Kefir : 6 Evidence Based Health Benefits of It
Kefir is a cultured, fermented beverage. A best alternate of yogurt. It tastes somewhat similar to yogurt but there are some difference in between them such as kefir is thinner in consistency, having more fat, contain more nutrients & probiotics than yogurt. It’s made using starter. This starter is a combination of yeasts, milk protein & bacteria. It has a tart, creamy flavor.
Its origin in somewhere in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe & Russia.
In ancient times, kefir is used to make in simple leather bags by harnessing the kefir grains to ferment milk by nomadic shepherds in Balkans. It was first made in 19th century in West, later it was brought to Russia by the order of Russian emperor.
How to made Kefir?
Kefir is usually made with dairy milk but it can also be made with non-dairy milk such as:
- Coconut milk
- Rice milk
- Coconut’s water
It is easily available in your nearby grocery store but you can also make it at home. It’s method is too much easy:
- Put 1-2 tbsp of kefir grains in a small jar. The more you use kefir grains, the faster it will culture.
- Add around 2 cups(500ml) of milk, it must be organic or raw. Milk obtained from grass-fed cows is healthiest
- Leave 1 inch of room at top of the jar. You can add full-fat cream, if you want to make it thicker.
- Put the lid on and leave it for 12-36h at room temperature
- Once it starts to look clumpy. It is ready to eat.
But the last, most important thing you have to do is, strain out the liquid(kefir) gently and you will see the kefir grains still left behind. You can now put these grains again in a new jar with some milk and this process will start again. You can combined kefir with some healthy fruits and turns it into the healthy and scrumptious dessert.
In addition to these nutrients, it also contains various bioactive compounds including acids & peptides, which contributes to various health benefits. Dairy based kefir & non-dairy based kefir, both have different nutritional profile. .
Health benefits of Kefir:
Do you know why kefir has become more accessible throughout the world?
Because to its various health benefits. Here are 5 evidence based health benefits of it:
- Possess anti-bacterial properties:
A. As you know that kefir is rich in probiotics, which is protective against harmful bacteria and infections. The probiotic specifically found in kefir is Lactobacillus kefiri.
B. Research shows that this probiotic inhibit the growth of various contagious bacteria’s including Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori & E.coli.
- Improve bone health:
Kefir contains abundant amount of calcium, which improve the bone health and also effective against osteoporosis means slow the progression of this bone disease. Full-fat dairy not only contains calcium but also contains vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 has been shown to play a central role in calcium metabolism. Research shows that vitamin K2 supplements reduce the risk of fractures by 81 % .
Recent animal research found that kefir increased calcium absorption in bone cells, lead to improve bone density which helps reduce the risk of fractures.
- Anti cancer properties:
Cancer is one of the leading global cause of death. The probiotics in dairy product also have another function that it reduce tumor growth by stimulating immune system. So, it may have protective role against cancer.
One research found that kefir extract reduced the number of breast cancer cells by 56% in human than yogurt which reduced it by only 14 %
- Improve allergic problems:
- Good for lactose intolerant patient:
Lactose intolerance is a condition in which people are unable to break lactose in milk due to lack of lactase enzyme in their body.
- Good for gut health:
Probiotics found in kefir improve the healthy bacterial ration in GIT tract. It also prevent diarrhea & IBS(Irritable bowel syndrome) etc.
Downsides of Kefir:
- Constipation & abdominal cramping:
As you know, excess of everything is bad. Excess consumption of Kefir can lead to constipation and abdominal cramping.
- Might worsen the infections;-
While the bacteria in kefir is strengthens the immune system. But people who have weakened immune system or their immune system are out of balance must avoid it. Because it increases infections & exacerbations of condition. Kefir is full of casein. If someone is casein allergic can skip this from diet.
Kefir is a nutritious fermented food throughout the world. It has various health benefits due to its strong nutrition profile.