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What is Kefir? Health Benefits and Delicious Ways to Use Kefir!

Kefir has transitioned from being a distinct segment product at specialty meals outlets to being simply obtainable in main grocery chains throughout the nation. Despite its current reputation, kefir is definitely no new child on the block. Its origins may be traced again over 1,00zero years in the past within the Caucasus mountain areas, the place the kefir grains have been handed generations and have been thought-about a supply of household wealth.

With its digestive health advantages, it’s no marvel the Turkish phrase “kefir” actually means “good feeling”! Interested in what makes this tart beverage jam-packed with health advantages? Here’s the inside track on why you’ll cheer for kefir!

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a barely acidic style and pure carbonation. It is made by fermenting milk with cauliflower formed kefir “grains”. They’re not the standard grains that we often consider, however are as an alternative a mixture of lactic acid micro organism and yeasts. Kefir may be produced utilizing any sort of milk, together with plant-based milk. However, cow’s milk is the most typical.

probiotic health benefits kefir grain closeup

Photo Credit: Tarikgore by way of Flickr

During the fermentation course of, kefir grains develop in measurement and are then filtered out to be used for the subsequent batch of milk.

Kefir might be consumed after the kefir grains have been separated or refrigerated for later consumption.

Why is Kefir Good For You?

Probiotics In Kefir

As a results of the fermentation course of, kefir is a superb supply of probiotics. Probiotics are reside organisms that present constructive health advantages. They are a part of your digestive tract and stimulate your physique’s immune response, safety towards dangerous micro organism, produce nutritional vitamins and take in minerals.  Check out my blog post on healthy gut bacteria and how it’s great for your health.

While yogurt is generally considered the go-to probiotic meals, the truth is, kefir has a better probiotic content material than yogurt. Kefir contains over 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts making it a superb probiotic meals!

#Kefir is an excellent #probiotic source, containing over 30 strains of healthy bacteria and yeast… Click To Tweet

There is additionally growing proof that increasing evidence that probiotics may be helpful in alleviating symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), H. pylori infection (a common cause of ulcers) and other digestive issues.

Another additional advantage is kefir contains kefiran, a type of carbohydrate that may act as a prebiotic. Prebiotics  promote the growth of more probiotic bacteria, so collectively prebiotics and probiotics grow to be synbiotics (yay synergy)!

Kefir and Lactose Intolerance

The enzyme that is able to break down lactose (milk sugar) is naturally found in kefir grains. During the fermentation course of, kefir grains scale back the lactose content material of the kefir. One research discovered that after the fermentation course of, One study found that after the fermentation process, kefir had a 30% reduction of lactose in comparison to unfermented milk.  It is necessary to observe that there haven’t been many research on kefir and lactose intolerance, though these outcomes are promising.

While the diploma of lactose intolerance varies between people, kefir’s lowered lactose content material makes it an appropriate choice for individuals with lactose intolerance to attempt.

If you’ve lactose intolerance, begin with a small quantity of kefir (1/2 cup) and see how your physique reacts. Some individuals with lactose intolerance are actually delicate to even small quantities of lactose, whereas different individuals are high quality to have sure dairy merchandise which might be decrease in lactose in small parts (yogurt, kefir and onerous aged cheeses).

Probiotic health benefits kefir

Photo credit score: Stephen G Pearson by way of Flickr

Where Can I Buy Kefir?

Kefir merchandise could be discovered within the dairy aisle of your grocery retailer, sometimes alongside yogurt drinks.

In the U.S., widespread manufacturers embrace Lifeway and Greek Gods. If you’re in Canada, widespread manufacturers embrace Liberte and Elite. Kefir is available in each plain and flavored varieties.

For the healthiest kefir, your greatest guess is to go together with plain variations and add your personal fruit for taste. Why? Flavored kefir is fairly excessive in added sugars, often three occasions larger than their plain counterparts!

It’s additionally necessary to notice that kefir merchandise might or is probably not fortified with vitamin D, so be certain to examine the vitamin information desk.

If you need to order kefir or provides to make your personal on-line, attempt these:

Milk Kefir (Ready to Drink)

Lifeway Nonfat Plain Kefir

Green Valley Organic Strawberry Pomegranate Acai Lactose-Free Kefir

Milk Kefir Supplies to Make Your Own Kefir

Milk Kefir Grains

Glass Jars for Fermenting Kefir

Vegan Kefir (Ready to Drink)

Water Kefir Grains

I all the time thought Kevita was kombucha, nevertheless it doesn’t include tea. It’s truly coconut-water based mostly kefir! Totally vegan/dairy-free.

Vegan Kefir Supplies to Make Your Own Dairy-Free Kefir

How to Use Kefir in Recipes

Most kefir merchandise are fairly effervescent/fizzy, though there are non-effervescent variations if this is your choice. This is often indicated on the entrance label.

Kefir recipe probiotic health benefits

Photo credit score: Carissa Gan by way of Unsplash

The great point is that kefir could be consumed as is! Although, if you need to get a bit extra artistic you possibly can substitute kefir for yogurt, milk or buttermilk in recipes that decision for these components. Examples embrace smoothies, in salad dressings, poured over cereal, baked items, and even pasta sauce!

Keep in thoughts that the probiotics in kefir are delicate to warmth, so cooking or baking with it can scale back the probiotic content material.

How to Make Milk Kefir at Home

Making your personal kefir is an alternative choice as an alternative of buying kefir merchandise. It isn’t as difficult because it appears, and all you want is 2 components: milk and kefir “grains”! Get the recipe to make your own milk kefir.

How to Make Vegan Kefir 

If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can also make your personal kefir at residence. Keep in thoughts that to make kefir with coconut milk or almond milk requires beginning the kefir grains in dairy.

If you need to keep away from that, you possibly can buy these water kefir grains that may develop in coconut water. That method you’ll get coconut water kefir. No dairy required! And all the directions on how to make your vegan kefir are on the package deal.

The Bottom Line on Kefir

Kefir is one powerhouse of a meals: it is a superb supply of probiotics, has versatile purposes within the kitchen and promising outcomes relating to digestion. How do you propose on utilizing kefir? Share within the feedback under!

More Probiotic Food Sources

If you’re keen on kefir, why not attempt sauerkraut and kombucha! Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage whereas kombucha is a fermented tea drink, and each supply up a wholesome dose of gut-friendly probiotics.


An enormous thanks to my scholar, Jacqueline Vykoukal, for scripting this superior kefir article.

Have you tried kefir? What’s your favourite means to use it? Share within the feedback under!

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition


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