Kefir has gained a significant amount of popularity as of late â€” especially in circles that follow a clean eating lifestyle or for those of us who face troubles with lactose, but still love yogurt.
So, what exactly is kefir? It is a fermented milk beverage (I know, it sounds gross) that is effervescent in nature (yes, bubbly like sparkling water) and when flavored with everything from strawberry and blueberry to vanilla and pomegranate is a tasty little treat that packs a major punch (both to your tastebuds and your health).
The Health Benefits of Kefir
In terms of your health, you really can’t beat this drink. It’s quick and easy to drink nearly anywhere you go and it’s filled with beneficial bacteria and yeast, plus a host of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, B2 and 12, vitamin D, and vitamin K. And because it boasts antibiotic properties, it’s been used in the treatment of many medical conditions â€” from metabolic disorders to HIV. And if all that wasn’t enough, kefir is rich with microorganisms and probiotics, both of which aid in healthy digestion.
Why Lactose Intolerant People Can Drink Kefir
You might be wondering why, if kefir is dairy-related, lactose intolerant people are able to enjoy it with relatively few side effects. The answer is in the enzymes. Because kefir is so rich with them, it actually aids in digestion. Kefir also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is effective in calming the nervous system.
Making Your Own
Depending on how much kefir you end up drinking or eating, it may be more practical to make your own. And it’s not as intimidating or difficult as making your own yogurt. What’s great about kefir is that it works a lot like a sourdough starter â€” once you’ve got it going, the hard work is basically over. Mother Earth News has a great tutorial on making kefir.Â Basically you can use milk as a starter or purchase actual kefir starter.
Sounds Great. How Can I Add Kefir to My Diet?
Here’s what’s fab. It’s as easy as pouring yourself a glass â€” really. If you purchase commercially-made kefir (found in the organic section of major grocery stores as well as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods), you can pour it on your cereal, make smoothies with it, or just drink it right out of the bottle. My kids also love to use it as a dip for fruits.
Alternatively, if you choose to purchase kefir in the form of cheese, you can spread it on crackers, bread, or even pizza.
Personally, I love kefir. I have not yet attempted to make my own, but now that I found that great tutorial, I think I’m going to give it a shot this week. We primarily purchase the Lifeway brand because it’s the taste we all like, but there are milder and stronger tastes, depending on the brand you choose. It’s all in the fermenting process. So, if you try one but aren’t loving it, try another brand to see if it makes a difference.
References: Seeds of Health,Â