What is Kefir?
Kefir isn’t new per se. It’s been around since ancient times – but it has recently become popular among the fermented food crowd.
It’s a cultured, fermented beverage that tastes very similar to a yoghurt. It’s also traditionally made with dairy milk, but non-dairy alternatives are available.
For those who are lactose intolerant you might find you don’t need to source non-dairy alternatives of Kefir. This is because the fermentation process can help with digestion and leave you unaffected. However it’s best to check with a health professional first.
Interested in trying Kefir? Below are four different Kefir brands that you can get from either Woolworths or Coles.
If Kefir is similar to yoghurt, why not just have yoghurt?
Kefir and yoghurt are similar but only to a point. They share a similar tart taste and are traditionally made from dairy but unlike yoghurt, Kefir typically has more fat, more protein and more probiotics. It’s also a thinner consistency in comparison to yogurt, making it more of a drink.
The production processes of Kefir and Yoghurt also differ. Kefir is a room temperature fermentation process, whereas most yoghurts start culturing with heat.
Health benefits of Kefir
Healthline states there are nine evidence-based health benefits of Kefir:
- Kefir is a fantastic source of nutrients
- Kefir has more probiotic power than yoghurt
- Kefir has potent antibacterial properties
- Kefir can improve bone health and lower the risk of osteoporosis
- Kefir may be protective against cancer
- Kefir may help with various digestive problems
- Kefir is low in lactose
- Kefir may improve allergy and asthma symptoms
- Kefir is easy to make at home
Nine health benefits is a pretty substantial number from a single product. But interestingly the most beneficial of them all is that kefir has more probiotic power than yoghurt.
This mass of probiotics is beneficial in many ways. According to the Mayo Clinic probiotics help to:
- Improve the healthy bacteria ratio in the gastrointestinal tract’s environment
- Treat/prevent diarrhoea
- Treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or relieve symptoms
- Reduce/prevent gastronomical infections
- Prevent/treat vaginal infections
- Prevent/treat urinary tract infections
Side effects of Kefir
When drinking kefir for the first time your body might experience constipation and abdominal cramping. This, however, is a common side effect as your body is getting used to the mass intake of good bacteria which are probiotics.
For children aged 1 to 5 kefir is considered safe to consume, but we do recommend consulting a medical professional to advise you in this instance.