As people become more aware of the role foods can play in their quest for better health. The challenge to find healthier alternatives to the traditional Western diet becomes important. One ancient food product that is being embraced for its apparent health benefits is kefir.
Kefir is a fermented milk product that originates from the Caucasus Mountains in the former Soviet Union. Where it was used in ancient times to treat a variety of health-related problems ranging from digestive disorders to infectious processes such as tuberculosis.
Now, the Western world is starting to discover and embrace the apparent health benefits of kefir.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is made by adding a complex of yeast and bacteria to milk which is known as grains. These grains multiply as the milk undergoes fermentation which, in turn, creates more grains setting off a sort of self-replicating process.
It is this self-replicating fermentation process that creates the uniquely tangy, carbonated taste of fresh kefir. Some describe its unique taste as similar to that of a fizzy yogurt.
Although you can make your own rather kefir easily at home. It can be found in natural food markets such as Whole Foods and even in some supermarket chains.
By using fermented milk and kefir grains. You create a milk drink of a mixture of yeasts, microorganisms, and bacteria. There are also proteins, lipids, and polysaccharides present.
The drink originates from the Caucasus region and the name ‘kefir’ is derived from two Persian words; ‘kef’ meaning foam and ‘shir’ meaning milk.
The health benefits of kefir are that it has excellent antibacterial properties that can help heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and candidiasis (yeast infection).
The kefir grains look similar to cauliflower and when combined to the fermenting milk, it is then known as a miracle drink.
How to Make the Kefir Drink?
To get the health benefits of kefir, you first need to know how to make the drink. You first add live kefir grains to the milk.
As the milk ferments, the grains which are growing propagate new grains. Milk from goats, sheep, and cows are best to use.
However substitute milk such as soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk can be used. The traditional method is to allow the milk to ferment in a skin bag to allow the mixture to be stirred.
Once the milk has fermented, it can be strained to remove the kefir grains.
What are the benefits of kefir that make it such a healthy food?
Here are some reasons you may want to consider adding kefir to your diet:
1. It Helps the Digestion of Lactose
With lactose intolerance being so common in this country. Kefir can be a healthy alternative to traditional milk and yogurt.
It contains a variety of bacteria that are thought to break down lactose in the stomach in people who are deficient in the natural lactase enzyme. This allows lactose deficient people to enjoy milk products again.
2.Promotes Healthy Immune Function
A study published in the Journal of Immunobiology showed that kefir has the potential to positively modulate immunity.
It is more effective at destroying viruses and bacteria that enter the body as well as destroy tumor cells.
Although these studies still need to be confirmed in humans. The potential for kefir to help maintain a healthy immune system seems likely.
3.It’s Rich in Vitamins
Kefir is a rich source of vitamins including the B vitamins, vitamin K, as well as important minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
These vitamins and minerals help to regulate almost every organ in the body, making the effects of kefir far-reaching when it comes to nutrition.
4.It aids Digestive Function
Kefir is a rich source of healthy microorganisms such as probiotics. It can help to maintain normal digestive function.
It can help treat traveler’s diarrhea and can reduce gas formation in some people by promoting healthy digestive function.
Kefir used during antibiotic treatment may help to cut down on diarrhea sometimes associated with antibiotic use.
5.It may Help to Prevent Breast Cancer
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that kefir extracts have components that specifically target. It can stop the growth of human breast cancer cells.
For this reason, many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are adopting kefir as an alternative to milk.
The main reason for the health benefits of kefir is due to microorganisms. They promote digestive health and the wellbeing of the individual.
It can combat bloating, gas, indigestion, and can cure constipation. Those who are lactose intolerant find it beneficial due to the enzymes included in it.
Drinking the fermented milk helps by relieving inflammatory bowel disease and can cleanse the colon, addressing any problems of the intestines along its way.
7. Prevent Arthritis
The other health benefits of kefir are helping conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, pancreatitis, eczema, gastritis, psoriasis, gout, osteoporosis, leaky gut syndrome, and anemia.
By strengthening and stimulating the body’s immune system, the disease-fighting qualities are enhanced.
Drinking milk can also reduce the risk of colon cancer and prevents the growth of cancerous cells.
Due to the amino acid, ‘tryptophan’. It helps maintain a healthy nervous system and calms the nerves. Kefir is its anti-aging properties by neutralizing the free radicals in the body.
It can control or even cure acne, depression, sleep disorders, bronchitis, asthma, hypertension, chronic fatigue, diabetes, colitis, allergies, and even diarrhea.
As it is a source of protein, kefir is safe for all ages, even children. By detoxifying the body, promoting vigor and health as well as losing weight. The health benefits of kefir are almost endless.
The health benefits of kefir are still being discovered and explored. It’s a simple and relatively inexpensive way to add vitamins, minerals, as health bacteria to your diet. Why not give this unique drink a try?