What is Kefir? What Are
the Benefits of Kefir? How Do You Make Kefir?
The question of “
What is kefir? ” most often leads to “How do you
make kefir?” Here are the answers to both.
times in a discussion of the 10 Healthiest Foods the term “kefir” is
mentioned. Eventually, the question arises, What is kefir? This is a valid question since kefir
seems to be a food popular only in certain cultures and parts of the
world. The health benefits of kefir are not limited. Once the benefits
of kefir are explained, the eager health enthusiast follows with
another question: Where
can I get kefir?
This, too, is a good question. Here are the answers to both.
The word kefir (other spellings
are kefirs, keefir, kephir and kewra to name a few) is properly
pronounced as kuh-feer. It is
commonly mispronounced as key-fur. No matter how
you pronounce it, kefir has a world of wonderful probiotic benefits to
enhance your wellness.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink
that most likely originated in the Caucasus region where shepherds
found that milk carried in skin bags fermented into a sour foam.
To answer the question, what is
kefir, I usually start to explain this wonderful food as very similar
to yogurt. Like yogurt, kefir is a fermented dairy product that is
ancient in its origin. Both kefir and yogurt have a characteristic sour
taste that results from the action of many probiotic bacteria as they
work to make milk far more nutritious with their fermenting process.
Unlike its more commonly known
cousin, yogurt, kefir is not only friendly and important to digestive
health as yogurt, but it also employs the fermenting action of
beneficial yeasts to transform ordinary milk into a super food that is
worthy of being included in the
Where Can I
You can get kefir commercially
in most any large grocery store or health food store. I will warn
you--it is a bit expensive. If you like kefir, it is so easy and
to make it daily at home. See
for the simple instructions to make it at home for the price of milk.
What Are the
Health Benefits of Kefir?
Another difference between
yogurt and kefir is that, unlike yogurt that must be heated, kefir is
made from unheated milk, thus keeping the original, wonderful
Along with all of the raw milk
benefits, kefir is best known for its probiotic benefits. The
combination of beneficial bacteria and good yeasts come together for
many health and wellness benefits.
Some of the
benefits of kefir
- contains tryptophan, which naturally relaxes and promotes a
good night's sleep
- the antioxidants
in kefir boost the immune system
- helps to suppress unhealthy food cravings
- has essential amino acids that help the body heal itself
- rich in several B vitamins
- colonize the digestive tract with good bacteria
- helps balance the internal pH
- enhances digestion
Kefir has antibiotic, anti-fungal
and antioxidant properties. Kefir has also been used in the treatment
of many health conditions including metabolic disorders,allergies,
cancer, poor digestion, osteoporosis, HIV, heart disease and
candidiasis to name a few. The yeasts in kefir will restore balance to
the gut flora in the intestine and actually kill the harmful yeasts
that cause candidiasis.
How to Make
While commercially produced
kefir is a bit expensive, you can make kefir for the price of milk. To
make traditional kefir you first have to obtain the kefir grains.
Just a short note about kefir grains. These “grains” are not cereal
grains nor do they resemble them. Kefir grains are a combination of
bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of sugars, lipids and proteins. The
grains actually resemble cauliflower. These are living, growing and
reproducing organisms that cannot be made in a laboratory. Once you
have obtained your original grains, you will grow your own grains
indefinitely as you make kefir.
Kefir grains placed in milk kept
at room temperature for about 24 hours is the short answer to how to
make kefir. Follow the links for more detailed information on
and suggestions as to where to obtain kefir grains.
Kefir in a Pill!
If you are convinced of all of
the health benefits of kefir but do not want to have the daily ritual
of making it, then just take a pill! There are probiotic supplements
that supply the living and beneficial bacteria. The supplement that I
recommend is called
Probiotics 12 Plus contains a full spectrum of living,
beneficial bacteria. Now you can enjoy all of the health benefits of
kefir in a convenient form.
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