Kefir is a fermented drink that is made by adding kefir grains to milk or water and contains 20+ strains of healthy bacteria and yeast cultures. Health benefits of kefir include improved gut health and digestion, calcium for bone health and may help to assist our immune system to function optimally.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented drink that originated in the Caucasus mountains in the 1800s. It is either milk or water based, kefir milk has the consistency of a runny yoghurt and water kefir is a carbonated type drink. There are many different types of kefir including dairy free and vegan kefir options such as coconut kefir, kefir yoghurt and goat milk kefir. The taste can be quite tart or sour but many have flavouring added to improve this. The fermentation process produces more than 20 different strains of probiotics and yeast cultures.
How is kefir it made?
Kefir is made by adding kefir grains to milk or water, however, these aren’t your typical grains, they are grain-like colonies of bacteria and yeast. This mixture is then covered and left to sit and ferment at room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours. The kefir grains are then drained out and it is ready to drink.
How is it consumed?
Kefir can be consumed as a drink or eaten like a yoghurt. Pour it on your cereal, use it in a smoothie or drink it straight out of the bottle. There are many different varieties and flavours so there is one everyone can enjoy.
Why is it becoming popular?
The ever-growing trend for nutritious diets and healthy living has seen an increase in the popularity of gut and digestive health due to it’s link to improved overall health. It is getting more and more attention in the media and on social media, this means products that improve gut health such as kefir are also becoming more popular.
What are the health benefits of kefir?
The live probiotics in this drink increase the healthy bacteria in your gut, which can improve digestion and may help reduce negative symptoms related to this. Kefir health benefits are primarily focused around gut and digestive health, however, there are also other great health benefits such as improved bone health, milk based kefir drink contains calcium which is important for keeping our bones healthy and strong. It may also help to improve immune health, there is a strong link between gut health and immune function, as stated above, consuming kefir can improve our microbiota, therefore, assisting our immune system in fighting off pathogenic bacteria. Some studies have also shown that people who regularly consume fermented dairy such as kefir yoghurt have a reduction in CRP which is a marker for inflammation in the body. Other studies have also shown a link between reduced consumption of fermented foods alongside a balanced diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Where can you buy it in Australia?
Due to its popularity it has become easier to find in local supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths with a variety of brands available. Some popular brands at the supermarkets include: The Collective Kefir, The Culture Co, Table of Plenty, Nexba, Coyo Coconut Kefir. Another option is to make it yourself at home, however, it is important to do this safely as fermenting foods can leave you feeling very unwell if not done correctly.
Consuming fermented foods has many health benefits due to their diverse probiotic content and including them in your diet regularly along side a balanced diet is very beneficial. There are many different types and flavours meaning there is a kefir suitable for everyone, vegan, lactose free, milk based and coconut based. Start by including some in your breakfast or adding it to your morning smoothie, your gut will thank you for it.