Is Skyr All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Skyr is a cultured dairy product that has been a part of the Icelandic diet for more than a thousand years. It has found its way to many parts of the world as a health food because it has a high calcium and protein content, as well as low sugar and is virtually fat-free.
Traditionally made with raw milk, skyr is now made using pasteurized skimmed milk. It has a thick texture and a smooth, rich taste that is slightly sour with a hint of sweetness. Similar to yogurt, it’s now being marketed with added flavours such as blueberry and vanilla, increasing its appeal.
Skyr has been getting a lot of love from the fitness and health industry because of its nutrient content–but is it all just hype? Let’s take a closer look at skyr and the health benefits it’s purported to have.
What is skyr?
Skyr is technically a soft cheese made from skimmed milk, although it is marketed as a yogurt. In the process of ultra-filtration, whey is removed from the milk, resulting in a thick substance. A culture of lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus is then added.
Because it is strained to a consistency of whipped custard, skyr needs nearly three times more milk to produce than yogurt–it takes roughly 3.5 litres of milk to make 1 litre of skyr. And while it’s sold commercially as a yogurt, it has more density and a higher calcium and protein content than yogurt. A 6-ounce container of plain skyr usually contains 17 grams of protein, which is up to three times more protein than what you can get from non-fat yogurt.
How do you eat it?
Skyr can be eaten straight from the container, like yogurt, or mixed with almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and fresh fruit. And like yogurt, you can make it into a smoothie by putting it in a blender with crushed ice, some juice and fresh berries. You can also use skyr to replace sour cream or make it into a dip for veggies and snacks.
What are the health benefits of skyr?
The live active bacteria or probiotics in skyr are similar to what you can find in Greek yogurt. These probiotics are known to promote digestive tract health by boosting the healthy bacterial flora in the gut that assist with immunity as well as the absorption and utilisation of nutrients.
The protein quality is excellent too. Being a source of lean protein, skyr can help in making you feel fuller longer, allowing you to eat less, which helps when you’re trying to lose weight.
The live active bacterial cultures in skyr, including B. lactis, L. delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus and L. acidophilus are “good” bacteria that help in keeping the levels of potentially “bad” bacteria in check and therefore preventing diseases such as yeast, vaginal and urinary tract infection.
Incorporating skyr into your daily diet can also help lower your risk of high blood cholesterol and heart disease. And because it has a high calcium content, skyr also decreases your risk of developing bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
With all its weight loss, cardiovascular, skeletal and other health benefits, it looks like skyr isn’t just another health food fad, but the real deal when it comes to promoting overall health. It’s definitely an excellent product to include in your diet!