Have you ever gone to the store to buy milk and wondered about the “kefir” the next shelf over?
Kefir is becoming more and more popular, and is available in different flavors, but many people have no idea what it is, or why they should be drinking it.
Kefir is a drink that’s similar in flavor and health benefits to yogurt. It’s originally from a region called the Caucasus Mountains, and it’s made by combining milk with a type of yeast known as a kefir grain. The milk can come from cows, goats or sheep. Kefir can also be made from coconut milk or rice milk.
You’ll want to look for the rice or coconut based kefirs if you’re vegan or have milk allergies.
Here’s a fun fact on its origin. In the villages where kefir was first made, this mixture would be hung in a bag on a doorway. Every time a person would walk by and bump the bag, it would mix the ingredients. Making kefir was truly a community project.
Kefir is like a thin, drinkable yogurt. It has a slightly sour taste, again most comparable to yogurt. It feels a little fizzy on the tongue because it’s fermented. Besides being delicious, it also has several important health benefits.
6 Reasons to Drink Kefir Every Day
1. Drinking kefir is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. That’s because it’s loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are live organisms that stop the growth of harmful bacteria in your digestive system.
Kefir has 3 times more probiotics then yogurt because of the yeasts and bacteria found in the kefir grains.Tweet
2. Kefir is loaded with calcium. In fact, drinking 1 cup gives you 20% of your daily RDA and builds strong bones and teeth.
3. Drinking kefir can help you get a better night’s sleep. That’s because it’s high in the amino acid tryptophan, which can make you drowsy.
4. It does amazing things for digestive issues. Studies have shown that kefir is very effective at breaking down lactose in the digestive system. This means it can cut down on stomach problems like gas and diarrhea that some people get when they eat dairy products.
5. Kefir is a protein powerhouse. With 10.5 grams in a cup, it will keep you feeling full and build muscle without adding fat.
6. Kefir is a stress buster. Kefir contains biotin and several B vitamins, which are good for your nervous system and to help you deal with stress.
Kefir is available in different flavors but I recommend sticking with plain and adding your own flavor. The flavored ones have a lot of added sugars.
Even if you don’t like the taste, you can use it to make smoothies. Just use plain kefir for the milk or juice you would normally use.
Here’s an all-purpose kefir smoothie recipe that you can play with to make it your own.
Kefir Fruit Smoothie
1 cup plain kefir
handful of fresh greens (spinach)
½ cup fresh fruit of your choice (blueberries)
½ cup frozen fruit of your choice (mixed berries)
1 T. honey
Mix up in a blender ‘til smooth. Feel free to add ingredients that you like.
Some good ideas for add-ins include:
Kefir is a staple in my smoothies and I hope it will soon be a regular on your shopping list too.
Yours in Health,
P.S. Please spread the word about kefir and I welcome your comments below.