Kefir, like this healthy 21st century food. Century, is a probiotic beverage that contains many bioactive compounds, including up to 30 different strains of Good Guy bacteria.
These probiotics, like. B. Lactic acid bacteria can stimulate immune function and fight harmful microbes and carcinogens – and are often considered essential for improving many digestive problems.
Interesting: Should I bring kefir? Find out below what you need to know about this superstar drink and why you should put it on your next shopping list.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink made from starter cereals, which are actually a combination of bacteria and yeast. Kefir grains in combination with milk form a lightly fermented drink that people with lactose intolerance can usually drink.
Almost all types of milk can be used to make this drink, such as goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, cow’s milk, soy milk, rice milk or coconut milk. It can even be made with coconut water.
Scientifically, milk kebabs contain a complex microbial symbiotic mixture of lactic acid bacteria and yeast in a polysaccharide protein matrix.
This probiotic drink has been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world, especially in Eastern European countries. Derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means to feel good, it comes from the Caucasus of Eastern Europe.
It is believed to have been discovered by sheep farmers who fermented milk in their leather bottles. The potency and powerful effects of this mixture quickly spread among the tribes, and it was later adopted by Russian doctors who heard about its legendary medicinal properties and its use in the 19th century.
Today, kefir has become a worldwide phenomenon. Sales of Lifeway in the US, which alone account for 97% of total kefir sales in the US, rose from $58 million in 2009 to more than $130 million in 2014.
But while this popular probiotic drink is widely available and there are many places to buy kefir, you can also prepare it in your own kitchen. In fact, there are many recipes for making kefir grains and interesting ways to use them in soups, stews, smoothies, cakes and more.
Why is kefir really good for you? Like other dairy products, it is a good source of calcium and is also rich in vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folic acid, enzymes and probiotics.
However, there is no standardised nutritional value, as values may vary depending on the cow, the crop and the region where it is produced.
For example, a cup of purchased whole milk kefir contains the following nutrients:
- 160 calories
- 12 grams of carbohydrates
- 10 grams of protein
- 8 grams fat
- 390 milligrams of calcium (30% of DV)
- 5 micrograms vitamin D (25% DV)
- 90 micrograms of vitamin A (10% of DV)
- 376 milligrams of potassium (8% of DV)
This drink is unique because it contains probiotics that are responsible for many of the health benefits of kefir. According to a 2019 study, it could contain more than 50 species of bacteria and probiotic yeasts, such as B. the following species:
- Marxian/Candida kefir beakworm
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
- Streptococcus thermophilic
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
- Kazakh Unispora
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Mesenteroid Leuconostoc
- Sacciaromyces unispor
A study published in 2015 in Frontiers in Microbiology shows that kefir is a potential source of probiotics and molecules with certain health benefits. According to the authors, its biological properties suggest its use as an antioxidant, anti-tumor agent, antimicrobial agent and immunomodulator, among other functions.
Another 2020 article published in the journal Nutrients states kefir has many health benefits through its antimicrobial, anti-cancer, gastrointestinal, intestinal microbial modulation and anti-diabetic effects.
Here are some of the other important benefits:
1. Contains probiotics that can strengthen immunity.
Kefir contains many probiotics, compounds and nutrients such as biotin and folic acid that help strengthen the immune system.
A probiotic strain specific to kefir is called Lactobacillus Kefiri, which has been shown to protect against harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. This strain of bacteria, along with a handful of other bacteria, helps to modulate the immune system and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
It also contains another potent compound found only in this probiotic drink, an insoluble polysaccharide called kefiran, which has been shown to have antimicrobial properties that can fight candidiasis.
It also has the ability to reduce oxidative stress, cholesterol and blood pressure. A study has shown that the bacterial populations present in this drink have a positive effect on a number of parameters of metabolic syndrome.
2. Reinforces bone strength
Kefir, which is made from whole milk products, is a good source of calcium, vitamin K and other minerals that promote bone health. Perhaps most importantly, it contains bioactive compounds that help to absorb calcium in the body and stop bone loss.
Vitamin K2 has proven to be important for improving calcium absorption and the health and density of bones. The probiotics in this drink improve the absorption of nutrients and the dairy itself contains all the essential nutrients to improve bone strength, including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2.
3. Potential cancer support
Some in vitro studies have shown that certain compounds in probiotic drinks help protect against the spread of cancer cells in the stomach.
Drinking this drink can help slow the growth of early tumours and their enzymatic conversion from non-cancer to cancer. An in vitro test has shown that it can reduce breast cancer cells by 56%, unlike yogurt strains, which reduce cells by 14%.
4. Promotes digestion and intestinal health
Studies show that eating probiotic food can help restore balance in the intestine and fight gastrointestinal diseases such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcers.
Taking probiotics will also help your bowel after taking antibiotics. Probiotic compounds help to restore the lost flora that fights pathogens.
Probiotics can also help fight destructive diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects caused by these types of drugs.
In addition, there is evidence that kefir can have a positive effect on the composition of the intestinal microbiota, and studies have shown that kefir consumption can help improve physical performance and combat physical fatigue.
5. Improves allergies
Different forms of allergies and asthma are associated with inflammatory processes in the body. This drink can help treat inflammation at source to reduce the risk of respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma.
According to an animal study published in the journal Immunobiology, it has been shown that the number of inflammatory cells disturbing the lungs and respiratory tract, as well as the accumulation of mucus in mice, is reduced.
The living microorganisms in this drink seem to help the immune system naturally suppress allergic reactions and modify the body’s response to systemic allergies. Some scientists even believe that these allergic reactions may be due to a lack of good bacteria in the intestine.
6. Maintains healthy skin
Kefir helps bring good bacteria to the fore and maintain the health of your largest organ, your skin. Not only does it help to solve systemic skin problems, but it can also help to cure skin problems such as burns and rashes.
The carbohydrate found in kefir, called kefiran, is not only a probiotic that promotes the health of the immune system, but it also improves the quality of wound healing of the skin and can also protect connective tissue.
7. Improves symptoms of lactose intolerance
The good bacteria found in many dairy products are essential for intestinal and body health. However, many people cannot tolerate dairy products because they cannot digest lactose, the main sugar in milk (this is called lactose intolerance).
The active principle of kefir helps to break down lactose and facilitates digestion. In addition, it contains a wider range of bacterial strains and nutrients, some of which are specific to kefir, which help to remove almost all lactose from dairy products.
In fact, a study published in the journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that kefir improves lactose absorption and tolerance in adults with lactose malabsorption. As a warning, while most people are doing very well with goat milk kefir, a small percentage of people may still have problems with milk and may have to switch to coconut or water kefir.
Even if you can’t tolerate milk products, there are variants of kefir that are still rich in probiotics and have many health benefits, but are completely free of lactose and milk products. There are essentially two main types, which differ in many respects.
Two kinds of kefir:
- Firm milk (of cow’s milk, sheep’s or goat’s milk and coconut milk)
- Kefir water (from sugar water or coconut water, in both cases without dairy products)
Although the base fluid used is different in the different types, the production process for kefir remains the same and it is believed that kefir has many advantages in both types.
All kefir seeds are made from kefir grains, which initiate the fermentation of the yeast/bacteria. All varieties are similar to kombucha (another healthy beverage rich in probiotics) in that they must contain sugar, which is either naturally present or added to allow healthy bacteria to grow and the fermentation process to take place.
However, both the kombucha and the kefir have a very low sugar content because the live active yeast essentially eats most of the sugar added during the fermentation process.
Here you will find more information about the production of the different types of products and the differences in taste and use:
Cefirmilk is the best known and most widely used fermented milk drink. It is sold in most large supermarkets and almost all health food stores.
Usually this variant is made from goat’s, cow’s or sheep’s milk, but some shops also offer kefir with coconut milk, which means it does not contain lactose, milk or real milk.
Traditionally, a starter culture of lactic acid bacteria is used in the production of milk kefir, which ultimately leads to the formation of probiotics.
What’s the difference between kefir and yogurt? Is kefir healthier than yogurt?
In general, both types of yeast are made with an active live yeast starter kit, which is responsible for the culture of beneficial bacteria. Unlike yogurt, kefir is made exclusively from mesophilic strains that grow at room temperature and do not require heating.
They have a lot in common, but kefir usually has a higher percentage of probiotics and a greater diversity of bacterial and yeast strains.
After fermentation, the milk kebabs have a spicy taste somewhat reminiscent of the taste of Greek yoghurt. The strength of the flavour depends on how long the drink ferments – a longer fermentation process usually gives a stronger, more acidic flavour and even adds some carbonation of the active yeast.
Cefirmilk is not sweet in itself, but you can add other flavours to improve the taste and make it more attractive.
Most shop-bought kefirs are flavoured with additives such as fruit or cane sugar, but you can sweeten and flavor them at home by adding raw honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract or organic stevia extract.
Besides melkkefir, there are other clever ways to use it in recipes:
- It can be an excellent base for soups and stews that would otherwise require ordinary buttermilk, sour cream, heavy cream or yogurt.
- You can replace regular or flavored kefir with one of these ingredients in your favorite bakery products, mashed potatoes, soups and other recipes to increase the nutritional content and get all the wonderful benefits of kefir.
- You can even make kefir out of it, a kind of hard, crumbly cheese that you can sprinkle over your favourite dishes.
Coconut kefir can be made from coconut milk or coconut water.
Both types are dairy free and are often considered the ideal basis for the production of fermented kefir as they naturally contain the carbohydrates, including sugars, needed by the yeast during the fermentation process.
Coconut kephir is made in the same way as milk kephir. Contains live active yeasts and bacteria from kefir grains.
It becomes both more acidic and carbonated after fermentation and is generally milder and less flavorful than milk kebabs.
Both types of coconut kefir retain the flavour of the natural coconut and also retain all the nutritional properties of pure unfermented coconut milk and water, including the supply of potassium and electrolytes.
Water kefir has a more subtle taste and lighter texture than milk kefir and is usually made with sugar water or fruit juice.
Water kefir is made in the same way as milk kefir and coconut kefir. Just like the milk variant, kefir can be flavoured in plain water at home with your own healthy additives and is an excellent healthy alternative to drinking lemonade or processed fruit juice.
You want to use water kefir other than milk kefir. Try adding it to smoothies, healthy desserts, oatmeal, salad dressings, or just drink it.
Because it has a less creamy texture and is less acidic, it is not the best substitute for dairy products in recipes.
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Risks and side effects
This drink is appreciated in moderation and can be a healthy and safe addition to your diet.
In some cases you may experience some side effects of kefir, including gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhoea or abdominal pain if you take large amounts of kefir. These symptoms occur more frequently the first time and improve over time with continued use.
That’s what a lot of people wonder: How much kefir should I drink? Is it safe to drink kefir every day?
Most sources recommend striving for about one cup a day to get the maximum health benefit from this energy drink. Ideally, start with a lower dose and gradually increase to the desired amount to assess your tolerance and reduce negative side effects.
Remember that kefir is made of milk and is not suitable for people with a milk allergy or sensitivity. Although most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate it without any problems, it can cause undesirable side effects in others.
If you experience negative symptoms after drinking Cefirmilk, try replacing it with fermented coconut or water-based drinks.
Does kefir lead to weight gain? It doesn’t have to be self-sufficient if you include it in a healthy diet.
In fact, it can even help support weight loss and weight maintenance due to its high nutrient content. However, choose unsweetened, low-sugar varieties to get the most benefit with the least amount of empty calories.
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- Kefir is a fermented milk drink that resembles yoghurt, but is even more potent.
- The benefits of kefir include strengthening the immune system, strengthening the bones, improving digestion, reducing allergies, supporting the health of the skin, etc.
- It is a good source not only of probiotics that promote intestinal health, but also of calcium, protein, potassium, B vitamins, etc..
- The best thing is that this can be done very easily at home. It can be used in smoothies or instead of milk/yoghurd/cream when cooking.
- The success and strength of your kefir depends on the quality of the grains. It is therefore important to find reputable suppliers selling high quality fresh grain to maximize the benefits of kefir.
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