Ayran – Traditional Turkish Yogurt Drink
Updated: 14 August 2020
Category: What is …?
When you think of traditional Turkish drinks, Ayran is the first to come in mind. Ayran has practically become the national drink of Turkey; which is fitting considering the Turks are known for introducing yogurt to the world. Consequently, Ayran has also started to make its way into European culture.
A mixture of salt, water, and yogurt, Ayran is the ideal drink that goes well with grilled meat dishes, with the mixture producing an incredibly refreshing flavour.
Now, with the increasing popularity of yogurt, the taste for the refreshing, healthy, and delicious drink has spread across the globe!
History of yogurt
While you will find yogurt on all Turkish tables today, either as a side dish or to be consumed plain, it has been a vital part of Turkish cuisine for thousands of years. Apart from being used to make the delicious traditional drink Aryan, it is also used for making sweets, soups, and other Turkish delicacies.
The word yogurt itself has a Turkish origin and comes from the verb ‘yogurmak’ which means to thicken. Yogurt came into being in 6th century BCE when Neolithic shepherds fermented milk in an effort to preserve it for their long journeys. At that time, Turks still led nomadic lives and moved their cows and sheep with them. Thus, they invented yogurts to carry food along with them.
Even today, the best quality Turkish yogurt is made by fermenting lamb and cow milk! Moreover, the bacteria that make Turkish yogurt is beneficial for humans that have become lactose intolerant. So, not only is yogurt flavorful, tangy, and tasty, but it also offers therapeutic benefits.
Soon, yogurt started to make its ways to Europe, before moving to other places around the world. By the 20th century, the daily use of this therapeutic dairy product spread throughout the globe.
History of Ayran
Many years ago, Gokturks mixed bitter yogurt with water in an attempt to improve the taste. Consequently, Aryan, a mixture of ice water, yogurt, and a pinch of salt, came into being. Not only was the resulting drink delicious, but was also able to rehydrate users and provide numerous health benefits too.
Now part of Turkish society and culture, Ayran has spread to other countries and can be found everywhere in plastic cartons and bottles. At fast food and casual restaurants, festivals, and even homes, Ayran is present everywhere!
With Ayran now spread throughout the world, there have been variations made to it. It comes garnished with cucumber and mint or mixed with fresh fruits as well.
Health benefits of Ayran
Since yogurt contains beneficial bacterial enzymes, Ayran provides numerous digestive benefits; it reduces gas and smooths digestion. It can also treat gastrointestinal conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, and constipation. Because of the beneficial digestive enzymes it contains, Ayran is also given to children that complain about a sick stomach.
Moreover, Ayran is rich in various minerals and vitamins including magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Thus, it can help strengthen teeth and bones and nourish gums. At the same time, it can also help to enhance the immune system of the body, helping you to fight off many diseases.
Since Ayran is made using delicious and nutritious full fat, thick yogurt, it can be used for a healthy lifestyle. Plus, since it is sugar-free, it is a suitable alternative to refreshments for those following a strict diet. It is also preferred by bodybuilders who can fulfill their protein intake by drinking Ayran instead of artificial powder mixes.
Ayran also contains water which means it can also be used for fulfilling the recommendation of drinking eight glasses each day. It is also a much-loved summer drink. In the summer months, people sweat excessively, losing their body salt. Ayran can replenish this salt and provide instant relief from the scorching summer heat.
A multipurpose drink, Ayran can also work as a great hangover cure because of the bacteria that can remove toxins from the body.
Flavorful, nutritious, and highly beneficial, Ayran makes others understand why it is loved by Turks!