Amasai, A Probiotic Drink You May Be Missing in Your Diet

Amasai, A Probiotic Drink You May Be Missing in Your Diet In Lombard IL

Chiropractic Lombard IL Amasai

People are generally delighted to tell you what they're eating - in fact, a vast proportion of social media pictures are of the meals in front of them. At the other end of our bodies, after our food has gone through a complicated digestive process, we eliminate the waste. This isn't something we're nearly as comfortable talking about - in fact it's often a taboo subject with Lombard IL chiropractors. Many people admit to their 'anal retentiveness' and how they couldn't possibly poop in a public bathroom or when they're away from home.

It's surprising that there is such sensitivity around poop - after all, how your gut functions, resulting in the elimination of waste, is a crucial indicator of the health of your entire body. A healthy gut contributes not only to your body's well-being but also to your mental state. Constipation, lack of nutrients, and bowel disorders all have an effect on your moods. Your poop can also alert you to a possible illness, so it's a quick and easy way to self-diagnose. But still, many people tend to resist the subject and certainly shy away from conducting their own inspections. This needs to change!

If you happen to be traveling through South Africa, you may come across a delicious drink called amasai or amasi. This drink is an ingenious way to ferment milk to allow it to stay fresh longer as well as provide health benefits. Traditionally this thick substance resembling cottage cheese in taste and texture, was eaten with spoons due to its thick consistency. Today is still enjoyed by South Africans but is gaining popularity around the world as a health drink. Providing taste and nutrition like kefir, another fermented milk, amasai is popping up in health stores around the globe.

Amasai- The Tradition

Amasai is fermented unpasteurized cow's milk. Traditionally it is it is stored in a container to ferment. Once fermentation has taken place the milk has taken two forms- a watery part named umlaza and the thicken portion named amasai. It was commonly poured over a corn porridge or consumed alone. The African people traditionally thought this drink would make a man stronger, which modern science is beginning to see the reasoning behind this ancient claim1. It was even mentioned by the fleeing Nelson Mandela while hiding from the Apartheid government. Because of its strong traditional roots among the African people, it almost tipped his hunters of his whereabouts when they noticed it in the window of the place he was hiding2.

Chiropractic Lombard Il All About Amasi

Fermented Foods In Lombard IL

Fermentation is the process of preserving foods by breaking down a substance into a simpler one. There are two main types of fermentation. These are based upon the chemicals of which they form. One type is called alcoholic fermentation or ethanol fermentation. This is the type of fermentation that takes place when alcoholic beverages are made, or bread is baked. The second type of fermentation is called lactic acid fermentation. This process takes place in foods such as dairy products to produce lactic acid and probiotic properties. The lactobacillus strains of bacteria are most prominent and convert sugar to lactic acid. Common foods that use lactic acid fermentation include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and amasai.

Fermented foods may seem like a new health craze but have been around for a very long time. It is estimated that as early 6000 BC, people groups around the world have used fermentation to preserve their foods. For many cultures the act of fermentation has allowed foods that could be poisonous to be consumed such as is the case with fermented cassava in Africa. Others were designed to prevent food-borne pathogens and still others used fermented foods for medicinal purposes as in Asian cultures3.

In many parts of the world today, we have refrigeration and proper cooking techniques to help aid in the prevention of food-borne pathogens, yet fermented foods are still of great importance and interest to the scientific community. The probiotics found within fermented foods catapulted them into the spotlight as researchers discover just how healthy these foods are for us as well as our early ancestors who consumed them.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermentation of food goes deeper than just the preservation of food. Studies show that fermentation enhances the food on many levels. Aesthetically, taste and sometimes quality of the food is altered/improved. Nutritionally, chemicals in the food that could be toxic may be downgraded to safe forms, antioxidants and anti-microbial compounds are formed, and probiotics functions are released. The most well-known of these probiotics are Lactobacilli, Lactococcus and Enterococcus4. These properties can work on major systems of the body. Examples include:

  • Gut- The probiotics found within fermented foods are suggested to restore the microbe colonies in the gut. Until recently, it was thought that only certain strains of probiotics would do this but now it is understood that this maybe incorrect. Research is discovering the benefits in larger numbers of strains.Multiple studies show the benefit to the gut by probiotics found in food. A study demonstrated the reduction of fever and decrease of constipation in the elderly when consuming fermented foods6. Signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome were also decreased in an adult population when consuming fermented foods7. Studies conducted on mice showed a decrease in colitis as well as inflammation8,9.
  • Brain/ Emotional- gut brain- The brain and the gut are so closely connected that scientists have coined a new system for this connection named the enteric nervous system (ENS). It is estimated that about 95% of the serotonin produced in the body is produced in the gut. Over 30 neurotransmitters are also formed in the gut10. A healthy gut aided by the consumption of fermented food and the probiotics found within, help to promote emotional wellbeing. Studies indicate that when the gut is unhealthy there is a greater chance of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
  • Weight Maintenance- Studies have linked certain fermented foods to weight loss. In a 12-week study, women consuming fermented foods had greater success in weight loss including decreased Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat percentage and inches around the waist than those who did not consume the fermented foods11.
  • Even More Benefits- Other studies have demonstrated a possible reduction of cholesterol, reduction of factors associated with heart disease, hypertension, and insulin resistance by use of these foods12.

Dairy Foods

Dairy fermented foods such as amasai, kefir and yogurt do not disappoint when it comes to health benefits. Lactic acid found within dairy foods is known to produce microbes that protect the stomach and intestine against pathogens as well as decreasing the enzyme activity that would increase activity of certain pathogens. In other words, lactic acid is increasing immunity in great degrees13. As with other fermented foods, dairy based fermented foods have shown positive results in studies as well. Such studies have shown results such as:

  • A decrease in constipation;
  • Protection of the GI tract from harmful pathogens;
  • Increase in immunity;
  • Possible protection of bone mass in osteoporosis;
  • Increased emotional and/or mental well-being12.

Current studies are still underway to determine the exact ways these foods provide such benefits. Yet, in the meantime, the benefits can be enjoyed. An important note must be made, if there is a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, consuming these foods is not recommended.

So, with all the benefits of fermented foods, particularly amasai, why not join many others who have found this often-overlooked drink (at least here in the West) and reap the health benefits? You don't have to travel to South Africa, to come across a delicious drink called amasai or amasi. What may have started out as an ingenious way to ferment milk to allow it to stay fresh longer has truly proven to provide many health benefits through the study of probiotics stains. The drink that was thought to make a man stronger in African tradition has taken tradition to science and proven it to be correct. Yes, it is still consumed and enjoyed by South Africans today but due to its gain in popularity around the world as a health drink, they aren't the only ones who can enjoy it. Unless you are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, next time you are looking for kefir or yogurt, add amasai to your shopping list and enjoy.

If you're ready to get help with your health, contact us at the BrightLife Clinic today to schedule an appointment.

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Chiropractic Lombard IL BrightLife Clinic