Kefir is a traditionally prepared fermented drink that is made using cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Kefir is beneficial for gut health and it is high in probiotics and nutrients. It is prepared by adding kefir grains to milk. The name Kefir is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after eating. It originated from parts of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia.
The lactic acid bacteria turn the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour like sour milk, but has a thinner consistency.
A 175 ml (6 oz) serving of milk kefir contains:
- Protein:6 grams.
- Calcium:20% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus:20% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B12:14% of the RDA.
- Riboflavin (B2):19% of the RDA.
- Magnesium:5% of the RDA.
- Vitamin D
Here are 7 science-based health benefits of kefir.
Kefir contains effective antibacterial properties
Kefir contains probiotics which are believed to be active against infections. This includes the probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri. According to studies, this probiotic can hinder the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. coli.
Kefir may be protective against Cancer
Cancer occurs when there is an unrestrained growth of abnormal cells in the body. The probiotics in fermented dairy products are believed to constrain tumor growth by reducing formation of carcinogenic compounds. A study found that kefir extract reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by 56%, compared with only 14% for yogurt extract.
Kefir is a more powerful probiotic than yogurt
Some microorganisms can have helpful effects on health when consumed. These microorganisms are known as probiotics and can influence health in numerous ways, including weight management, digestion, and mental health.
Kefir grains contain about 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a very rich and diverse probiotic source.
Allergy and asthma
Kefir may help improve symptoms of allergy and asthma. People with an over-sensitive immune system are more predisposed to allergies, which can incite conditions like asthma. Kefir has been proven to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergy and asthma.
Kefir is good for people who are lactose intolerant
Regular dairy foods contain a natural sugar called lactose. Most adults are not able to break down lactose contained in dairy foods. The lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy foods like kefir and yogurt, convert the lactose into lactic acid, so these foods are much lower in lactose than milk. Kefir contain enzymes that can help break down the lactose, making it good for people with lactose intolerance.
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Kefir Can Improve Bone Health
Osteoporosis, also called porous bone, is the weakening of bone tissue. It is common among elderly women, and raises the risk of fractures.
One of the most active ways to improve bone health, and slow the progression of osteoporosis is proper consumption of calcium.
Kefir is a good source of calcium and vitamin K2. This nutrient plays a central role in calcium metabolism, and supplementing with it has been shown to reduce the risk of fractures by as much as 81%.