It’s a hot topic on the lips of the wellbeing community, but what exactly is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented drink made using milk and originates from the North Caucasus, a region between Asia and Europe. It is made by adding kefir grains to milk. Interestingly kefir grains aren’t cereal grains; they look like small beads and contain bacteria and yeast. The grain a milk mixture is then left for a minimum of 24 hours.
During this time, the bacteria and yeast ferment sugars in the milk into lactic acid, which activates the bacteria allowing it to grow. The grains are then strained from the kefir and placed into a fresh batch of milk to restart the process. The strained mixture is now ready to drink or can be kept fresh in the fridge. The drink should now taste like a slightly sour, thinner yoghurt.
The drink itself can be very beneficial and is why its popularity has soared in recent years. Drinking kefir will provide the body with a range of nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin K2 magnesium and potassium. It is also known to improve digestion due to its probiotic content and is, in fact, a more powerful probiotic than yoghurt. The calcium and vitamin K2 found in kefir also promotes bone health and can help to slow osteoporosis. Other notable benefits may include antibacterial properties, supporting weight loss, protecting against cancer, and improving asthma symptoms or allergies.
If you’re thinking of giving kefir a try, and we recommend you do, there are a wide variety of dairy versions available in supermarkets, and there are also dairy-free versions of kefir available such as water kefir, coconut milk kefir or almond milk kefir. It is also a relatively simple thing to make at home with some basic equipment, kefir grains and self-research; plenty of kits are available to get you started.
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