What is Kefir?
Kefir grains are small, soft, cauliflower-looking living organisms. They could be as small as the head of a pin or several inches across. When added to milk, kefir grains actually begin to change the milk. Kefir is a culture, in some ways like yogurt, but unlike yogurt, you do not sterilize and heat milk before adding kefir. Kefir grains digest bad bacteria and leave in their place good bacteria.
Kefir is a potent probiotic, consisting of both bacterial and yeast species of beneficial flora. In addition to providing the gut with healthy symbiotic microflora, many studies have also demonstrated the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of kefir. Research shows Kefir can bring your digestive system back to good health, making strengthen your immune system and boost resistance to allergens.
Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair, as well as general health maintenance.
Dairy kefir also contains tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids known for its calming effect on the nervous system. The tryptophan in kefir, in combination with its calcium and magnesium, makes for a soothing and relaxing drink. And kefir is often fine for those who are lactose-intolerant, because the yeasts and bacteria eat up most if not all of the lactose in the milk.
Kefir is quite easily digestible, and can be taken by children as well. It is a complete source of protein, with so many essential amino acids. To sum up, kefir is a great food that can detoxify the body, and improve the functions of the different body systems to promote health and vigour. It can also help in losing weight. Considering all the kefir health benefits, it can be concluded that introducing kefir to our diet is an excellent idea to live a healthy life.
Kefir Health Benefits
Kefir also provides some important vitamins and amino acids. A few of the most important health benefits of kefir are:
- Antibiotic and antifungal properties. It can prove helpful in conditions like, Candida (yeast infection).
- Provides beneficial microorganisms that can improve digestion, to alleviate some common digestive problems like gas, bloating, indigestion, etc. It can ensure regular bowel movement to cure constipation. The enzymes found in it can be especially beneficial for the people with lactose intolerance.
- Contains many essential vitamins and minerals. It is a rich source of vitamin A, B2, B12, K and D. The most important minerals found in kefir are, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
- Cleanses the colon and address any kind of intestinal problem such as IBS. It can provide relief in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well.
- Treats a number of health conditions like gastritis, pancreatitis, eczema, stomach ulcers, psoriasis, rheumatism, arthritis and gout, osteoporosis, anaemia and leaky gut syndrome, to name a few.
- Calms the nerves of our body, to maintain a healthy nervous system. This property of kefir is due to the presence of the amino acid, ‘tryptophan’.
- Antioxidants and anti-aging properties. Kefir neutralizes free radicals that damage the body cells and tissues by oxidizing them. By reducing the impact of free radical damage, kefir can slow down the aging process.
- Other kefir health benefits include curing or controlling acne, sleep disorders, depression, asthma, bronchitis, hypertension, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, colitis and diarrhoea.
How to Make Kefir
So, now you know how amazing Kefir is let’s get down to making some. I personally use Organic Coconut milk, I leave it for a few days and make the best coconut yogurt Kefir!
Add some blueberries to the coconut yogurt and you have a tasty little treat full of awesome nutrients!
This may seem like a lot of work, but once you have made your first batch, it is dead simple. Click on the link to get your first batch of REAL Kefir grains and you will never need to buy them again!
- 1-2 tablespoons Live Kefir Grains
- 2 cups milk (preferably organic, raw milk from grass-fed cows) — Buy raw milk online (UK)
- Or 2 Tins Organic Coconut Milk– For a Dairy Free Version
1. Put 1-2 tablespoons of kefir grains into a clean pint-sized mason jar. (The more kefir grains you use, the faster it will culture.)
2. Add milk. Leave a half inch to an inch of room at the top. If you want a thicker kefir, add a little cream. The more cream you add, the thicker your kefir will be.
3. Cover the mason jar with cloth or piece of kitchen roll and set it out on the side (or in a cupboard — NOT in the fridge!) for anywhere from 12-36 hours. The kefir grains will culture the milk. It cultures faster in a warm kitchen than a cool one. You will know when it’s ready because it will start to look thick and clumpy. The longer you leave it out, the tangier and cultured it will become. If it separates into a clear liquid and clumps, it’s REALLY ready.
4. When it’s ready, pour the kefir out into a strainer set on top of a glass mason jar. It’s important to use glass or plastic. Do not use stainless steel or metal of any kind.
5. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir the kefir until all the liquid passes through the mesh and you are left with kefir grains.
6. Some people like to rinse their grains— maybe once every two to four weeks. Kefir grains grow more quickly when you do not rinse them. If you do rinse them, ONLY use filtered water. Do not use tap water. It will kill them. (What does that tell you about the tap water we drink?!)
7. Now put your grains back into a clean mason jar, add some more milk and start all over again.