Kefir grains are all the rage these days but do you know why? We are hearing more and more about how important it is to consume fermented foods every day and this one may contain the fountain of youth. Luckily, the secret of Kefir is out and it is not only tasty but a super player in the probiotic playbook.
Kefir “grains” look like a bunch of cauliflower or little white brains. They are a living culture of bacteria/yeast which occurs in nature. These grains turn milk into a health bomb by feeding on the milk sugars and making a fizzy yogurt-like drink. They are traditionally added to milk but you can also use water, coconut, soy or nut milks.
Depending on your brew it can even sometimes have a little sour beer like flavor. If you like it on the sweeter side, you can add a touch of fruits or sweeteners and you are good to go. There are a ton of delicious berry flavored kefirs at the grocery store all ready for your enjoyment. It is thinner in consistency than yogurt like a thick milk shake.
Who knew that you can substitute kefir in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. You can also enjoy kefir in salad dressings, make gourmet cheese or add it to your morning smoothie. You can even separate out the whey and use that to make fermented veggies and pickles.
Hidden away in the Caucasus Mountains, Russian scientist and father of immunology, Elie Metchnikoff was curious about longevity and studied a Bulgarian community had an unusually large amount of centenarians. These communities drank “sour milk” every day. They were poor but not poor in health because of this probiotic rich food. This was back in 1907 where the average mortality rate in France was 40 years of age. This was the first foray into the connection between gut bacteria and great health.
Just 6oz serving of this probiotic drink contains all of this goodness
- 100 calories
- Carbohydrate:7-8 grams
- Fat 3-6 grams
- Protein: 6 grams.
- Calcium: 20% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B12: 14% of the RDA.
- Riboflavin (B2): 19% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDA.
- A decent amount of vitamin D, K2, organic acids and peptides.
Awesome Health Benefits
- Fights Cancer
- Boosts Immunity
- Heals Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Builds Bone Density
- Fights Allergies
- Improves Lactose Digestion
- Kills Candida
- Supports Detoxification
The Best Bang for your Buck
Kefir has about 30 strains of yeast and bacteria. About 75% of our immune health begins in the gut. Kefir is unique in that is can actually set up shop and colonize your gut with healthy bacteria. Kefir is also antibacterial and will fight “bad bacteria” like Salmonella and E. Coli.
Kefir vs Yogurt
Now we all know and love yogurt but did you know that Kefir is unique in it’s ability to colonize your gut whereas yogurt probiotics are transient. Yogurt only contains bacteria where kefir contains both probiotics and yeast. Kefir is also the winner in probiotic strains approximately 30 vs. 2 main types of bacteria in yogurt. Yogurt is still a healing food but don’t underestimate the healing benefits of kefir.
Kefir grains consume the lactose during the culturing process and so you can drink it even if you are lactose intolerant. Sounds crazy but start with just a tablespoon per day as it is great to help with dairy allergies.
WIth just a few kitchen tools you can make this at home. There are claims that there are more microbes in home grown kefir 30 vs.12 from store bought kefir. You will need kefir grains, a clean glass jar and milk or other milk to culture.
- Add 1-2 Tablespoons of kefir in a jar.
- Add 2 cups of milk.
- Leave on counter for 24 hrs.
- Strain the kefir grains out. Refrigerate the finished kefir and viola, start again!
You can do a second fermentation to mellow the sour flavor and increase B vitamins. Add orange peel, vanilla beans or any kind of fruit and let it sit for another 12 to 24 hrs and it will get even more bubbly. You can add this kefir to smoothies. And to make it even more healthy, put a few drops of the organic Tumeric Purathrive which is another powerful food that helps cells throughout your body.
If it separates, don’t be afraid, you can still drink it. It may be super sour but it is just fine. Your kefir grains have probably multiplied to the point where you need to divide and give them to a few to friends. If you make kefir cheese drain the whey and the use the whey for soda. Put in fridge overnight. Even save the whey to cultured vegetables! Kefir is so versatile!
People who are recovering from a serious illness should always consult their doctor when adding new or fermented foods to their diet. It is possible to experience abdominal pain or diarrhea. Commercial brands can contain a lot of sugar to balance the sour flavor so read the label.
- Most American pronounce Kefir as KEE-fur.. The correct pronunciation is kuh-FEAR.
- Thousands of years ago, the locals in the Caucasus Mountains believed the grains were a gift from Mohamad. They were treated like precious jewels. These grains gave their communities the wealth of superior health even though they were poor.
- The grains were a guarded secret because of their health giving properties. A Russian spy was able to get some and luckily for us, spread them throughout Russian and Eastern Europe and now, throughout the globe.
- There are even stories that the grains were actual manna from heaven when the Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years.
- The word ‘kefir’ is derived from the Turkish word keyif, it means ‘long life’ or ‘good life’ or good feeling after eating. So on that note…enjoy!
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