Also called “magic milk”, kefir is one of the most well-known drinks nowadays.
This slightly thick, yogurt-like substance is famous in natural health community thanks to high content of nutrients.
Kefir is also a suitable choice for people with lactose intolerance.
It has a variety of beneficial health aspects which can not be extracted from yogurts or other dairy products.
This article will shed light on nutrition facts and top 7 Benefits of Kefir which are constantly proved by scientific evidence.
Back to the past, kefir first appeared in Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia.
The name “kefir” comes from a Turkish word “keyif” whose meaning is “feeling good” (1).
Basically, kefir is a thick drink which is the mixture of kefir grains and milk from cows or goats before fermentation.
Kefir grains are the perfect combinations of yeast, lactic acid bacteria, numerous proteins as well as lipids.
Not only are kefir grains necessary for the production of kefir, they are also mainly responsible for the texture of this drink.
After 24 hours, the multiple process of microorganisms in kefir grains will happen.
It will ferment sugar in milk, leading to the appearance of kefir.
Nutritionally, kefir is a powerhouse of many beneficial health effects.
It is the lactic acid bactaria which convert lactose in the milk into lactic acid.
Therefore, kefir’s taste is relatively as sour as that of yogurt.
Averagely, a serving of kefir has protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, riboflavin or magnesium.
Also, kefir’s positive effects on people health are attributed to a high content of bioactive components.
They are organic acids and peptides (2).
Bottom line: Containing a number of nutrients, kefir is a potential food which may gain interest in health community.
Health Benefits of Kefir
Following are top 7 benefits of kefir which you may not know.
1. Antibacterial Qualities
One of the most valuable benefits of kefir is its capability of fighting infections.
This derives from an abundant source of Lactobacillus kefiri – an unique probiotic in kefir.
Moreover, kafiran – a kind of carbohydrate in kefir can also play a part of anti-bacterial effects in this thick drink (8).
Bottom line: Loading with Lactobacillus kefiri and carbohydrate kefiran, kefir is beneficial for bacteria prevention.
2. Bone Health
The massive benefits of kefir make it good for improving bone health.
When people become older, they may deal with weaker bone health which may cause them difficulties in moving.
Usually, osteoporosis is one of the common bone-related dreads.
It indicates the deterioration of bone tissue.
In reality, an adequate consumption of calcium may help with bone health improvement.
At the same time, calcium is essential substance to slow down osteoporosis progression (9).
Interestingly, kefir is a great source of calcium.
As a result, it is logical to understand that the ability to fight bone diseases is another benefits of kefir.
Not only calcium but also vitamin K2 in kefir is effective in the treatment for osteoporosis.
Also, result from animal research indicated that kefir consumption resulted in bone cells’ better absorption of calcium and higher bone
Bottom line: Serving as a dairy product, kefir contains calcium and vitamin K2. These substances may have massive effects on bone health.
One of the mechanisms behind benefits of kefir is its ability to fight cancer.
It is regretful to witness a growing number of people who die for cancer.
Generally, cancer emerges when cells inside the body system grow uncontrolled.
Oxidative damage is one of the deciding factors which explain for the appearance of cancer.
At the same time, kefir consumption could foster immunity function.
For women, breast cancer is a common dread.
Kefir extract lowered the sum of breast cancer cells by 56%, which is much higher than yoguer extratc with only 14% (15).
However, further research on people are required for better confirmation of kefir’s effects on cancer prevention.
Bottom line: Some studies which were done in animals have indicated that kefir can prevent the development of cancer cells.
It would be such a big mistake if we didn’t mention benefits of kefir as a natural medicine for digestive problems.
For long, probiotic goods are well-known for their positive effects on digestive conditions (16).
And kefir is not the exception.
Thanks to a great source of probiotics, kefir can recover the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.
Bottom line: Not unlike other probiotic foods, kefir may be helpful for the cure of many digestive issues.
5. Lactose Intolerance
The massive health benefits of kefir have made them one of the best ingredients for lactose intolerance.
In fact, lactose is a natural sugar which is included in several dairy products.
It is typical for certain adults to be unable to digest lactose properly and experience lactose intolerance (23).
According to scientific evidence, kefir consists of lactic acid bacteria which can convert lactose into lactic acid.
As a result, in comparison to milk, these foods have lower amount of lactose.
Moreover, enzymes which are responsible for breaking down lactose well can be also found in kefir.
All of these factors make a great contribution to kefir’s ability to help with lactose intolerance (24).
Bottom line: It is recommended that people with lactose intolerance should consume kefir.
By far, the most effective application of kefir to date is in people with weak immunity.
Undeniably, immune system plays an important role as it functions to protect the body system from fight of foreign invaders.
Facts have shown that vitamin C is the key element for immunity’s proper-functioning.
Interestingly, kefir is a big house of vitamin C.
Futhermore, the anti-bacterial properties in kefir may prevent harmful bacteria and guarantee a strong immunity health (25).
7. Heart Health
To improve heart health is another benefits of kefir.
In fact, the habit of consuming dairy foods like kefir can lower risk of cardiovascular – one of the biggest killers all around the world.
Loading with kefiran, kefir may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which is really beneficial for heart health (26).
Also, people who consume kefir regularly are less prone to some conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart stoke, etc.
Take Home Message
In general, kefir is quite safe to consume.
However, it is necessary to be careful with the quality of kefir which is brought in stores or markets.
In case you feel unsafe about store-bought kefir, it is recommended that you do it yourself.
How to do:
- Use a small jar to contain 1-2 teaspoons of kefir grains
- Add 2 cups of organic milk (it is believed that grass-fed cow milk is one of the best choices)
- Put some full-fat cream to increase the thickness of your product
- Put the lid on the jar and keep it under room temperature under 12-36 hours.
Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.