Kefir originates from the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and dates back to about 2000 years ago. The word kefir comes from the Turkish word “keif” which means “good feeling”.
It is considered a rich source of probiotic food with a bit of a tangy taste and carbonated flavor. With medicinal properties, it helps to heal digestive issues and balance the gut flora.
Nowadays Kefir is made in mason jars or crock pots by pouring milk over the culture and leaving it to ferment at room temperature for up to 12 to 48 hours depending on the quantity of each.
The kefir grains (culture) are then strained from the milk to use in the next batch and the result is a dairy product that has a yogi sip like texture.
The grains multiply with each batch of milk they are put in as they feed on the sugar in the milk so therefore even people that are lactose intolerant can benefit from this probiotic drink.
I think store bought kefir is a poor comparison when it comes to the homemade real thing because of the sweeteners and enhancements that are added.
So I suggest buying your own grains because not only are they reusable, but they will grow with each batch enabling you to make more kefir in the long run.
There are many benefits of kefir which are largely due to the probiotic makeup and fermentation process it goes through.
Because of the beneficial bacteria which colonize the gut and help to boost the immune system it especially has a positive effect on people with digestive issues.
Below I will list a few of these benefits that I think are more common and worth mentioning.
Supports Bone Health
Studies have found that consuming kefir is helpful at improving bone density and thus in treating osteoporosis.
The probiotics in kefir enhance the absorption of the important nutrients calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K2 which are needed for building strong healthy bones.
Promotes a Healthy Gut and Heals IBS
Kefir is full of good probiotic bacteria that help to balance and overpower the bad bacteria in the gut.
This improves digestion and is an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues.
Strengthens the Immune System
Approximately 70% of our immune system resides in the gut so it makes sense that kefir helps in strengthening our immunity.
The probiotic bacteria and nutrients found in kefir help to support the immune system by fighting off those harmful toxins and viruses.
Maintains and Grows Muscle
Kefir consists of a blend of whey and casein proteins which are easily digestible and responsible for muscle growth and tissue repair.
Whey is different to other proteins as it contains all eight essential amino acids and is therefore considered a complete protein.
Helps with Allergies
The probiotics lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium in kefir have antioxidant properties and are beneficial for the management of both allergies and asthma.
Kefir can also reduce inflammatory markers in the body leading to a reduction in allergic symptoms.
Improves Lactose Intolerance
When the grains are added to the milk the lactic acid bacteria in the grains immediately start to feed on the lactose and by doing so ferment the milk. The end result is a nutritious dairy drink that has very little sugar in it.
Therefore even if you are lactose intolerance you may still be able to tolerate drinking kefir without developing any symptoms.
Helps with Detoxification
The probiotic bacteria in kefir can help to cleanse the intestine, balance the intestinal flora and destroy pathogens such as E-coli and parasites.
Therefore it can help to restore the digestive system, relieve inflammatory bowel disease and boost our immune systems.
Kefir contains about 30 different probiotic bacteria which makes it a much more potent than any other fermented dairy product. The probiotics in kefir colonize in the gut helping with digestion and warding off harmful bacteria.
It is a complete protein meaning that it is made up of all 8 essential amino acids of which tryptophan is one and this amino acid which is abundant in kefir has a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system.
Calcium and magnesium are two minerals found in kefir that also have a profound effect on the nervous system function not to mention the formation of healthy bone tissue.
Calcium and phosphorous work closely together in building strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus can also help utilize fats, carbohydrates, and proteins for cell growth and maintenance.
Kefir’s high levels of vitamin B12 and other vitamins such as biotin, folic acid, and vitamin K2 have numerous benefits from boosting the immune system, regulating nervous and digestive systems to helping with anxiety and even treating skin conditions.
Kefir has proven it worth to me over the years and with it, I find myself calmer, more rational and in control of my movements.
I like to do a kefir cleanse every 6 months for a duration of 14 days where all I have is kefir throughout the day and bone broth for supper.
I don’t suggest doing this in the beginning as it is something you have to build up to over a couple of months or maybe even years, but it is a good goal to aim for.
So my advice is to start slowly by introducing small amounts every day and allow the digestive system time to adapt to the bacterial changes taking place within it.
Just to emphasize, kefir must be built up over time due to its potent probiotic content otherwise, you are going to have a war going on between the good and bad bacteria in your gut which can cause unwanted symptoms.
I hope this has been informative and I want to thank you for reading.
If you have any questions on this topic or have had any experience’s with kefir I would love to hear them so please feel free to leave a comment below.