5 Amazing Benefits of Kvass

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Drinking kvass is not only a popular cultural tradition, but it can also be a potentially healthy beverage.

What is Kvass?

Kvass is a popular beverage in certain Baltic countries, such as Russia, and is made from stale, sourdough or rye bread, or beets. It is very low in alcohol content, as the fermentation process is different from making traditional beer. With less than 1% alcohol by volume, on average, most people don’t consider it an alcoholic drink. This culturally significant beverage has been around since the Middle Ages and is quite easy to make through the basic fermentation process of bread and other grains.

When it comes to taste, kvass is similar to kombucha with a tangy sour flavor, and can also be complemented by a number of fruits, nuts, and other ingredients. Due to the fermentation process, this beverage also contains probiotics, which provides its various health benefits. Kvass is becoming increasingly available in other parts of the world. When stored properly, kvass can be safe to drink for six months to a year, but considering how easy and inexpensive it is to make, it may be better to simply make a new batch.

Kvass Nutrition Facts

When it comes to nutrition, kvass is a rich source of manganese, vitamin B12, selenium, niacin, iron, copper, and magnesium. This drink also contains only 76 calories per 10-ounce serving and provides a moderate amount of fiber. Depending on what you use to make this drink, the nutritional facts might differ, particularly if you use beets, which are rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and various others.

Kvass Benefits

This popular beverage has a number of benefits including its ability to detoxify the body, prevent cancer, boost nutrient intake and cleanse the liver, among others.


As with so many other fermented foods, kvass contains beneficial bacteria that can help the gastrointestinal tract and prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance and various other gastrointestinal problems. Intake of kvass gives relief from excess flatulence, bloating, constipation and even lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.

Liver Cleanser

If you make kvass with beets, you’ll be able to improve liver health due to its high dosage of antioxidants and potassium; these antioxidant compounds can reduce inflammation in the liver and prevent chronic disease.

A beer glass filled with kvass, with rye bread and dried ryegrass in the background

Kvass is a traditional fermented Slavic and Baltic beverage commonly made from rye bread. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Anti cancer Potential

Kvass is made using beets and therefore, it may have a great potential to help you protect from cancer. A study by the Howard University of USA suggests that red beetroot extract may help in reducing tumor formations in various organs when administered in drinking water. The study also suggests that this extract helps inhibit the growth of pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer cells.

Another study also suggests that beetroot has the ability to show chemopreventive effects on skin, lung, and liver cancer cells. While research on kvass is still under process, many researchers are positive about the anticancer potential of beets in the form of this beverage as well.

Rich in Nutrients

With a wide range of various minerals, vitamins, and other active ingredients, kvass is an excellent beverage for boosting overall nutrient intake and optimizing metabolic activity.

Blood Tonic

Researchers found that kvass is able to reduce the toxicity in your blood due to the presence of certain phytonutrients, making it an ideal way to cleanse your circulatory system.

How to Make Kvass?

This ancient semi-alcoholic beverage can be made easily using water, black rye bread, sugar, yeast, and raisins. Take a look at the recipe below.

A beer glass filled with kvass, with rye bread and dried ryegrass in the background

Traditional Kvass Recipe

Didn't know a beverage made out of stale bread could taste so good!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: kvass, bread kvass
Appliance: Stove
Prep Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 14 hours
Author: Ishani Bose


  • 9-10 slices of classic black or stale rye bread
  • A handful of raisins
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2.5 gallons of water
  • 1.5 tbsp of active dry yeast


  • To make kvass,  Bring a stockpot with 2.5 gallons of water to a boil.
  • Toast 9-10 pieces of traditional black rye bread.
  • Add the toast to the boiling water, then remove from heat.
  • Add a handful of raisins, cover the pot and let it stand for 8 to 10 hours.
  • The next day, remove the toasted bread from the pot.
  • Mix 4 cups of sugar with 1.5 teaspoons of yeast. Add this to the pot and cover with a lid.
  • After six hours, remove the raisins and strain the mixture into bottles.
  •  Loosely seal the lid and place in the refrigerator overnight.


It would be ideal to store kvass in plastic soda bottles as they are structured to hold pressurized drinks.

Kvass Side Effects

People may experience side effects if they drink this beverage in excess, particularly if they are allergic to beets or have a gluten intolerance. Drinking this beverage may cause gastrointestinal side effects due to the activity of the probiotics.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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