What Are Kefir Grains? Kefir Recipes, Benefits And Facts
You've probably heard that there are many health benefits to kefir. But what is kefir and kefir grains? Why is it so good for us? In its simplest form, kefir is a type of fermented milk product. It has a stronger, more sour flavor than yogurt but is a similar product. It's also thinner than yogurt, but thicker than regular milk.
Kefir Nutrition Facts
Kefir has a wide array of nutrients including:
It’s important to note that not all kefir is made the same and this doesn’t have a standard nutritional value. It all depends on how healthy the cows from which they come are.
Cows that are grass-fed give you healthier milk, thus giving you better kefir.
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Kefir can benefit the body in numerous ways because of its unique ingredients and nutrients: Here’s what it can potentially do for you:
- Improve your immunity
- Potentially cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Improve your bone density
- Fight off allergies
- Improve your body’s lactose digestion
- Destroy candida
- Improve your body’s detoxification mechanisms
Kefir Grains: Good For Your Digestion
Seventy-five percent of your immune system is in your digestive system. A lot of the fungus and good bacteria destroy the microorganisms, allowing you to function properly.
If you get sick, this means there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.
Kefir Health Benefits Backed Up By Medical Studies
Kefir grains are not your typical grains as you normally think of them. It is simply a balance of bacteria and yeast that are used to make kefir. Kefir grains can make milk into drinkable kefir beverage in about 24 hours.
Kefir is rich in the following:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Lactic acid bacteria
- Beneficial yeast.
- Beneficial microbiota
Kefir Can Combat Cancer
According to The Journal of Dairy Science, immune cells in mice helped stopped the growth of breast cancer with regular taking of kefir.
Kefir Will Support Detoxification
As mentioned earlier, kefir is loaded with lactic acid bacteria and is able to destroy fungi and aflatoxins. This is able to preserve good genetic expression.
Aflatoxins are foodborne toxins made by mold. They can be found in the following foods, to name a few:
- Many ground nuts
- Several vegetable oils including soybean, cottonseed and canola
- Grains including Corn, soy and wheat
Kefir Can Improve Immunity
A study conducted by the University College Cork in Ireland compared the making of Lactobacillus probiotics. What they did was compare traditional antibiotics in three animals comparable to humans.
They discovered “In all three animal diseases we observed a positive effect in that the animals were significantly protected against infection.”
Kefir Benefits Bone Density
A study conducted in 2014 by the Journal of Osteoporosis International discovered kefir is very beneficial for bone density. It is also helpful in reducing the development of osteoporosis.
Kefir helps reduce your risk of osteoporosis by absorbing magnesium and calcium.
Kefir’s probiotics help with absorbing nutrients. The dairy in kefir has all key nutrients for helping improve bone density. This includes the following:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K2
Can help heal IBS/IBD
Kefir has large doses of probiotics which includes bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. This means kefir can naturally treat irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.
A study from a Canadian medical journal discovered that foods with a lot of probiotics can heal your stomach. This includes, but isn’t limited to kefir and yogurt.
Allergies and Asthma
A study from the journal of Immunology discovered that kefir can help with asthma and allergies
For example, the study demonstrated that kefir can suppress the following signs for inflammation:
- T-helper cells
- IgE immunoglobulins
The study also found that asthma can be curbed with its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Can Help with Lactose Intolerance
Believe it or not, this is a true statement, as fermentation changes the makeup of foods. For fermented milk, kefir is significantly low in lactose, sometimes 99 percent lactose-free. Fermentation diminishes the lactose levels in milk
Those who have lactose issues could try to integrate kefir into their diet in incremental amounts.
This all comes from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association which contends that Kefir helps with lactose intolerance in adults.
How Kefir Is Made
As Kefir.net notes, Kefir can be made from any type of milk including:
Kefir forms a slight mucous, but does have a “clean” quality. This allows it to create excellent conditions in your digestive system for developing good bacteria.
As mentioned earlier, kefir comes principally from the atypical kefir grains “grains,” which can be yellow or white in color. They are atypical because there is no other milk culture that can form grains.
The kefir grains has the bacteria and yeast that come together with complex sugars and casein, which are milk proteins.
As you can see below, these grains resemble smaller versions of cauliflower or coral. The grains help to ferment the milk, thus helping make the final kefir product.
What happens next is that the grains are removed with a strainer and then put with new milk.
There Are Different Types of Kefir
The two main types of kefir are the following:
- Milk kefir
- Water kefir
The principal liquid in the several types of making kefir can be different, but the process for making it is pretty much the same. The health benefits are also said to be present in both milk and water kefir.
Kefir is very low in sugar because the active yeast “eats” most of the added sugar during the fermentation process.
Milk kefir is made with cow, goat or sheep’s milk. It is more common and more available. You can get it in most supermarkets and pretty much all health food stores.
Soy, almond and coconut kefir, as well as comparable types, does not have any lactose, as it is produced from non-dairy milk.
Kefir typically comes from a starter culture, allowing probiotics to form.Buy a kefir starter now
Milk kefir’s taste, once fermentation is complete, is tart that is comparable to that of Greek yogurt. The strength of the taste depends on the length of the fermentation.
If the fermentation takes longer, it will be a more tart and stronger taste. It could also result in some carbonation coming from the active yeast.Learn how to make kefir
You can make coconut kefir with coconut milk or coconut water.
The coconut milk is taken directly right from coconuts and is made by blending what is called the coconut “meat,” which is actually the thick, white, part which you see on the of the inside, as well as water.
Lastly, you strain out the pulp which only leaves a milky liquid.
Coconut kefir is typically sweeter and does not have as strong a flavor as milk kefir.
Water kefir has a lighter taste and texture than its milk counterpart. It is usually made with fruit juice sugar water. While made in a fashion like milk and coconut kefir, it requires water kefir grains.
You can make your own flavors at home with healthy choices, just as you can with milk kefir. It is a an excellent alternative to fruit juice or soda.
It is a good idea to add water kefir into:
- Fruit and veggie smoothies
- Desserts are healthy
- Salad dressings
- You can also have it by itself
Not the best idea as a dairy substitute, as it is not as tart as dairy products in various recipes.
To drink water kefir alone, get a low sugar version and then add some fruit and herbs like fresh mint for extra flavor.
More Facts And Benefits
We're not done yet! The Huffington Post gives 12 more facts and benefits of Kefir. You should find these very interesting!
You Can Make Your Own
This is what you do: get some kefir grains or starter powder, then let it culture in milk. It will take 12-48 hours.
You can include flavoring, blending your choice of fruit or some vanilla extract.
The book True Brews has some good recipes for making kefir and other fermented beverages.
This is the second most prevalent mineral in the human body. Aside from that, is also prevalent in kefir and kefir grains. Phosphorus is necessary as it helps us use proteins and carbohydrates for energy and cell growth.
We hope you find this information on kefir and kefir grains to be useful. Send use your feedback in the comments. We look forward to reading them!
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