For years, plain Greek yogurt was my favorite dairy product. Its creamy consistency and tangy flavor won me over immediately. The fact that it’s a probiotic-rich food that supports a healthy gut was an added benefit. Lately, though, my loyalty has switched from Green yogurt to Icelandic skyr. Why? Because skyr is more dense, more intensely flavored, and may be more beneficial for gut health and digestion. Speaking with three health and nutrition experts, I got the scoop on the yogurt that’s been a staple in Iceland for more than 1,000 years.
What is skyr?
Skyr (pronounced “skeer”) is a yogurt that’s made by heating skim milk and adding heirloom dairy cultures to thicken it before straining. This process makes skyr more densely concentrated than traditional yogurt. In fact, it takes nearly 4 cups of milk to make one cup of skyr — giving it an ultra thick and creamy texture. This yogurt’s sour, tart flavor also makes it a blank canvas for both sweet and savory ingredients. Watch the video below to see how authentic skyr is made.
Is skyr a better option than Greek yogurt for gut health?
The short answer: it depends. Similar to Greek yogurt, skyr is rich in probiotics (live organisms) that improve healthy gut bacteria growth. Having an array of good gut bacteria helps reduce inflammation, enhance your immune system, and aid digestion. “Depending on the brand, skyr might have a higher probiotic content than Greek yogurt,” registered dietitian Brenda Peralta, RD, tells First for Women. Be sure to check the nutrition label on a container of skyr to see its exact probiotic content.
This yogurt is also full of nutrients that blow other yogurts out of the water. Here, Steve Hruby, DC (Doctor of Chiropractic), and co-founder of Superhumn, shares three additional skyr health benefits:
- Skyr is lower in fat and calories than Greek yogurt because it’s made from skim milk instead of full-fat milk.
- A ½ cup serving of skyr has about 14 grams of protein. This is more than double that of a ½ cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, which contains about 7 grams.
- Skyr contains roughly 12 percent more calcium than nonfat Greek yogurt — and about 30 percent more vitamin D.
The nutritional content of skyr only gets better: a 100 gram serving contains about 87 calories. This is lower than the same amount of plain whole milk Greek yogurt, which contains about 97 calories. Ultimately, skyr is an excellent option to include in your daily dairy intake.
How can I enjoy skyr?
Skyr is becoming increasingly popular with brands such as Siggi’s (Buy from Target, $1.59), Icelandic Provisions (Buy a 12-pack from Walmart, $71.96), and Painterland Sisters (Find where to buy at PainterlandSisters.com) available in stores nationwide. Registered dietitian Kristin Gillespie, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, says that skyr is best enjoyed on its own or topped with fruit and granola. She adds that it can be used as a healthy substitute for sour cream, buttermilk, butter, or oil. Other dishes that use this yogurt include Wild Blueberry and Bilberry Skyr French Toast, Spicy Feta and Skyr Dip, and Mushroom Biryani.
What This Means for You
The next time you’re at the store, buy a container of skyr and try it for yourself. You may be shocked at how its texture, flavor, and versatility rival other kinds of yogurt. Let your taste buds be the judge and reap the benefits for your gut and overall health!
Looking to enjoy another healthy dairy option? Check out our story on what labneh is and how to incorporate it into your everyday meals.
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