What are probiotics without kefir! Yes, it most definitely is a buzz word these days. The probiotic world even calls kefir the next “Greek yogurt”. What exactly is all this hue and cry about though? Is it worth all the hype? And most importantly is kefir safe? Let’s find out all about this.
What is kefir?
A tart tasting fermented product that is very similar to yogurt yet refreshing when consumed, kefir also lets out a slight fizz. It has a multitude of good bacteria and that exactly is how kefir differs from other probiotic foods. All these bacteria work in unison to give you the health benefits that you so rightly deserve. Kefir is made by the fermentation cow, goat, sheep or even coconut milk. The starter used to ferment milk is however not commonly found, it is a combination of bacteria and yeasts that are clumped together resembling grains. These grains can be used to ferment and form many batches of kefir.
If you are intolerant to lactose, kefir is a great probiotic to include in your diet. The enzyme lactase present in kefir easily breaks down lactose and makes the product friendly even for people with lactose intolerance.
What's the difference between yogurt and kefir?
Both yogurt and kefir are one of a kind, yet a little diverse too. Though the health benefits of yogurt are similar to the benefits obtained from kefir, the latter may have a slight upper hand when it comes to the number and type of bacteria present in it and also with the consistency.
Kefir is thick and solid thus fills you up faster. If you aren’t a fan of yogurt then kefir is worth a try as it can replace yogurt in everything that you use yogurt for. Pour it in cereal, blend it with your favorite fruit or use it in your curry.
The number and type of bacteria and yeast that is used to ferment milk for kefir is three times more in comparison to that of yogurt. With the number of beneficial bacterial increasing the scope of gaining a good digestive system and immune system does increases three fold.
Health Benefits of Kefir
Advantages of healthy food are plenty, however the probiotic benefits don’t come that easily. Kefir, just like any other probiotic has a zillion health benefits. It is considered one of the most useful probiotic foods to add to your diet.
The Lactobacillus Kefiri, present in kefir is specific to this food alone and it assists by strengthening the immune system. In addition to this the biotin and folate present help in protecting your cells. Kefir also has the kefiran which is an insoluble polysaccharide and has antimicrobial properties helping fight against candida.
Calcium is the main element that keeps your bones in top health. Kefir is loaded with calcium. However, the absorption of calcium can happen only in the presence of bioactive elements that are present in plenty in kefir.
Cancer is scary and spreads like wildfire. The compounds found in kefir have anti carcinogenic properties. There are researches that have identified that compounds present in kefir slow growth of tumors in the early stages and prevent them from converting into carcinogenic.
The balancing of gut bacteria is very tricky. Kefir makes this effortless by restoring the balance and fighting against irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and crohn’s too.
Allergies are contained with the help of good bacteria present in kefir which help reduce the inflammation that come alone with asthma and allergies.
Weight loss is a nightmare for many, however, adding kefir may help you through your journey. Kefir contains many strains of bacteria that help with weight loss in different ways such as fat reduction, increasing satiety and burning fat.
Toxins present in food, namely aflatoxins are bound with the lactic acid in kefir which make them as effective as dead. This flushes your body of toxins and helps in detoxification.
The shelf life of food can be improved by adding kefir to ferment bread and milk. Though the bad guys are not destroyed the good guys help the food to stay fresh for a long time.
Hurt physically? Don’t worry, the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties will take care of the healing.
Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, cognitive impairment problems and depression can be excruciating, but there is research that indicates adding kefir may provide relief.
Age related diseases are mostly because of damages caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative damage can be prevented to a great extent by the use of antioxidants. Kefir consists an abundant amount of antioxidants thereby helping prevent diseases like dementia and cancer too.
If skin breakouts torture you, you may benefit from kefir as the lactic acid present may help prevention of acne. In addition, the peptides, whey and lactic acid may aid in lightening of skin. People who want their birthmark or vitiligo lightened may be ecstatic to hear this.
Side Effects of Kefir
A coin always has two sides, likewise disadvantages of Kefir are minimal yet present. Just as in other health foods, initially on starting one may find it a little uncomfortable. They may experience bloating or constipation, this stays only till you get used to it.
People with a weak immune system, for example people with AIDS need to consult your doctor before you start. Though kefir is seen to improve the immune system, people suffering with a very bad immune system may see further damage.
If you avoid caseins then kefir is not for you.
So if you still ask yourself, should we take probiotic supplements? There is no reason not to. What say!