Dodge Diabetes with Fermented Dairy?

June 06, 2014

Regularly eating yogurt and other fermented dairy foods can slash the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, find out how much you need and more here...

Regularly eating yogurt and other fermented dairy foods can slash the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 28 percent, according to researchers from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University.

Lead researcher Dr Nita Forouhi said: “This research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.”  Beneficial probiotic bacteria and vitamin K in fermented dairy products may help to explain the results, which appear in the latest edition of the journal Diabetologia.

Those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented products were more than a fifth less likely to develop diabetes than non-consumers. The effect was seen in individuals who consumed an average of four-and-a-half standard servings of yogurt per week.

What’s so great about fermented foods anyway?

Fermented foods and drinks help build and maintain our inner ecosystem, i.e. they make sure the digestive tract has ample beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria help digest, synthesize, and assimilate nutrients necessary for good health. They also strengthen the immune system; 70 percent of which is housed in the intestines (digestive tract).

Fermentation is also thought to enhance the nutritional value of foods. Fermented foods contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, and because the fermentation process partially breaks down its contents, the nutrients are easier to digest or more bioavailable.

Fermented foods that have not undergone pasteurization (or tout the live active culture stamp), contain live, active cultures of probiotics which as mentioned above help maintain the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

What are some other fermented dairy products other than yogurt?

Kefir. Kefir is a fermented yogurt-like drink that dates back centuries to the shepherds of the Caucasus Mountains. Kefir is produced with starter grains, known as kefir grains, which contain active microorganisms consisting of 83 to 90 percent lactic acid bacteria and 10 to 17 percent yeast. Kefir incorporates various essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes, particularly phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and vitamins B2, B12, D, K and A.

Cheese may be the most popular fermented milk product, using more than one-third of all milk produced in the United States each year for its production. Both soft and hard cheeses are produced by culturing milk for an extended period of time. Certain types of cheeses can be made simply by straining the moisture out of sour cream or yogurt. Some other types of cheese, however, require additional steps in the culturing and fermentation process.

Sour cream, buttermilk and cottage cheese are also fermented.