Discover Kefir: A Natural Way to Strengthen Your Body
Studies suggest that eating kefir may be beneficial for our health, thanks to its high probiotic content. So, should you be making kefir a regular part of your diet? We'll tell you everything you need to know in this article.
Kefir has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among those looking for dietary supplements to help improve their health. This dairy product is similar to yogurt and, due to its high probiotic content, may help to balance your intestinal flora.
Similarly, it may also be a good option for those suffering from lactose intolerance as, during the fermentation process, lactose is converted into lactic acid, which is much easier for the body to digest. In this next section, we’ll tell you more about kefir, and some of the different ways you can incorporate it into your diet. Take a look!
What is kefir?
Kefir is fermented cow’s or goat’s milk. Its characteristic acidic flavor comes from the conversion of sugars during the fermentation process. As a result, it contains lower levels of lactose than ordinary milk, making it easier to digest.
According to a study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, kefir contains more than 50 different types of probiotic yeasts and bacteria, giving it a number of interesting properties and benefits for our health. These include:
- Reducing the risk of obesity.
- Antioxidant activity.
- Anti-inflammatory effects.
- Lowering cholesterol.
- Reducing constipation.
- Antimicrobial activity.
In light of all this, it’s not surprising that kefir can have a positive impact on our health. Consuming kefir in moderation as part of a healthy and varied diet could help to boost your well-being. In this next section, we’ll take a look at some of the main benefits in more detail.
Discover more: The Yogurt Diet: A Healthy Way to Lose Weight
Kefir contains probiotics
When we talk about foods which help to balance intestinal flora, the first thing you probably think of is the classic bowl of plain yogurt. However, you may be surprised to learn that kefir actually contains a higher concentration of probiotics than yogurt.
A publication by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains that probiotics are living microorganisms, designed to maintain or improve the amount of good bacteria in the body.
While we usually associate the word bacteria with harmful germs that attack our bodies, there are a number of bacteria that are essential for our bodies to function properly, helping us to digest different foods, and even destroying cells that cause disease.
Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Certain components in kefir, such as Lactobacillus kefiri (a bacterium only found in kefir) can help to protect the body against the damaging effects of bacteria such as Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori and E. coli.
According to a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, the antibacterial action of kefir is the result of certain compounds, including organic acids, carbon dioxide, and ethanol, among others.
Not only could this combination help to prevent some foodborne illnesses, but it can also serve a supplement to aid in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases and vaginal infections.
Aids in the digestion of lactose
Nowadays, many people, especially adults, are lactose intolerant. This is because they are unable to digest the sugar found in milk. Some of the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
According to a publication in Sciences Daily, the microbes found in kefir contain an enzyme that’s essential for the digestion of lactose. As such, it’s a good option for anyone who suffers from lactose intolerance.
Promoting bone health
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that causes weakening of the bones and increases the risk of fractures. As well as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, one of the most common ways to strengthen bone tissue is to increase your calcium intake.
In the publication mentioned earlier, investigators suggest that, like yogurt, kefir is a great source of calcium, potassium and protein. As such, it’s a good option for those who have had to stop eating dairy products due to lactose intolerance.
How should you consume kefir?
In light of all this, we’re sure that you’ll be wondering how you can include kefir in you’re diet. The good news is that it’s easy to obtain, and can be used in all kinds of different ways. In this next section, we’ll show you some of the different options.
- Kefir is widely available in the form of granules, and makes a great breakfast option. If you want, you can sweeten it with a little honey.
- Try mixing it with fruit, cereals or oats.
- If you prefer liquid kefir, you could drink a small cup (100 ml) after lunch.
Kefir and a healthy diet
In conclusion, kefir can be beneficial for your health if consumed regularly, and alongside other healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet and regular physical exercise.
However, despite the fact that it has a very low lactose content, it’s important to remember that it is still a dairy product. As such, its suitability will depend on the level of lactose intolerance of each individual. If you have any questions, be sure to consult with a nutritionist.