You may have seen kefir in health food shops or online. It’s fast becoming the must-have staple in any health-conscious cupboard. But what is it, how do you use it, and what does it do?
What Is Kefir?
Kefir is a culture of lactic acid and yeast, bought in “grain” form. Mixed with milk, it activates and becomes like a thin natural yoghurt.
How Do You Use It?
Once you have made the kefir drink, you can mix it as you would milk. You can use it in your protein shakes, or to make your juices into a smoothie consistency. It also goes well alongside your overnight oats or mixed in with fruits and flavourings.
You can use non-dairy options where necessary. Soy milk, coconut milk and almond milk will all mix with the kefir. However, dairy does create a great, nutritious probiotic. Dairy is naturally good at “surviving” through layers of powerful stomach acid, so make a good vehicle to deliver the nutrients throughout the gut.
Interestingly, many lactose intolerant people find they can drink kefir. This is because the compounds turn the sugars in dairy into lactic acid, drastically reducing the lactose levels in milk. However, sufferers should consult with a doctor before attempting to drink it.
To make, simply add 2 teaspoons of kefir to a jar or glass of milk. Seal the vessel and leave overnight or up to 2 days. This will give the mixture time to ferment properly.
What Are The Benefits Of Kefir?
Kefir is a probiotic. It is generally more powerful than any other natural probiotic, including yoghurt. This means it delivers a host of beneficial microorganisms that help the body. Mostly, these help with our digestive system.
As well as promoting healthy microorganisms, it also defends the body against harmful ones. If you are prone to digestive issues such as IBS, excessive bloating or other problems, introducing kefir into your diet can have dramatic results.
But even if you feel your digestion is problem free, you could reap the benefits of a kefir boosted gut. In helping your digestion to be extra efficient, you may find you get more energy as your body becomes more adept at extracting what it needs from your intake and ridding itself of anything non-useful.
If you want to ensure you’re getting enough calcium, kefir is a good option. Whether you use a dairy-based mixture or not, kefir helps the body to absorb calcium. So your green veg, yoghurts and nuts will be extra helpful in keeping your bones strong. Studies have shown that because of this kefir intake can increase your bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Kefir has been linked to reduced risk of cancer. This is because it helps the body to rid itself of carcinogenic compounds, which can cause cancerous cells to form.
The mixture also helps to boost the immune system. So you’ll have less sick days to show off all the extra energy you’ll have at the gym!