Kefir is a cultured, fermented beverage loaded with healthy bacteria and probiotic health. This tart, creamy drink is made using “starter” grains; a combination of yeasts, milk proteins, and bacteria.
Kefir is most commonly made with dairy milk but can still be enjoyed by people who are lactose intolerant because the live cultures feast on the lactose and convert it into the tangy lactic acid. Kefir can also be made with coconut milk, goats milk, water and even rice milk.
In recent years, kefir has been labelled the “it” food in health circles around the globe, and for good reason. With over 30 strains of good bacteria in a single helping, kefir has proven to help fight against tumors and other bacteria carcinogens.
Benefits of Kefir
There are many benefits to probiotic foods, and kefir is no exception. Kefir benefits range from topical to systemic and can impact the state of your daily life and health dramatically. The following are some of the top kefir benefits known to date.
1. Boosts Immunity
Kefir contains many compounds and nutrients, like biotin and folate, that help kick your immune system into gear and protect your cells. It has a large amounts of probiotics, the special forces of the microbial world. One in particular, that’s specific to kefir alone is called Lactobacillus Kefiri, and it helps defend against harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. Coli. This bacterial strain, along with the various others handfuls, helps modulate the immune system and inhibit many predatory bacteria growth.
2. Supports Digestion and Combats IBS
When it comes to bacteria in the gut, it’s a tricky balance. Kefir milk and kefir yogurt help restore that balance and fight against gastrointestinal diseases. Drinking kefir also helps repair your gut after taking antibiotics. The probiotic compounds help restore the lost flora that fight against pathogens. The probiotics also aid against disruptive diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal side effects caused by these types of medications.
3. Supports strong bones
Including milk kefir into your diet can ensure adequate intake of calcium which is essential to good bone health. Kefir is also packed with Vitamin K2 which helps with calcium metabolism. The supplementation of Vitamin K2 has proven to reduce the risk of bone fractures and bone loss.
4. Helps detox the body
You may be thinking by now that this miraculous drink sounds far too good to be true. Well, I’m not done yet! The good bacteria in kefir can help detox toxins and poisons that are introduced into your digestive system through the food you eat and fluids.
5. Weight Loss
Yup, you read that right! Drinking kefir can help you lose unwanted weight! In many cases, obesity is linked to an unbalanced environment in your gut. When your gut isn’t getting proper nutrition, your entire system falls out of balance, and pathogenic bacteria and yeast, like candida begin to dominate your gut. These pathogenic microflora thrive on processed foods and sugar, and can create powerful cravings for more food. Your stomach may be full, but your body is hungry, because it isn’t getting and absorbing the nutrients it desperately needs. In which cases, a cycle of cravings, eating, more pathogen overgrowth, and weight gain ensues.
Types of Kefir
There are two types of kefir; milk kefir (made from cow, sheep or goat milk but also from coconut milk) and water kefir (made from sugary water or coconut water, both of which do not contain any dairy)
Milk kefir most well-known and widely available type of kefir. It is usually sold in most major supermarkets and nearly all health food stores. Milk kefir is most often made from goat’s milk, cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. When buying milk kefir, or making your own, make sure that the it’s made with a high-quality organic brand.
Water kefir tends to have a more subtle taste and a lighter texture than milk kefir, and it’s normally made using sugar water or fruit juice. Where the live cultures in kefir milk feed on lactose, the cultures in water kefir feed on sugar or honey that is added in the beginning of the fermentation process.
Water kefir can be flavoured at home using your own healthy additions and makes a great, healthy alternative to soda or sugary fruit juice.