Since July is Mandela month, we’re taking a look at one of his favourite foods: Amasi.

Amasi is a fermented milk products commonly consumed throughout South Africa. It has the consistency of a liquid yogurt and a tart, fermented taste. Traditionally it is made from unpasteurised milk which is left in a calabash until it ferments. Nowadays it is made with a culture and sold in supermarkets.

Amasi contains a large amount of lactic acid bacteria which is a valuable and effective probiotic with gut-healing and immune-boosting properties.

According to an article on Health24, these are some of the health benefits of fermented foods:

  • Fermented foods destroy and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. The lactic acid in fermented foods is capable of killing many of these bacteria.
  • Fermented foods help protect the stomach. They can ease digestive discomfort by increasing stomach acidity when necessary and protect the lining of the stomach and intestines if there is too much acid.
  • Fermented foods encourage the production of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps increase bowel movements and alleviates constipation problems. It also encourages the release of digestive juices and enzymes.
  • Fermented foods improve pancreatic function. The carbohydrates in fermented foods have already been broken down and, unlike normal carbs, place much less of a burden on the pancreas.

Other types of fermented foods with loads of health benefits include Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Pickles, Miso and Kimchi.

You’ve probably used amasi already, but for anyone who is trying it out for the first time, amasi can be used as a substitute for buttermilk, and is fabulous for baking, sauces, dips, smoothies or pasta. So give it a try and enjoy all those amazing amasi health benefits!