Kefir: What it is exactly and what benefits it has for your health?

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Kefir comes from Eastern Europe and South-West Asia. The name comes from the Turkish word Keyif, which means “good feeling” after eating.

Kefir is a beverage, traditionally made with cow’s milk or goat’s milk and fermented. This is done by adding “seed” kefir to milk. It is not just about seeds, in the conventional sense of the word, but on crops of yeast and lactic acid bacteria, resembling a piece of cauliflower in appearance.

For about one day these microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and knead the sugars in the milk, turning it into it into kefir. Then the granules are removed from the liquid and can be used again.

So, basically, kefir is a beverage, but kefir grains are the necessary “raw material” to produce this beverage. Lactic acid bacteria convert lactose into milk into lactic acid, which is why it has a sour taste, like yogurt, but with a thinner texture.

One serving of kefir milk (one glass of 175 ml) contains:

  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Calcium: 20% of the recommended daily dose
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the recommended daily dose
  • Vitamin B 12:14% of the recommended daily dose
  • Riboflavin (Β2): 19% of the recommended daily dose
  • Magnesium: 5% of the recommended daily dose
  • Enough amount of vitamin D
  • 100 calories
  • 7-8 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3-6 grams of fat, depending on the type of milk used
  • It also contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds, such as organic acids and peptides that contribute to health.

Kefir beverages that do not come from dairy products are made with coconut water, coconut milk, or other sweet liquids. However, these products will not have the same nutritional value as those based on normal milk.

It is more potent probiotic than yogurt

Probiotics are microorganisms that affect health in various ways, including digestion, body weight management, mental health and longevity.

Yogurt is the most prevalent source of probiotics in the Western diet, but kefir is a much more potent source. The kefir seeds contain about 30 strains of bacteria and yeast, making it a very rich food in probiotics. Other fermented dairy products are made from far fewer such strains and do not contain yeast.

Kefir has strong antibacterial properties

Some probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections. Such a probiotic is the Lactobacillus Kefiri, which only exists in kefir and nowhere else. Studies show that this probiotic may inhibit the development of various harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, Helicobacter pylori and E. coli.

Kefiran, a type of carbohydrate that exists in kefir, also has antibacterial properties.

May improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Adequate calcium intake is one of the most effective ways to improve bone health and slow down osteoporosis.

Kefir is produced from full-fat dairy products and is not only a great source of calcium, but vitamin K2. This nutrient plays a central role in the metabolism of calcium from the body, while it is scientifically associated with a reduced risk of fractures of at least 81%.

Recent animal studies have shown that kefir can increase the absorption of calcium from bone cells. This leads to improved bone density, which in turn contributes to the prevention of fractures.

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