What is kefir?

Well, kefir is a yogurt-like drink that’s one of the most probiotic-rich foods on the planet.  It contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and is loaded with probiotics.  Kefir is made by adding kefir culture, called grains but really bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship,  to milk from a cow, sheep or goat, then letting the mixture ferment for about 24 hours. Once it's strained, it's good to go.

What does kefir taste like?

Kefir has a distinctive taste, it is slightly sour, but deliciously creamy and refreshing! It's similar to a thinned greek yogurt.  Kefir is not sweet tasting, there is no sugar in it.   Think buttermilk.

Why is kefir considered healthy?

Yogurt is thought of as the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, but kefir is actually a much more potent source.  Kefir contains about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source.

Some quick facts.  A 175 ml (6 oz) serving of milk kefir contains:

  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Calcium: 20% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B12: 14% of the RDA.
  • Riboflavin (B2): 19% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 5% of the RDA.
  • A decent amount of vitamin D.

Kefir grains

Kefir Also Has Potent Antibacterial Properties

Certain probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections.  This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir.  Studies show that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. coli.

People Who Are Lactose Intolerant Seem to Tolerate Kefir Well

Regular dairy foods contain a natural sugar called lactose.  Many people, especially adults, are unable to break down and digest lactose properly. This condition is called lactose intolerance .  The lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy foods (like kefir and yogurt) turn the lactose into lactic acid, so these foods are much lower in lactose than milk.  They also contain enzymes that can help break down the lactose even further.  Because of this, kefir is generally well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance, at least when compared to regular milk.

Also keep in mind that it is possible to make kefir that is 100% lactose free, by using coconut water, fruit juice or some other non-dairy fluid.

Kefir Can Help With Various Digestive Problems

Probiotics such as kefir can help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.  This is why they are highly effective for many forms of diarrhea.  There is also a lot of evidence that probiotics and probiotic foods can help with all sorts of digestive problems.  This includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers caused by H. pylori infection, and various others.  For this reason, kefir may be useful if you have problems with digestion.

Kefir Is Easy To Make at Home

Kefir can easily be made at home giving you control over flavor and added ingredients.  Check out How to Make Kefir.

Kefir is Versatile.

You can use kefir in a variety of ways.  Use it in smoothies, add chia to make a pudding or use it for baking bread.

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