Top 6 Benefits of Kefir

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Kefir Grains

Because recently I have become obsessed with all things fermented – kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, etc – I’m thrilled to share the many healthful properties of fermented foods. This post will be about a certain fermented milk called kefir.  This fizzy beverage is very popular in Russia, southwestern Asia and Eastern and Northern Europe, and according to scientists, kefir consumption strengthens the immune system and has been found to contains anti-cancer substances (http://www.naturalnews.com/024477_kefir_bacteria_probiotics.html).

Kefir is made with using kefir grains to culture any kind of milk – be it dairy (goat, cow, etc) or nut milks like coconut and almond.  Kefir grains look like miniature cauliflowers, as you can see in the picture above, or the image below in my plastic strainer.

Kefir grains

Kefir Grains – goat milk kefir

By incorporating kefir into your daily diet, you can reap the many unique benefits of this self-carbonated drink. Here they are:

1. Kefir is full of beneficial organisms which, unlike the substances in yoghurt, actually colonize your gut. That is why it is so important to include kefir if you are trying to  restore your intestinal flora or if  your are recovering from a serious illness or being treated with antibiotics.

2. Milk fermented with kefir grains is actually made a lot more digestible, so even lactose intolerant people can drink it.

3. Kefir is rich in tryptophan, and essential amino acid (building block of protein) that is responsible for keeping the nervous system healthy. I drink a cup of kefir before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep!

4.  Kefir is also rich in a few B vitamins which are needed for so many functions of our bodies, such as skin, nervous system and digestive system. Why spend the money on synthetic B vitamins?

5. Kefir has a mild laxative effect so it really makes a healthy drink if you suffer for constipation..I noticed it can literally help you go after each meal, which is some say is the ideal!

6. Apart from health benefits, drinking kefir can save you money if you buy good quality probiotic supplements. About a cup of kefir contains 2.5 trillion beneficial organisms. One capsule of man-made probiotics contains about 15 billion organisms.  Since a bottle of GOOD quality probiotics may range from $15 to$ 50,  it makes sense (and cents) to ferment your own drink full of LIVE beneficial organisms.

Kefir is very easy to make, and it is also sold at stores. If you want to control the ingredients of kefir though, make your own. All you need is a tablespoon of kefir grains, a glass jar, 3-4 cups of any kind of milk, and waiting time (about 24 hours). If you take care of your grains properly, they will last you for life. You can order the grains here: KEFIR GRAINS.

Personally, I make it with organic goat milk I get at a health food store.  My next mission will be to make it with coconut milk.

Are you making your own kefir? If yes, please share your experiences and the kefir benefits you have seen. Personally, after making and drinking kefir for about a month, I am experiencing better mood, clearer skin and better digestive health! It is so true to say that the gut is the seat of all wellness!

Marina, holistic nutritionist

First photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnystiletto/6969824366/

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Comments: 17

  1. Janknitz October 2, 2012 at 12:29 am Reply

    I have very active kefir grains. I have tried using them for coconut milk and it works fine, but it kefirs MUCH faster than dairy milk, so be sure to check it after about 8 hours or so. I found coconut kefir a little too sour for my taste, but I like mixing kefired dairy milk 50:50 with coconut milk for a refreshing treat.

    I also tried them with commercial almond milk and that was NOT pleasant. The almond milk separated and curdled, and I didn’t like the flavor. YMMV.

    • Marina October 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm Reply

      Jankitz, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I will keep the coconut milk kefir making in mind, thanks for the advice!

  2. Donna October 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm Reply

    What great timing. As we speak, I am making an effort at making milk kefir. This is my first time making it, but am not getting great results. I put the kefir grains in a glass jar with 1 cup of room temperature organic milk. Left it on the counter for 24 hours and then I drained the milk and started over without rinsing the grains. The instructions say that I should do this for 5-7 days. It’s been about 3 days, but the milk has not changed in taste or texture. It is still the same texture as milk and not thick like kefir should be. Perhaps it’s still too early? Am I doing this right?

    • marina October 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm Reply

      Hi Donna, thank you for stopping buy!
      I was wondering where you got the grains? I don’t really know why you would have to drain the milk and do it for 5-7 days. When I got mine, I just put it in 1 cup of milk and the kefir was ready in 24 hours.
      Maybe your grains are not alive anymore? I would suggest you contact the person who gave them to you and replace them with the ones that work.
      Keep in mind that it also depends on the temperature (how warm your kitchen is). Try putting it on top of fridge or cupboard by the stove.
      marina recently posted..Top 6 Benefits of KefirMy Profile

    • mk October 9, 2012 at 6:55 am Reply

      I recently bought some kefir grains online, and the first 7-8 days of daily kefir making the kefir tasted yeasty and rather unpleasant, so I would just dump it. Then all of a sudden the kefir started tasting delicious and in 2 weeks the grains have more than doubled in size. I drink now 2 cups a day and love it.

  3. chris lane March 19, 2013 at 8:35 am Reply

    Greetings,
    Kefir grains have changed my life.

    • Mary Huber April 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm Reply

      Chris, I would love it if you would say how kefir grains have changed your life. I am seeking some life-changing benefits, also, but not sure what to look for!

      Mary Huber

  4. Rolando April 26, 2013 at 12:01 am Reply

    Thank you very much, excellent blog… I’m remaking Kefir..

  5. Erin May 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm Reply

    hello!

    I love kefir and have been making it for about a year now. however mine is never fizzy. i use very little milk and it is a yogurt texture when finished. I’m experimenting with making it with more milk. I’m hoping this will result in the fizzy drink version you mention here. Also, I add mixed berries before eating it! Yum!

  6. Dianne May 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm Reply

    Hi, I am interested in making kefir but I need step by step instructions. I have been reading up on it a lot and i’d like to try and make it but since I don’t know how it’s supposed to taste how will I know that I am making it right and how do you know if you’ve purchased inferior kefir? Please any help would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
    Dianne recently posted..Kefir JelloMy Profile

    • Marina May 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm Reply

      hi Dianne.
      Would you like me to send detailed instructions to your email? I do have a document with them.

      • Mayela May 21, 2013 at 2:24 am Reply

        I’m interested in the detailed instructions! Thank you!

  7. Tammy May 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm Reply

    hi, I’m wondering…I have been poking around the internet to get some information about how kefir is (almost) lactose free. Does the kefir grain react to skim cows milk making the lactose level lower? Would it work with soymilk? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Marius@Probiotic Kefir Grains May 12, 2013 at 10:48 pm Reply

      Hi Tammy,
      the milk kefir grains feed on lactic acid so even your skim milk is gonna keep them going for a while. Skim milk makes a great drink, the only thing is it takes shorter to ferment, and it gets more sour faster.
      The milk kefir grains will make you a batch of water kefir every now and then, however you need to keep feeding them milk, otherwise they die.
      There’s people on the internet claiming that you can turn milk kefir grains into water kefir grains, however I don’t buy that – they are different strains of bacteria and yeast.
      http://goo.gl/QMyvi
      Marius@Probiotic Kefir Grains recently posted..My Probiotic Kefir Grains Didn’t Like This MilkMy Profile

  8. Rita June 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm Reply

    Started drinking Kefir, but I have been drinking 1 large glass (that is how much I get after straining it) & am waiting to see what benefits I gain from this, maybe after I have been drinking this for a while I will see results! I would love some recipes to go with the grains, if anyone has some.
    Thanks!

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    • Jera November 23, 2014 at 9:15 am Reply

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