milk-based kefir with starter grainsKefir

Kefir (pronounced as ‘kee-fur’ or ‘kah-fear’) is a cultured, fermented beverage that tastes a lot like a yogurt drink. The name comes from the Turkish word “keyif”, which refers to the “good feeling” a person gets after drinking it. It has a tart, creamy flavor similar to yogurt and is loaded with probiotic health benefits. Due to the fermentation process it may also taste slightly carbonated.  Also, it can be milk-based or water-based.

It Starts With Healthy Grains

Kefir is a “mesophilic culture”, which means it cultures at room temperature, despite which type of starter culture you use. It is made using “starter” grains. These “grains” are not actually a cereal or what you might think of as grains. They are yeasts, proteins, and bacteria. Milk grains are small translucent, whitish, jelly-like orbs that look a little like tiny pieces of cauliflower. Water grains are clearer and look sort of like crushed ice.

Nutrient Dense

Kefir is nutrient-dense, with plenty of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium. You get the benefits of calcium for strong bones, protein for strong muscles, and potassium for heart health. Some studies show that it has anti-inflammatory and healing effects, and may also help lower cholesterol and stimulate the immune system.

Different Than Yogurt

Kefir is different than yogurt. It typically has more fat than yogurt and also has more protein and more probiotics. It is also thinner than yogurt; therefore, it is best as a drink. It contains a larger number of different types of healthy bacteria, and is also better for the gastrointestinal tract versus yogurt. Kefir’s active yeast also has more nutritional benefits than that of yogurt. 1

Dairy or non-dairy alternatives:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Goat or sheep’s milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Rice milk
  • Coconut water

Because it is fermented that means those who are lactose intolerant will able to drink it. Kefir drinks and smoothies can be found in health food stores and in the dairy case of many grocery stores where you’ll also find infused drinks like teas, waters and more. Also, some stores carry starter kits so you can make it at home.

Nutritional Benefits2

There are as many as 16 or more stated benefits of kefir. Below are 7 of the most well-known benefits. Humans will benefit from its nutrition-rich qualities, in addition so will your pets.

  • Blood sugar control
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Increased nutrition
  • Improved lactose tolerance
  • Improved stomach health
  • Healing properties
  • Weight control

Make sure and read our informative article about “leaky gut” in our August Newsletter.

 

References

  1. Healthline.com: What is Kefir – https://www.healthline.com/health/kefir
  2. Medicalnewstoday.com: Seven benefits of kefir – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318353.php