Have you tried Kefir? My kids LOVE it and it is a staple in our refrigerator. Kefir is a cultured, fermented, thick milk product made with kefir “grains”. The grains are not an actual grain, like wheat, but instead a yeast, bacterial fermentation starter that resembles cauliflower.
Kefir is a beverage and is tart and tangy in taste and has been described as having a fizz or effervescence. Kefir can be plain or flavored, most often with fruits. While it can be a fun taste bud change to drinking milk, the following four health benefits of drinking kefir are what really makes it worthwhile:
Probiotics: Yogurt can be a good source of probiotics but kefir is a great source! Kefir contains up to 20 different strains of probiotics and upwards of 10 billion cultures per serving. Probiotics are key to a healthy digestive and immune system and these good bacteria also help to promote the absorption of vital nutrients.
Nutrient Dense: Like milk, kefir is rich in calcium and can provide more than 200mg of calcium per serving. Kefir is also rich in Vitamin A, D, B12, B1 (thiamin), folate (fermenting time will vary folate levels) and biotin as well as the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium and copper.
Protein Dense: A single serving of kefir can provide upwards of 10g of protein and all of the essential amino acids! Kefir also contains tryptophan, an amino acid, which is known for its calming effects.
Lactose Light: Kefir is relatively lactose free and can be easily tolerated by those who suffer from lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance such as gas, cramping and abdominal bloating were reported to be less or non existent in those who substituted kefir for milk.
You can buy kefir in the store, but caution as many kefir products have added sugars potentitally negating their health benefits. You can also make your own kefir at home by buying kefir grains and culturing them in organic, whole milk for 24-28 hours. Flavoring the kefir is also easy and ideas include: vanilla, cinnamon or fruits.
Give kefir a try! You won’t know if you like it until you try it!
The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.
Copyright © Jaime Coffey Martinez, MS RD Nutrition CPR, LLC