The benefits of consuming kefir for health are abundant; it is a cultured and creamy product with surprising attributes for the body. Its sour and refreshing taste is similar to a yogurt to drink, but it contains beneficial yeast and “probiotic” bacteria found in yogurt.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is known to be a fermented beverage made from kefir grains, specifically from the Caucasus Mountains between Asia and Europe. The word “kefir” originates from the Turkish word “keyif,” which means “feeling good.” Kefir grains contain several species of bacteria and yeasts. They are small, yellowish white with the appearance of miniature cauliflowers.
Kefir has a very particular history which dates back a few centuries ago, where the shepherds of the Caucasus Mountains discovered that fresh milk transported in leather bags occasionally fermented in an effervescent drink. In the Caucasus Mountains, the legend says that the resulting kefir grains (which are not really a true grain) were a gift to the Prophet Mohammed, who instructed them on how to use the grains. Mohammed strictly forbade them to reveal the secret of Kefir Preparation to other people, or pass kefir grains to anyone, because they would lose their “magic strength.” The legend explains why the kefir grains and the kefir preparation method have been surrounded by mystery for so long. For most of the recorded history, the kefir was barely known outside the Caucasus Mountains, although Marco Polo mentioned it when recounting his travels. This beverage based on self-carbonated dairy products is still popular in Russia, Southeast Asia and eastern and northern Europe, and has recently gained some popularity in the United States.
Microorganisms and yeasts that are originally produced in kefir are symbiotically adopted to offer superior health benefits when ingested or consumed regularly. This food is loaded with excellent vitamins and minerals, already contains complete proteins that are easily digested and has natural antibiotic properties. For lactose intolerant, the abundance of yeast kefir and beneficial bacteria provides lactase, an enzyme that consumes most of the lactose that remains after the cultivation process. Kefir can be made from any type of milk, cow, goat or sheep, coconut, rice or soy. Although it has a slightly mucous formation, the mucosa has a “clean” quality that creates the ideal conditions in the digestive tract for colonization of friendly bacteria. Kefir is made of white or yellow gelatinous particles commonly called “grains.” This makes kefir a unique food, since it is not known that any other crop can give milk form grains. The grains have a combination of bacteria and yeast agglomerated with the casein that is the milk protein and also sugars. Grains ferment milk, incorporating its friendly organisms to create the cultivated product. Then, the grains are removed with a strainer before the consumption of kefir and added to a new batch of milk.
The benefits of consuming kefir for health are considered a long-lived elixir.
“This fermented beverage of the Caucasian plains is a true food medicine; it is full of good bacteria, vitamins and proteins”.
1. Rich in Vitamins and Proteins:
Kefir milk is as nutritious and complete as milk. It includes protein, calcium and B vitamins, including folic acid. It allows to vary dairy products and is as interesting for health as milk or yogurt.
2. Kefir Protects Our Flora:
The “good” bacteria present in kefir enrich our endogenous flora (the microbiota) and make it more resistant to pathogenic microorganisms. They play an immune barrier role. Also, drinking this drink can restore a balanced microbiota after taking antibiotics.
3. Kefir is Very Digestible:
Immersed in milk, the kefir grains coagulate casein and convert lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, alcohol and carbon dioxide. The result is a creamy and white liquid, whose consistency and flavor remind of whipped milk. It is highly digestible; it can be consumed by lactose intolerant people, which allows them to enjoy all the benefits of milk without its inconveniences (swelling, flatulence.)
4. Strengthen Immune Defenses:
Kefir contains many nutrients, such as biotin and folate that stimulate the immune system and protect cells. It contains a large number of probiotics, ideal for fighting germs. One specific to kefir is called Lactobacillus kefir and helps defend against bacteria such as salmonella and escherichia coli. This bacterial strain protects the immune system and prevents the development of many bacteria. Kefir also has another potent compound that is only present only in this probiotic drink. This is an insoluble polysaccharide called kefiran. Which is also an antimicrobial that manages to cure the Candida fungus.
5. Cure Skin Problems:
The lactic acid content of kefir can inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria, while the lactic acid, peptides and serum contained in kefir can lighten the skin. Skin lightening products can help reduce the appearance of birthmarks, moles and spots of lentigo so that they adapt better to the surrounding area of the skin. This can also work with vitiligo. Some people also lighten their skin for general aesthetic reasons (this is common in Asia). So, if you want to lighten your skin or treat acne, kefir can help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and lighter skin in general.
6. Kefir can Protect You from Cancer:
Cancer is caused by cells in the body that mutate and grow uncontrollably. A tumor is an example of this. Studies show that the good microorganisms found in kefir manage to prevent the growth of tumors. These probiotics manage to delay the enzymes that transform certain compounds into carcinogens in the body. Kefir can also proceed as an antioxidant and protect the immune system. Kefir has been tested for its role in protecting against colorectal cancer. In test tube studies, it has been found to stimulate the destruction of tumor cells. It was also discovered that Kefir helps stimulate the death of cancer cells in leukemia research
7. Help Prevent Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by low bone mass and deterioration in the structure of bone tissue. This can lead to fragile bones and an increased risk of fracture which is a global problem. Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people and is responsible for 1.5 million fractures. One of the most successful ways to maintain bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis is to consume enough calcium. Calcium is not the only nutrient that can help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin K2 has been found to play a vital role in helping the body use calcium. Making kefir with whole milk can increase the amount of vitamin K you consume and provide benefits to your bones. Studies have found that kefir can improve bone mass and structure in postmenopausal women. Therefore, although a glass of milk and a glass of dairy kefir may contain the same amount of calcium, kefir can improve bone health more than milk, they attribute it to kefir’s ability to increase the body’s calcium absorption
8. Help Detoxify the Body
In this modern era, toxins surround people, we consume it through meals and it is absorbed through cosmetics and other products. Kefir can be used to detoxify the body. In fact, it is especially effective against aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are common toxins to which we are exposed in food. They spread through mold and tend to contaminate peanuts.
9. Kefir can Combat the Effects of Aging:
Aging and age-related diseases are strongly linked to the damage of oxidative stress. Both milk and kefir from soy milk have high antioxidant content, so much so that they can be among the most promising food components to prevent gene and oxidative muta damage. This means that they can help prevent a number of age-related diseases, such as cancer or dementia, and can also serve to prolong the shelf life. The consumption of kefir can help curb oxidative damage in the body.
Why is it Good to Drink Kefir?
- Kefir is simple and economical to make at home.
- It is used therapeutically worldwide to relieve chronic fatigue syndrome
- Because it works as a natural tranquilizer and antibiotic.
- Kefir is an excellent food for pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and people with compromised immunity.