Cream and health

Cream is the lighter-weight portion of milk, which still contains all the main constituents of milk but in different proportions. The fat content of cream is higher than that of milk, and the water content and other constituents are lower. Cream is separated from the milk and heat treated. Cream is that part of cows’ milk rich in fat that has been separated from the milk.
Cream has a high fat content. It is therefore advisable to consume cream in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Tablespoon cream

A 2-tablespoon serving of cream contains between 100 and 110 calories and 11 grams of fat, of which 7 grams are saturated. That's about 35 percent of your daily saturated fat limit, if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Limiting your intake of saturated fat to 7 percent or less of your daily calories can help lower your cholesterol, which can cut your risk of heart disease, notes the Harvard School of Public Health. You'll get a gram or less of protein in a serving of cream

Types of cream and their fat content

Clotted cream
Double cream
Whipping cream
Sterilized cream
Cream or single cream
Sterilized half cream
Half cream

Other creams available include:

  • Extra thick double cream (48 per cent) homogenized and pasteurized – will not whip.
  • Spooning cream or extra thick textured cream (30 per cent).
  • Frozen cream (single, whipping or double).
  • Aerosol cream – heat treated by UHT method to give a whipped cream
  • Source cream (18 per cent) cream soured by addition of a ‘starter’
  • Crème fraiche – is a similar product with a higher fat content.

Whipping of cream

For cream to be whipped it must have fat content of 38-42 per cent. If the fat content is too low there will not be enough fat to enclose the air bubbles and form the form. Conversely, if the fat content is too high, the fat globules come into contact too easily, move against each other and form butter granules before the air can be incorporated to form the form.

The addition of stabilizers to cream prevents seepage (particularly important when cream is used in flour confectionery). Cream substitutes are, in the main, based on vegetable fats or oils, which are emulsified in water with other permitted substances.

Health storage of cream

  • Fresh cream should be kept in the container in which it is delivered.
  • Fresh cream must be stored in the refrigeration until required.
  • Cream should be kept covered as it easily absorbs smells from other foods, such as onions and fish.
  • Fresh cream should be ordered daily.
  • Tinned cream should be stored in cool, dry, ventilated rooms.
  • Frozen cream should be thawed only as required and not refrozen.
  • Artificial cream should be kept in the refrigerator.

Vitamins and Minerals

Cream isn't an impressive source of many vitamins and minerals, but you do get 2 percent of your daily calcium needs in a 2-tablespoon serving of it. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth and also plays a role in the health of your heart and muscles, too. Depending on what brand of cream you eat, you'll also get between 8 percent and 15 percent of your daily vitamin A needs.

Health Benefits

Though cream won't do much to increase your overall health or ward off illness, it is low in carbohydrates, which can be appealing if you're watching your carb intake. A 2-tablespoon serving of cream has just 1 gram of carbs or less. Some brands of cream contain probiotics, which are bacteria that live in your gut and help keep you healthy. Look for cream that has the words "live and active cultures" on the label, which means it contains these beneficial probiotics, recommends Alex Lewin in his book "Real Food Fermentation."

Cream has a high fat content. It is therefore advisable to consume cream in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Tran’s fatty acids

Like all dairy products cream contains naturally occurring Trans fatty acids.

Trans fatty acids occur naturally in small amounts in ruminant meats, milk and milk products. They can also be found in many industrially produced products such as margarine, and other manufactured foods containing hydrogenated fat such as bakery products, snacks and fried foods. Trans fatty acids found in industrially produced products have been shown to have a negative effect on risk factors for CVD. However naturally occurring trans fatty acids found in dairy products do not have the same effect and there is no evidence to suggest that natural trans fatty acids are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, one natural trans fatty acid; conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a component of milk and dairy foods, has been suggested to offer a number of potential health benefits.

Ruminant meats and milk fats, and products derived from them provide almost half of the trans fatty acids in the average diet. The latest national survey in adults aged 19 to 64 years of age, showed that milk and milk products account for 22% of trans fatty acids in the typical diet with the main contributor within this food group being cheese. However the average intake of trans fatty acids is less than 2g per day for all age groups, representing 0.8% of food energy, which falls below the maximum recommended intake of 2% of our total food energy by the Department of Health and therefore is not a cause for concern.
Milk and its health benefits
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