types of bacteria daily for 12-16 weeks can improve stomach symptoms caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. Researchers have found that taking a fermented milk product (Actimel) while taking antibiotics for Helicobacter pylori infections makes the treatment more effective [14].
  • For IBS: Research indicates that consuming fermented milk twice daily for four weeks can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as abdominal pain and gas [15].
  • For radiation: It has been found that drinking fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus five days before receiving radiation reduces diarrhoea and other stomach side effects caused by radiation. Fermented milk may also alleviate stomach discomfort following radiation treatment [16].

What Are The Side Effects Of Fermented Dairy Products?

  • Fermented milk is associated with stomach discomfort, diarrhoea, and constipation.
  • Fermented milk may lower blood pressure. The use of fermented milk by people who already have low blood pressure could cause their blood pressure to drop too low.
  • Certain fermented milk products contain live bacteria. The bacteria in fermented milk may grow too well in people who have weak immune systems. In addition to people with HIV/AIDS, this includes people who have taken medication to prevent rejection after an organ transplant. If you have a weakened immune system, talk with your healthcare provider before taking fermented milk products.
  • On A Final Note...

    Fermented dairy products such as curd, yoghurt etc. are healthier than fresh dairy. Studies suggest that fermented milk is less likely to cause side effects than fresh milk, and is easier to digest, making it slightly on the healthier side than fresh dairy.

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