Kefir: A Long List of Health Benefits

If you haven’t heard about kefir yet, this article will make you discover a product full of nutrients and probiotics which helps digestion and keeps your gut healthy. Here are some of the benefits of adding kefir to your diet.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented drink which comes from Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. It is made with milk (from a cow or goat) and kefir grains, which are added to the liquid so that it can ferment the sugar found in the milk. That is the process which creates kefir. Its name comes from the Turkish word “keyif” meaning feeling good after eating. It tastes like yogurt but has a thinner consistency.

A Great Source of Nutrients

A 175ml portion of kefir will bring you a wide variety of bioactive compounds, such as organic acids and peptides. It also contains four grams of protein and will count on your Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for 10% of calcium, 15% phosphorous, 12% vitamin B12, 10% riboflavin (B2) and 3% magnesium, plus a good amount of Vitamin D.

A More Potent Probiotic than Yogurt

Probiotics are important in the digestion process. In Western diet, yogurt is the most common food providing probiotics to the body. However, kefir contains a greater quantity of it and is even more helpful for digestion and weight management. It can contain up to 61 strains of bacteria and yeasts, which is a lot more than can be found in most dairy fermented products.

Strong Antibacterial Properties

Kefir contains a probiotic (Lactobacillus kefiri) and a carbohydrate (kefiran), which are both known to protect the system against harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, helicobacter pylori and E. coli. It makes the body stronger to face potential infections by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.

Helps to protect against Osteoporosis

Kefir is a source of calcium, which has proven to be the most important element to prevent osteoporosis. It is a common problem in Western countries, especially for older women. The deterioration of the bones can be responsible for multiple fractures. By adding kefir to your diet, you will provide your body with part of the RDI of calcium, plus vitamin K2, which plays a central part in calcium metabolism.

A Potential Protection against Cancer

The reason why scientists believe that kefir could help fight cancer is because the probiotics found in it are believed to reduce tumor growth through stimulation of your immune system. In vitro tests, the kefir has shown to reduce breast cancer cells by 56% compared to only 14% for yogurt. Tests on humans have yet to be completed.

Helps with Various Digestive Problems

Probiotics are the key to a healthy digestive system. The ones found in kefir can help keep or restore the intestine flora. They can be used to treat diarrhea as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcers caused by H. pylori infection. Most importantly, it will help good digestion at all time.

Low in Lactose

Many people are lactose intolerant. The natural sugar which is found in the milk can be difficult for the body to break down and digest. In kefir the lactose is turned into lactic acid, which reduces greatly the amount of lactose in the product. Enzymes found in kefir also help in that respect, making it easier for lactose intolerant people to ingest it. If it is still too much, you should know that it is possible to replace milk with coconut water or another fruit juice to make kefir.

Can Help Prevent against Allergy and Asthma Symptoms

There has been a limited amount of testing on animals that would suggest kefir can help reduce allergic reactions. Allergies are an inflammatory response to various substances and can cause asthma. There still need to be studies on humans before we can confirm that it reduces allergic reactions.

It’s Easy to Make

If you prefer to prepare your own kefir, instead of buying it at the grocery store, it is very easy to do. You just need to put 14 to 28 grams of kefir grains into a jar and add about 500ml of milk. Then, leave 2.5cm empty at the top of the jar, so the fermenting process can take place. Once you placed the cap on, leave the mixture at room temperature for 12 to 36 hours.

You’ll know when it’s ready as it will start to look clumpy. Then, all you need to do is drain the liquid and remove the kefir grains, which can be reused the next time you want to make more. You now have a delicious and nutritious drink waiting for you!

Multiple studies have proven that kefir is good for your health as it boosts your immune system. It will help with most digestive problems, provide the necessary calcium to keep your bones healthy and may even protect you against cancer.

But the best reason to drink kefir might simply be that it is tasty and delicious.