Wendyl Wants To Know
Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl Nissen: A yoghurt for dairy free eaters

4 comments
Coconut cream provides an alternative natural food full of beneficial bacteria.
Doctors Choice Dairy Free Bio Yoghurt - made from Coconut, $7.99 for 330g. Photo / Supplied
Doctors Choice Dairy Free Bio Yoghurt - made from Coconut, $7.99 for 330g. Photo / Supplied

The world has gone mad for coconut. Coconut water, milk and cream is in every health food as we search for more ways to improve our health.

Coconut is a great alternative to dairy and in this case someone has worked out how to turn coconut cream into yoghurt which will bring joy to the hearts of dairy-free eaters.

And for a dairy eater like me it's a nice alternative on the muesli at breakfast.

Doctors Choice Dairy Free Bio Yoghurt - made from Coconut, $7.99 for 330g.

Coconut cream

I recently did a Fijian cooking class so I know that coconut cream comes from squeezing the ripe coconut meat.

I also know that coconut is very good for you. It has no trans fats but is high in saturated fat which means some health professionals advise caution.

But others would argue that the fat is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid.

Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease-causing organisms.

It is therefore thought that consumption of coconut water, milk and cream may help protect the body from infections and viruses.

The MCFAs are also rapidly metabolised into energy in the liver. So, unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat.

This does not mean they won't contribute to heart disease - they are still a fat - but they have a different effect than saturated fats.

Dairy free probiotic cultures (including L.acidophilus and bifidus)

Lactobacillus acidophilus is considered a probiotic bacteria, meaning it has properties that inhibit growth of dangerous bacteria.

The lacto part of its name would make you think it comes from milk. But apparently not. Although it is commonly found in yoghurt it is not a dairy product.

You can also find it in pickles, soy products and other fermented foods. L. acidophilus assists your body by breaking down food in your intestines.

During this process, the bacteria release lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and other substances that are toxic to disease-causing bacteria. These characteristics give L. acidophilus its probiotic properties.

Bifidus is Bifidobacteria, another common group of beneficial organisms found naturally in the intestines.

It can be effective for the prevention and treatment of various intestinal disorders including diarrhoea, IBS and ulcerative colitis, according to the US National Library of Medicine.

It has also shown potential in treating a skin condition in infants called atopic eczema.

Coconut cream contains stabiliser Xanthan gum (E415), Guar Gum (E412) and Carrageenan (E407).

Because coconut cream is a mix of oils and water it will settle and separate over time so you will usually find it has added emulsifiers or stabilisers.

In this case these three gums all occur in nature with xanthan coming from fermented glucose and sucrose, guar is extracted from seeds and carrageenan comes from red seaweeds.

However, the carrageenan is not recommended to be taken in large quantities.

Highlights

• Yoghurt using coconut cream

• Contains beneficial bacteria which is dairy-free

• Expensive but tastes great

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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