You’ve seen it on the shelves of your local grocery store. You’ve wondered, “what is this gross looking stuff?”
It’s kefir. And believe me, it doesn’t taste like cottage cheese soaked in gasoline. It just “sometimes” looks that way.
Or maybe you’ve seen it in a pretty strawberry and thought, “wait, that looks like an awesome Gatorade smoothie, it must be bad!”
But ah, looks can ultimately be deceptive (we learned this a long time ago). Kefir health benefits are extraordinary. So extraordinary that kefir is a legitimate superfood.
Sure, it isn’t commonly acknowledged as such. If you scour the internet for a list of superfoods, kefir is either far down the list, or nowhere to be found.
But it isn’t because kefir is a fringe superfood, it’s more because many people just don’t understand what kefir is and how extremely beneficial it can be to the human body.
The more you know about kefir, the more likely you are to stop bypassing it at the grocery store. Kefir is a sure shot of health. And one you need to understand more about.
What Is Kefir?
The essential starting point: what is kefir, anyways?
Kefir is a fermented liquid drink that’s derived from cow or goat’s milk. In order to make kefir, one must add lactic acid and yeast bacteria to the milk.
From the point you add the bacteria, it will take a solid day for the full fermentation process of the natural sugars to occur. After which, you end up with kefir.
The bacteria is sometimes called “kefir grains.”
Kefir is more well known in places of its origin, such as Europe and Asia. But it is growing in popularity domestically in the U.S. That’s mostly due to major grocery store chains carrying it on their shelves.
The curious search the Internet. You’re “the curious,” it is how you ended up here at SuperFoodDrinks.org.
Fermentingforfoodies has a guide for making kefir. Here’s a picture from that guide.
Doesn’t look all that tasty, right?
Well, that’s all gonna change by the end of this article, I promise.
But first, we have to get a few basic things out of the way.
BUT BEFORE WE DO THAT…Here’s a kefir smoothie that uses kiwi…
kefir is not only full of amazing benefits but done right, it can taste spectacular.
Now, let’s get on with our show…
Kefir Nutritional Facts (1 cup)
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 11 grams
- Fat: 2 grams
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Sugar: 12 grams
- Calcium: 390 mg
- Vitamin A: 90 micrograms
What’s the takeaway with kefir nutritional facts? It’s a low calorie, low fat, calcium booster.
But that’s not all this superfood provides. Not even close, this is just our baseline nutritional density. This just means we are off to a roaring start.
Kefir benefits are amazing and potent and highly versatile.
The benefits of kefir are surprisingly numerous for a superfood that’s not all that popular among the masses.
Will the secret to kefir’s vast vault of health benefits finally leak out?
Let’s have a closer look at some of the standout benefits. Remember, there are too many benefits to list, so I am just going to touch on a few of them.
Probiotic Super Powers
When we think of probiotics, we tend to immediately think of our “go to” sources, such as yogurt and pickles, or even probiotic supplements.
But wait, did you know that kefir is a more potent source of probiotics than our long-trusted yogurt? In fact, kefir blows yogurt out fo the water in terms of probiotic density.
Lower Cancer Risks
Cancer is the number one most deadly illness in the world. Cancer is caused by bad cell replication.
Probiotics, as fortune would have it, tend to slow down tumor growth. Tumors are replicating cells.
The news gets better for kefir as a probiotic source in particular. When using probiotics from kefir specifically, breast cancer cells were slowed by 56%. Comparatively speaking, yogurt’s probiotics only stiffened tumor cell growth by under 15%. That’s a huge difference.
Kefir’s high-density of potent probiotics means a pick up in your digestive health. Remember, solid and healthy digestion is a marker for overall good health.
But even aside from the obvious benefits of kefir’s probiotics, kefir can help stave off or ease the symptoms of diarrhea.
Kefir Isn’t Lactose Heavy
Just say the word “dairy” to someone who is lactose intolerant diagnosed and you will see a person get noticeably squeamish.
But here’s the thing: not all dairy is created equal. Many dairy products have varying levels of lactose, the protein that is typically associated with negative symptoms for some people.
Milk is the worst lactose offender. But many people who can’t drink milk can eat sharp cheddar cheese.
The news gets better when it comes to kefir’s lactose content, which is extremely low. Many people who are lactose intolerant handle kefir just fine.
You Might Get Some Asthma Relief
Got asthma? Many Americans suffer from this very frustrating allergic condition. But fresh research shows that daily kefir just might help the condition of asthma. It may do this because it lowers lung inflammation at the heart of asthma’s bronchial nightmare.
Oh, And, Maybe Allergy Relief To Boot…
Asthma is, of course, in part an allergic reaction. So by way of the same logic, kefir can help ease symptoms of allergies.
Kefir Just Might Fight Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis contributes to a deterioration of the bone’s tissue. The older you get, the more your odds increase for this horrible illness.
Kefir helps to fight osteoporosis in two main ways:
- It’s high in the calcium needed to fight osteoporosis
- It’s high in the vitamin K that serves to properly route that same calcium (you’d be surprised by how many people don’t get enough vitamin K, which is typically only found in leafy greens, or green smoothies).
Kefir May Fight E. Coli, Salmonella…
One of kefir’s probiotics Lactobacillus kefiri, has been shown to disrupt both Salmonella and E. coli.
After the 2018 Thanksgiving Romain lettuce debacle, it is nice knowing we can have a little beefed up protection from such bacterias by simply eating a little kefir on the daily.
By the way, kefir is one of the only sources of this particular probiotic…
The Cons To Kefir
While there aren’t many, the biggest kefir con that comes to mind is the potential for increased sugar. A lot of flavored store-bought kefir has a pretty high amount of sugar.
While I’m not on the “sugar is evil” train, I think we can all agree everyone should watch their intake.
You can beat this con, though. Get plain kefir, add your own natural fruits. Additionally, as discussed above, making your own kefir is easy, peasy…
Kefir is a fermented goldmine. Kefir benefits are a long illustrious list, too many to list. And it’s all backed up by science.
You can buy kefir at most traditional grocery stores. It is affordable and tastes good. Kefir has way more probiotics than traditional yogurt, something many people just have no idea about.
Some store-bought kefir products are pretty sugar laden, so that’s something to watch. You can easily buy plain kefir and add fruit, or even opt to make your own kefir.
Cory has been a professional writer and researcher since 2002 and has written 1000’s of articles on health, wellbeing and nutrition. Cory is very active and loves riding his bike when he is not working on his numerous blogs.