A Look Into The Superfood Drink Kefir
If you are a superfood fanatic or just simply dived into a health food store recently, you may have heard of the new superfood phenomenon known as Kefir. It has been all the rage recently - especially in Australia where it has popped up in many supermarkets and cafes alike. The superfood drink consists of a fermented yogurt, usually made traditionally with either cow's milk or goat's milk, that is rich in friendly microbiota that are beneficial for many reasons. Curious to see how it works? Keep reading - we got the guide for you!
What is Kefir?
As mentioned, Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow's milk or goat's milk. It is made by adding kefir grains to milk. What is unique about this grain is that it is not like most cereal grains that we are familiar with - more so, Kefir grains are actually colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble a cauliflower in appearance. Over approximately 24 hours, the microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk, turning it into kefir.
Once fermented, the grains are removed from the liquid and can be used again. In other words, kefir is the drink, but kefir grains are the starter culture that you use to produce the beverage. What makes the kefir grains also interesting is that the lactic acid bacteria found within the grains turn the milk’s lactose into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour like a yogurt - but with a much thinner consistency.
According to The USDA, a 6-ounce (175-ml) serving of low-fat kefir contains
- Calcium: 10% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 15% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 12% of the RDI
- Riboflavin (B2): 10% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
In addition, kefir has about 100 calories, 7 to 8 grams of carbs, and 3 to 6 grams of fat, depending on the type of milk used. Besides these dietary benefits of kefir, check out these other benefits of kefir.
Kefir Is More Probiotic Than Yogurt
Some microorganisms can have beneficial effects on health when ingested, which are known as probiotics. These microorganisms may influence health in numerous ways - from aiding digestion, to helping with weight management, and even improving mental health. While many go to yogurt for a healthy and popular probiotic choice, Kefir is actually a much more potent source.
According to the the National Institutes of Health, Kefir grains contain up to 61 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making them a very rich and diverse probiotic source. However, with this said, it is important to know that the diversity found in these drinks do differ depending on numerous settings. Other fermented dairy products are made from far fewer strains and don't contain any yeasts.
Some of these probiotics found in Kefir are also believed to protect against infections. This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus Kefiri, which is unique to kefir. Multiple studies found in the National Institutes of Health demonstrate that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. Coli. Kefiran, which is another type of carbohydrates present in kefir, also has antibacterial properties!
Kefir Can Help With Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is there deterioration of bone tissue and is a major problem in Western countries - as it is especially common among older women and dramatically raises your risk of fractures. Many doctors and physicians would recommend that your diet consists of an adequate calcium intake, due to how it is one of the most effective ways to improve bone health and slow the progression of osteoporosis
Full-fat kefir is not only a great source of calcium but also Vitamin K2, which plays a central role in calcium metabolism. Supplementing with K2 has been shown to reduce your risk of fractures by as much as 81%, according to a study found in Osteoporosis International. Even more so, recent studies have linked kefir to increased calcium absorption in bone cells, which can lead to improved bone density! This can help prevent fractures down the line!
Kefir May Improve Allergy and Asthma Symptoms
For one more benefit of Kefir, it has been found to improve allergy and asthma symptoms! As we know, allergic reactions are caused by inflammatory responses against certain foods or substances. People with an over-sensitive immune system are more prone to allergies, which can provoke conditions like asthma. In recent studies, Kefir has been shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergies and asthma. However, these studies were only performed on animals and human studies are needed to better explore these effects.
The bottom-line, however, is Kefir is a healthy, fermented drink that can boost your immune system, aids in digestive problems, improves bone health, and may even combat cancer. Get started with kefir today to make the most of this tasty, sour drink!
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