Health Benefits of Sour MilkOctober 4, 2012 • By dr_der_ico
Fermented or sour milk has been proven to lower cholesterol and has also been linked to cancer prevention. The lactic acid bacteria that are found in abundance in sour milk help in removing toxin producing bacteria that can be found in the intestines. Studies show that removal of these toxic bacteria can help prolong life. But what exactly are lactic acid bacteria?
Lactic acid bacteria are what cause milk to coagulate or curd during the fermentation process. Lactic acid bacteria feed on the lactose found in milk, hence the name. As the bacteria feeds on the lactose, it breaks it down into lactic acid which is released into the milk. As more and more lactic acid is produced, the milk becomes thick and turns into sour milk. Sometimes this process is done in a controlled process, producing products such as sour cream or cottage cheese, however, this fermentation process also happens at home. If milk is left at room temperatures or is past the expiration date, this fermentation process will begin to happen naturally — and quite rapidly.
For the most part, people view coagulated milk as having spoiled or “gone bad”. However, if the milk is stored in the proper controlled conditions (between 30 to 40 degrees Celsius); a useable and healthy product can be derived from sour milk. This controlled fermentation will usually produce yogurt, which is also available commercially. Whatever form sour milk takes, there are some tremendous health benefits that one can acquire from it.
One of the greatest health benefits of sour milk is lowered cholesterol. A high level of “bad” cholesterol can contribute to various diseases, especially heart disease. Heart attack or other heart conditions are often attributed to cholesterol build-up in the arteries. Studies have shown that consumption of sour milk products can help lower cholesterol in the body, which in turns decreases one’s chance of heart disease.
Both homemade and commercial sour milk products have been shown to contain anticancer properties. The probiotics of sour milk inhibit many carcinogens from building up in the body. The bacteria also produce increased intestinal acidity that can aid in removal of fecal mutagens, which can cause certain types of cancers when left unchecked.
Sour milk is also a good source of calcium for people suffering from lactose intolerance. Those with lactose intolerance have an inability to digest lactose, leading to uncomfortable digestive issues such as gas or diarrhea. Lactose intolerance can result from heredity, or suddenly appear with age. In any case, there is as much 70 percent of the world population with a lactose allergy. Because lactose is already broken down in sour milk, many people with lactose intolerance have little problems with consuming it.
Finally, a wonderful health benefit of sour milk is the boosting the immune system. There have been many studies that have concluded that the probiotic bacteria of sour milk stimulate the immune system and gradually strengthen it. Therefore, it is a healthy and natural way to boost the immune system of both children and the elderly — both of which benefit the most from a healthy immune system.