What Are the Health Benefits of Creme Fraiche?

Scones, strawberries and cream
Creme fraiche is often used as part of a dessert. (Image: MargoeEdwards/iStock/Getty Images)

A fancy name for rich, thick cream, creme fraiche has a bold flavor that's somewhat nutty, and it's often used to enhance the flavor of desserts. Creme fraiche is added to certain soup recipes, as well, to infuse them with flavor and to help thicken them. Despite a small amount of nutrients, creme fraiche shouldn't have a regular spot in your diet because it's also high in fat and calories.

Creme Fraiche Basics

A 2-tablespoon serving of creme fraiche 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 creme fraiche.

Vitamins and Minerals

Creme fraiche 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 creme fraiche you eat, you'll also get between 8 percent and 15 percent of your daily vitamin A needs.

Health Benefits

Though creme fraiche 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 creme fraiche has just 1 gram of carbs or less. Some brands of creme fraiche contain probiotics, which are bacteria that live in your gut and help keep you healthy. Look for creme fraiche 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."

Bottom Line

Because of its high saturated fat content, you shouldn't make creme fraiche a regular part of your diet. It's OK to indulge in the food occasionally because it does impart a distinct and rich flavor to desserts and creamy soups. Use creme fraiche in recipes for hot foods, such as soup, because it won't curdle at high temperatures like cream would, advises Lewin.

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