When it comes to keeping yourself cool this summer, do you find yourself reaching for the ice-cold bottle of soda like so many other Americans? It’s easy to do. Not only are they refreshing, they’re so easily available that it has become something of a habit. However, as I’m sure you’re well aware, they’re full of processed sugars and additives, too much of which may start to cause problems. Many countries around the world take a different approach when it comes to keeping refreshed in the heat, they drink yogurt drinks…
Yogurt has a high water content, yet is low in sugar, particularly processed sugars. This means that unlike with high-calorie sodas, your body doesn’t need to expel energy to break down and digest the fast acting sugars which causes your body to heat up. As well as this, the texture of yogurt sticks to the side of your stomach, coating it in a cooling layer that is felt for much longer than with sugar based soft drinks. So, with this in mind, here are some great natural yogurt drinks to help keep you cool this summer.
Kefir – Kefir, pronounced “Keh-FEER“, is an ancient recipe that originates from the eastern Balkans and Turkey, but has also become the next big thing for health food enthusiasts. The drink is actually one of the most refreshing drinks available. Kefir is made by placing natural lactose-eating cultures and yeast into whole cow’s or goat’s milk and leaving it for 24-36 hours before straining. The cultures eat away the natural sugars, making this a particularly low-calorie beverage, but they also promote the production of essential “good bacteria” that helps digestion and the immune system. On a hot summer’s day, a nice cold glass of kefir really does hit the spot!
Ayran – Ayran is a popular and refreshing drink from the Middle East that has now spread to other regions such as Russia, the Caucasus, the Balkans and North Africa. Served chilled, this iced yogurt drink was specifically designed to be a refreshing addition to cool the tongue after a hot and spicy meal. It is made by adding iced water to natural yogurt but is often flavored with fruit syrup or, more traditionally, simply a pinch of salt. Turkish people are so fond of the drink, that many believe it should be officially known as Turkey’s national beverage!
Kumis – Kumis is similar to kefir; however, it is made using Mare (female horse) milk and uses a liquid starter for its fermentation process rather than a solid one like with kefir. This is because mare’s milk is higher in sugar than that of cows or goats, and therefore a more direct fermentation is needed. When made properly it is sweet, extremely healthy and very refreshing. Modern western versions of this drink often use cow’s milk with added sugar before the fermentation process, as mare’s milk is not so readily available here in the USA. A word of warning… if you ever do find yourself with a glass of traditional Kumis, go easy as it can contain a surprisingly high alcohol content!
Lassi – A bit more well known, the lassi is an Indian yogurt based drink often mixed with fruit, spices or salt. This drink is a major source of protein for Indians, especially as so many eat a purely vegetarian diet. Made popular in the 1970’s by traveling hippies who made their way back to the USA, this drink really can be called the ultimate refreshing yogurt drink. Great traditional flavors include mango, honey and even “masala” lassi.
Next time you find yourself suffering in the sweltering heat, rather than reaching for that typical bottle of sugar filled soda, why not try a healthier and more refreshing option with a nice yogurt drink? At NetCost Market we stock a range of great traditional, and more conventional yogurt beverages that we guarantee will keep you cool this summer!