Kefir is made from milk that has been gently heated to eliminate possibly pathogenic bacteria. Next, a specific mixture of bacteria and yeast cultures are added to the milk to begin fermentation. The unique mixture of bacteria and yeast give kefir its distinct flavor and texture. The starter cultures for kefir are often referred to as “kefir grains” as they look like small, lumpy, granules, similar in appearance to cauliflower.
The bacteria Lactobacilus caucasius ferments lactose in the milk into lactic acid, which provides a tangy flavor. Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, two yeasts used to make kefir, ferment lactose into a small amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is responsible for the carbonation.
-Yogurt vs. Kefir
Yogurt and kefir differ based on the type of cultures used to ferment the milk. Yogurt uses only bacteria, primarily lactobacillus species, while kefir uses both bacteria and yeast. Although yogurt can range in texture from a thick liquid to a semi solid, gel-like consistency, kefir is primarily liquid.
There are many recipes for kefir, which differ based on the specific bacteria and yeast used to ferment the milk and the type of milk used. In European countries, kefir is often made from goat, cow, or even camel’s milk. Most kefir sold in the United States is made from cow’s milk.
Kefir is available plain, which has a bright, tart flavor. To make it more palatable, many companies sweeten the kefir and add flavors like fruit or vanilla. Flavored kefir is closer in flavor to yogurt and may be more easily accepted by those who are new to kefir.
Kefir can also be made with non-dairy milks, such as almond or soy. These non-dairy kefirs are made using the same bacterial and yeast cultures, and offer the same pro-biotic benefits, making them an excellent alternative for vegan consumers.
So why you should drink Kefir !
To answer this question, it is important to highlight the good things that kefir can do for its drinkers. One, it can clean the digestive tract making sure that no toxic or pathogenic contents in food enter your bloodstream. As it flushes out the bad bacteria from your intestines, it regulates digestion, metabolism, and the colon, which makes it very effective in treating diarrhea, leaky gut syndrome and even colon cancer.
Second, it regulates your immune system, which means it makes you more resistant to any disease and can also potentially prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. The immune system is like the gatekeeper to good health. What exactly can we do to fortify these gates against diseases? Take in the probiotics found in a kefir drink.
Third, it regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Kefir grains are made up of lactose- and sugar-eating bacteria. This is good news for lactose intolerant and diabetics. Probiotcs don’t die easily inside your intestines. They will keep on munching on the lactose and sugars that come in and pass through the digestive tract.
Fourth, it is known to many not just as a health drink but also as beauty drink since it can make the hair and skin smoother. And since it balances sugar levels, it is also a helpful drink for weight watchers.
Fifth, kefir can treat a variety of diseases and health conditions, which include ulcer, tuberculosis, eczema, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, and hypertension in order to promote an over-all feeling of good health.
But you gotta suspect that something this good should have a downside. Nothing is ever perfect, but kefir comes very close. What are kefir’s side effects and how does it affect pregnant women?
The beauty with kefir is that it is organic. It is a gift from nature and not a product of lab experiments or chemical processes. Some say it is a gift from God and go so far to say that God fed Moses and the Israelites with some kind of kefir in the form of manna. The Bible describes manna as how I would describe kefir grains today ñ white, fluffy and very nutritious. Since kefir is organic and all-natural, it is no surprise that it has no known side effects.
Preparing your own kefir drink also involves natural steps. You simply add real kefir grains to your milk, let the grains ferment your milk and that’s it.