Health

Product Test: The Collective Tummy Love Kefir

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kefirKiwi dairy brand The Collective has recently introduced two new flavoured Kefir ‘Tummy Love’ pourable yoghurts to its range which already included an unflavoured Kefir yoghurt.

Available in two flavours – blueberry or unsweetened coconut – The Collective sent me a bottle of each to try out.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a tart, fermented milk drink with the consistency of a pourable yoghurt. It can be made with any type of milk – sheep, cow’s, goat’s, soy, coconut or rice – and kefir grains which are gooey live active cultures made of yeast and bacteria; the beneficial probiotic bacteria typically found in yoghurt.

Although it has only recently started appearing on mainstream supermarket shelves in New Zealand as a new popular health produuct, kefir has been around for centuries and has its origins in the mountains extending between southeastern Europe and Asia.

Is it healthy?

Regular flavoured yoghurt is often sweetened with a lot of sugar, and this kefir does have less sugar in comparison. For the unsweetened coconut flavour, there is just 3.6g of sugar per 100mls. For the blueberry, 7.4g per 100mls (4 grams = 1 teaspoon).

Standard flavoured yoghurt is typically around 10g or more of sugar per 100mls.

Aside from being a rich source of calcium and protein, the key health benefit of kefir is the good bacteria – or probiotics – which occur naturally and help keep your digestive system healthy.

Research has indicated the balance between good and bad bacteria is often thrown out of whack in modern day lifestyles thanks to processed sugar, antibiotics, unhealthy fats and processed foods. Probiotics keep the ‘bad’ bacteria in check, keeping your tummy happy while also contributing to a healthy immune system and good overall body health.

Kefir can also help with lactose intolerance issues as, even though kefir is a milk product, the fermentation process actually changes the chemical composition of the milk which leaves it relatively low in lactose.

Does it taste good?

Don’t use these expecting them to taste like regular yoghurt, they are definitely more tart! I often have porridge for breakfast with blueberries and yoghurt, so I tried substituting my standard yoghurt for the kefir and found it a little sour for my tastebuds compared to what I’m used to. They were also passed around at a family dinner for dessert to accompany a chocolate cake one evening with generally good reviews.

My favourite way to have this was actually just on its own, blended into a smoothie, or to pour it over fruit as the natural sugars took away some of the tartness.

The verdict

If you want the benefits of probiotics but don’t want as much sugar as you’ll typically find in mainstream yoghurts, kefir will be great for you. If you are a fan of sour tangy flavours, all the better!

The Collective Kefir Tummy Love Pourable Yoghurt (1L) RRP$6.29 is natural, vegetarian, contains no added sugar and is also gluten-free. Available from all good supermarkets and specialty food stores nationwide. For more info, visit www.thecollective.kiwi or find them on Facebook.

Image / NZ Real Health

Ange is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, wife, and mother (with second bubba on the way!) based in Auckland, New Zealand.

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