The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Is maas healthy?

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Yes. Like all fermented milk products, maas contributes to providing many positive nutrients and substances to the diet, thereby promoting good health. It has a low GI (glycaemic index), helps to control appetite and encourages weight loss. It also supports probiotics, lowers blood fats and helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. Maas also contains less lactose than standard milk, which makes it more acceptable to people with lactose intolerance.

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Fermented milk products such as maas (amasi) or yoghurt may have several health benefits:

  • Organic acids (predominantly lactic acid) produced during the fermentation process lower the pH of the milk (pH of 4.29). This causes the milk to thicken somewhat and also inhibits the growth of several types of micro-organisms that cause milk to spoil. Fermented milk therefore has a longer shelf life than fresh milk and can be stored for up to 21 days at <5 °C.
  • The low pH of maas can help to delay gastric emptying, resulting in beneficial effects on the glycaemic response, appetite control and satiety.
  • Maas is an ideal vehicle for the delivery of probiotics. Probiotics as included in fermented milk products such as maas can help with improving blood lipid profiles.
  • The high potassium and relatively low sodium content of maas may help to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization recommends an increased potassium intake from food and a lower sodium intake to reduce blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease, and improve bone density.
  • Like other fermented dairy products, maas has a lower lactose content than fresh milk. This is due to the conversion of lactose by lactic acid bacteria. Maas is therefore generally well tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant.
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