The health benefits of kefir include its ability to detoxify the body, clean out the digestive tract, eliminate harmful bacteria, improve the immune system, manage diabetes and lactose intolerance, help lose weight, boost skin and hair health and appearance, and protect against various fungal and viral infections.
Introduction to Kefir
Kefir is a health drink that has become known as modern day “magic milk” due to its many health benefits. It is basically milk from goats, cows, or sheep that has been mixed with kefir grains and allowed to ferment. The slightly thick, yogurt-like substance that is then created is packed with probiotics, yeast, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It can be an option for lactose intolerant people and has been connected with a wide range of health benefits that cannot be acquire from other forms of milk or yogurt.
Kefir grains are actually combinations of yeast and bacteria, along with various proteins, lipids, and sugars that form clusters of clumps of bacterial colonies within the fermenting milk, thus resulting in the thick texture of the drink. Kefir has been a popular drink for more than 5,000 years in the Caucasus Mountains and spread to both China and Europe during that time. It has recently become popularized in America and other western nations due to the rise of lactose intolerance and the desire for healthy alternatives to traditional food and drink. In culinary applications, it is commonly used to make sourdough bread and is a replacement for buttermilk in various recipes.
Nutritional Facts of Kefir
The health benefits of kefir can be attributed to its wealth of probiotic bacteria, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including kefiran, dietary fiber, protein, lactic acid bacteria, polysaccharides, nicotinic acid, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Health Benefits of Kefir
Digestion: As a probiotic-rich substance, kefir can be very beneficial for digestion and intestinal health. The probiotics eliminate a lot of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract, while also helping to absorb food in an efficient way. Furthermore, kefir is packed with dietary fiber, which stimulates peristaltic motion and can eliminate constipation. A single serving of kefir has more than 21% of the daily requirement of fiber.
Diabetes and Lactose Intolerance: For people suffering from diabetes, kefir can be a great way to remain healthy. Kefir grains are made up of sugar and lactose-eating bacteria, which means that excess sugar is removed from the system before it can flood into the bloodstream and cause the plunges or spikes in blood sugar that diabetics try to avoid. For those that are lactose intolerant, the lactose-eating bacteria can keep your stomach from reacting so violently, while still getting your body the important nutrients from milk.
Immune System: Not only does kefir provide a large amount of vitamin C, which is a key component for the immune system, it also has all of the beneficial bacteria that will eliminate other harmful bacteria in the body. It’s antioxidant properties can prevent a wide variety of diseases, including various cancers and heart disease.
Overall Health: As a very rich source of protein, kefir promotes the efficient functioning of the organ systems and can boost the body’s metabolism. Along with that, it helps wound healing, injury recovery time, and cellular growth.
Heart Health: The kefiran that is present in kefir has been connected to suppressing blood pressure and reducing serum cholesterol. Both of those things result in a healthier heart that is less prone to conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
A Few Words of Caution: Although there are not natural dangers to taking kefir, some people do notice an increase in the frequency of their trips to the bathroom. It certainly cleans out your system!