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Kefir: Everything You Need to Know About This Powerful Probiotic Drink

September 16, 2022

Introduction

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that dates back thousands of years. It’s made from the milk of cows, goats, or sheep, and it’s also commonly referred to as ‘super yogurt.’

You may be wondering why you haven’t ever heard about it before. Kefir is a fantastic source of probiotics (friendly bacteria), known for its ability to support healthy digestion.

This probiotic-rich drink can also help boost your immune system and provide numerous other benefits when consumed regularly.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented probiotic-rich drink with a lot of health benefits. It’s made from a few simple ingredients: a starter probiotic bacteria and a base — for example, milk, coconut, and even water.

While yogurt has become a staple in many households, Kefir is not as well-known. Typically people think Kefir is yogurt’s less famous cousin. With that said, many cultures use Kefir as a health remedy.

But there is a different way of making Kefir – How we make Kefir at Kefir Lab.

5 types of Kefir

There are different Kefir types for all tastes – both vegan and not. They are all made with the same idea – adding probiotics to a base liquid.

  1. Milk Kefir
  2. Coconut Kefir
  3. Water Kefir
  4. Oat Kefir
  5. Cashew Kefir

Is Kefir good for you?

Kefir is a fantastic source of probiotics (friendly bacteria), known for their ability to support healthy digestion, brain health, and even improve mood.

Having Kefir in your diet increases good bacteria in your gut, which helps to improve all aspects of your health.

Kefir has one of the highest probiotic contents of all fermented foods, making it a powerful addition to your diet.

While yogurt also contains probiotics, it is not nearly as rich in probiotics as Kefir. Kefir is known to contain up to 10 times the amount of probiotics yogurt has.

Top 8 Kefir benefits

Kefir is a powerful source of probiotics (friendly bacteria). It can help support a healthy digestive system and boost immunity.

It contains several vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and potassium.

1. Improves gut health and gut diversity

Kefir is rich in probiotics, which help balance good and bad bacteria levels in the gut. This “friendly” bacteria “fights” the harmful bacteria, improves digestion and the immune system.

In addition, Kefir contains beneficial enzymes that help to detoxify the body and protect against infection. It helps to improve digestion and eliminate toxins from the body. Kefir drinkers also report feeling more energetic after drinking it.

2. Elevates immune system

Kefir can help prevent certain diseases thanks to its ability to boost immunity. Probiotics in kefir act as a shield from within and can help keep your digestive system regular.

3. Improves mood, sleep, and productivity

Probiotics in kefir act as a regulator of neural functions; they improve cognitive function, mood, sleep quality, and help fight stress. Also, milk kefir is a good source of protein and calcium, which are vital for brain health.

Interesting fact #1: Research suggests that probiotic Kefir may help reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

Interesting fact #2: Kefir contains tryptophan, the amino acid that helps increase your brain’s serotonin(a happiness hormone) levels.

4. Improves Digestion & Metabolism

Probiotics help digest food and absorb its nutrients, even for people with difficulties digesting lactose.

If you’re into fitness or trying to lose weight, the energy and metabolism-boosting qualities of Kefir make it a great addition to your diet.

5. Helps recovery

Milk kefir has lots of proteins and calcium, essential building blocks of our bodies. They help us recover faster. Calcium is also great for your bones and teeth health.

6. Maintains healthy weight

Probiotics and protein in Kefir fill you up and help to reduce cravings throughout the day. It helps to maintain good digestion and manage weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

7. Maintains clear skin

Most kefirs contain AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), an ingredient often used in anti-aging and anti-acne skincare products. People use Kefir to soothe certain skin conditions, like eczema.

8. Improves Hydration

Kefir can also help you stay hydrated, thanks to its potassium content. Kefir can also help improve your mood and ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, thanks to its vitamin B-12 content.

Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin that your body cannot produce independently.

How much and how often should you drink Kefir?

The recommended serving is 1 cup daily. But, you can’t go wrong drinking too much of a good thing! Kefir can be enjoyed on its own, added to smoothies, cereal, or oatmeal. You can make acai bowls and much more.

Can I drink Kefir if I am lactose intolerant?

People with lactose intolerance can tolerate kefir. Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem caused by too little production of an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine, which the body needs to digest lactose (milk sugar). Without lactase enzyme, lactose is hard to digest and break down by our gut.During the fermentation, most of milk’s lactose turns into lactase enzyme. The result is a 99% lactose-free kefir with the lactose replaced by lactase enzymes that help you digest the lactose in the long run.

Is It better drink Kefir in the morning or evening?

Kefir consists of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. According to research in the morning we get the most of the Lactobacillus and in the evening we get the most of the Bifidobacterium.

So both have it’s benefits – drink both morning and evening!

Can you bake or cook with Kefir?

Yes, you can cook with Kefir. It will help to digest the proteins and complex carbohydrates better and absorb most nutrients from food. Keep in mind that big portion of probiotics would be lost after cooking, but when you have Trillions of them, like in our Kefir, you sure to get some anyway!

Should you take kefir on an empty stomach or with food?

You can do both. Some say that the best time to take kefir is 30 minutes before a meal or on an empty stomach. Others suggest drinking it with food. Confusing, right?

Let us deconstruct! Some may believe that more probiotic bacteria will survive as part of the meals, yet such studies lack supporting evidence. Consuming probiotics colonize the gut microbiome regardless of whether they have been taken with food or without.

Taking probiotics before a meal boosts digestion, promotes a healthy metabolism, and reduces the “after-lunch” energy drop.

Can I drink kefir before bed?

Absolutely! Drinking kefir does not interfere with your sleep in any way. Instead, it helps to regulate the mood and prepare your body for quality rest.

Where can you buy Kefir? Can you make it at home?

You could make Kefir at home, but you will need to find “the right” kefir grains, and it’ll take time until you master the taste and texture to your liking.

Also, you can only make a small amount of Kefir at home. So buying Kefir in grocery and health food stores is easier and better. If you live in the USA, you can even order Kefir online.

4 Tips – How to choose Kefir

You can choose Kefir based on flavor. Plain Kefir has a slightly sour taste, while flavored kefirs are often sweeter. Fruit-flavored kefirs are usually made with fruit juice, while other flavors are created with flavoring agents, like artificial flavors. Kefir can be enjoyed on its own or added to smoothies, cereal, or oatmeal.

1. Look for the probiotic count

When choosing Kefir, look for brands that list live and active cultures on the label. These brands will have the most probiotic power. Most Kefir has 1-2 billion CFU. The bigger the CFU number, the better since not all probiotics survive on the way to our gut.

Our Kefir at Kefir Lab has 24 live and active probiotic strains with 100 trillion CFU (colony forming units). It’s the most functional Kefir you can find on the market.

2. If you’re choosing milk kefir, choose whole-milk

If you aren’t vegan, make sure the Kefir of your choice is made from whole milk. Whole milk is less processed, leaving all the natural nutrients, unlike low-fat milk (1%). Whole milk also contains more vitamin D and omega-3.

The process of making Kefir is simple and hard at the same time. The ingredients are simple, but it takes expertise to make Kefir right.

3. Look at the ingredients

Make sure there are as few ingredients as possible – for example, a base (ex., milk or coconut milk), live & active cultures, and organic flavors. Kefir with gums, stabilizers, etc., isn’t ideal for gut health.

4. Avoid artificial flavors and sugar

If you choose Kefir with a flavor, do your best to avoid sugar. Too much sugar isn’t good for your gut, so it’s best to choose brands that use organic flavors, like us at Kefir Lab.

With that said, аt Kefir Lab, we add natural flavors without sugar. So you can enjoy the delightful taste without sugar, artificial flavors, and nasty fillers.

The process of making kefir – How is Kefir made?

Step 1: Base (milk, coconut milk, milk alternative, or water) is added to a container and heated to reach a specific temperature.

Step 2: Kefir strains are added to the container with the base.

Step 3: The probiotics start feeding on the base, multiplying, and growing. The kefir strains grow and multiply, creating a probiotic-rich drink.

  1. It’s kept at a warm temperature until it becomes thick and creamy – about 12 to 48 hours (depending on the base).
  2. During the fermentation process, the probiotics eat the sugar of the base, replacing it with enzymes and acidifying the milk lowering its PH.
  3. For better results, don’t agitate the Kefir; keep it warm while fermenting, possibly adding a heating belt, and keep it far from direct sunlight.
  4. When both the criteria of PH and creaminess are met – Kefir is ready!
  5. Cool it down in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process before drinking it.
  6. Enjoy 😃

Kefir vs. Yogurt

Both Kefir and yogurt are fermented dairy products that contain probiotics. Although they have a few similarities, there are also notable differences.

It is a functional drink gaining momentum in the medical world for its powerful benefits!

Kefir vs. Yogurt – Health benefits & quality of probiotics

While yogurt contains some probiotics, Kefir is more potent and functional for your gut health.

Kefir and yogurt can help boost your immunity and support healthy digestion thanks to their high probiotic content. They can also help to improve your mood due to their vitamin B-12 content.

With that said, typical yogurt probiotics don’t reach your gut or survive there. This makes yogurt less beneficial than Kefir.

Kefir vs. Yogurt – Taste

Both Kefir and yogurt feature a creamy texture and tangy taste. However, there are some subtle differences in taste between the two.

Kefir is slightly sweeter and typically has a thicker consistency unless you choose water kefir. In terms of flavor, Kefir usually is a little bit tangier. It has a stronger flavor because it contains more live bacteria.

Ultimately, the taste of Kefir or yogurt will depend on the base (milk, coconut, water) used and the time it is fermented.

Kefir vs. Yogurt – Calories

Calories in Kefir and yogurt are usually the same, but it depends on the fat% of the milk used and ingredients. Yogurt usually has more sugar, but this also depends on the brand.

Kefir vs. Yogurt – Protein

Kefir and yogurt are high in protein, containing about 8 grams per serving.

Kefir vs. Yogurt – Cost

Yogurts are generally sold in smaller bottles, about 4 oz, while Kefir is 16-32 oz. So the price per oz is usually similar.

Kefir vs. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut and Kefir are both fermented foods that can help improve your health. However, they differ in a few ways.

Kefir vs. sauerkraut – Calories

Sauerkraut has less calories per serving than kefir. However, there are only slight nutritional differences between the two.

Kefir vs. Sauerkraut – Protein

Kefir has more protein than sauerkraut. Protein is essential for cells, muscles, and bones and can also help boost your metabolism.

Kefir vs. Sauerkraut – Cost

Sauerkraut is generally more expensive than Kefir.

Kefir vs. Sauerkraut – Health benefits

Kefir and sauerkraut can help improve your health thanks to their high probiotic content.

Kefir vs. Probiotic pills

Kefir is considered a functional food; it offers a variety of enzymes, amino acids, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and billions (or 100 trillion in Kefir Lab) of live and active probiotics. It is a nutrient-dense superfood.

Probiotic pills are supplements; they contain one or a small variety of bacteria without nutritional value. You will need a wider variety of nutrients to absorb and assimilate probiotics correctly.

Conclusion

To sum up, Kefir is an incredible drink rich in probiotics. It can boost immunity, improve digestion, and provide many other health benefits.

You can use Kefir as a healthy ingredient in various recipes – from cereal to Acai bowls. Kefir is nutritious and probiotic-rich and can provide numerous benefits if consumed regularly.

This ancient drink is an excellent alternative to the more common yogurt and has more probiotics. It’s a healthy drink that can help boost your immune system and gut health.

Inkar Gazizova

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