Kefir is a type of drink that has various benefits from improving the intestinal flora, aiding in immunity and improving the intestinal transit. This is because it contains probiotic bacteria and yeasts that generally promote the overall health if the body.
Kefir bacteria can easily be grown at home and making the drink is very easy as it almost resembles the production of natural yoghurt. There are two types of kefir, water and milk. They both contain the same type of bacteria but they are cultured in different environments. In addition, these two types of kefir can be differentiated depending on the enzymes that are present in their composition.
Benefits of kefir
Due to its probiotic elements, kefir has various benefits that include:
- Decrease constipation, because good bacteria improve digestion as well as intestinal transit
- Combat intestinal inflammations, because having healthy flora is the main factor needed to prevent diseases
- Facilitate digestion
- Helps in losing weight because it is high in protein and helps lower calories
- Combat osteoporosis as it is rich in calcium
- Prevent and combat gastritis, especially gastritis caused by h. pylori bacteria
- Strengthen the immune system as it keeps the intestinal flora healthy, which prevents infection by microorganisms through the intestine
In addition to these benefits, kefir also balances the intestinal flora and it improves nutrient absorption. It is therefore great for those are under antibiotic treatment and they require regulation of the intestinal transit.
How to use Kefir to lose weight
Kefir is a low calorie food because 100g only contain 37 calories. It is therefore a great option to be added on the diet of weight loss. It also be used in place of yoghurt or milk and is an excellent option for those who have their intestine stuck.
The drink can be consumed once a day, for breakfast or as a snack. To improve the taste, it can be sweetened with a little bit of honey or b adding fruits such as banana or strawberry, which will act as vitamins.
Kefir also helps in loosening of the intestine. Therefore, when execrating faeces regularly you will note that the bell you will become less swollen as early as in the first week. This is because, the drink improves digestion and prevents constipation. However, for weight loss to be long lasting, you must follow a weigh loss diet and do exercise on a regular basis.
Where to buy kefir
Kefir grains can be bought from internet sites and kefir milk can be found in supermarkets or in a natural products store. Other people may also prefer to do donations of kefir a sit is grown in a liquid environment, and as it multiplies, some portion may be removed so as to prevent excessive growth. Therefore those who have it at home will give without to family and friend at no cost.
Kefir grains are also called Tibetan Mushrooms, Yogurt Plants, Yogurt Mushrooms, Yogurt Fungus and Snow Lotus. They originated from the Caucasus and they are made up of different microorganisms that are very good in regulation of the intestine.
How to Make Milk Kefir
The preparation of kefir is very simple as it is similar to the process of making homemade natural yoghurt. You can use any type of milk, from cow milk, goat, sheep or even vegetable, coconut rice or almond milk.
- 100 g milk kefir
- 1 liter of milk
In a glass container, place the kefir grains, fresh milk, pasteurized milk, skimmed or semi-skimmed milk-whichever you prefer. Leave the content at room temperature for about 24 hours. The milk will be fermented then it should be strained so as to recover the grains then more fresh milk should be added and the process repeated.
The already fermented liquid kefir that is stank can be consumed immediately after preparation or kept in the refrigerator for later consumption.
How to Make Water Kefir
Water kefir is made using coconut water or mineral water by adding brown sugar.
- 3-4 tablespoons water kefir grains
- 1 liter of water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
In a glass jar, add water and brown sugar then dilute well. Add the kefir grains then cover the mouth of the jar with a paper towel or gauze, then fasten it with an elastic band for it to stay safe. Leave it in a dark place, at room temperature, for it to ferment for about 24 to 72 hours. The more it is fermented, the less sweet the milk will be. After the fermentation process, sly the grains and use them for the next fermentation.
Savoring water kefir
After fermentation, the water kefir can be mixed with fruit juices, teas, ginger and dried or fresh fruits so as to increase the taste. Fermentation usually makes the drink slightly carbonated. For this reason it is possible to make home made soda.
The water kefir can last from 3 days to 2 week when placed in the fridge and it can be consumed with snacks or taken as part of lunch or dinner. Another fermented drink option that can be taken with meals is kombucha, as it improves health.
How to grow and care for Kefir
To keep kefir healthy and productive, it is advisable to store it in container with milk or water as well as sugar after each fermentation. Do not use metal utensils and you should always cover the container with a clear gauze, cloth or paper towel. This will prevent any contact with flies or ants. On warmer days or when the fermentation process delays, the kefir can be stores in the refrigerator. But if you wish to have the kefir for longer days without the fermentation taking place, then the grains should be stored in a lidded container and frozen.
Gradually, the kefir will grow and ferment then it will become like a thick goo or liquid. It is therefore necessary to wash the grains in water at least once a week. Part of the grains can always be stored in the freezer as reserve and the remaining surplus can given to other people who will then produce their own kefir at home. Always remember that the milk kefir grains must be separated from the water kefir grains.
Kefir grains that have turned green, yellowish or brown in colour should not be used as this is a sign that they are no longer fit for consumption.
Is it possible to use the milk kefir to prepare the water kefir?
Yes. However, the process is not as simple and chances are it may not be successful. Therefore, it is recommended not to use all the milk kefir grains but only utilize a portion of it.
To do this process, it is first recommended that the milk kefir should be active and it is necessary to rehydrate it before converting the milk kefir to water kefir. The following steps should thereafter be followed:
- Dissolve 1/4 cup of brown sugar in 1 liter of water and add 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
- Add the kefir grains of activated milk in the water solution with sugar and leave it to ferment for 5 days at room temperature
- Remove the kefir grains, re-prepare the water with sugar and put back into the new solution, leaving it to ferment at room temperature for about 12 to 24 hours less than the previous time
- You should repeat the previous step and decrease the preparation time by 12 to 24 hours between each time, until the cultivation period is 48 or less
At this point the grains will be converted to water kefir and they should be allowed to further ferment for another 24 to 48 hours.
After fermentation, the water kefir can be mixed with fruit juices, teas, ginger and dried or fresh fruits so as to enhance the taste. Fermentation will make the drink slightly carbonated and therefore it will be possible to taste and create homemade soda.
Contraindications and side effects
Kefir should not be used by people who have cancer of the gastrointestinal system. It should not also be consumed two hours before and after taking medicines that contain bifosphate, fluoride or tetracyclines. This will prevent it from interfering with the absorption of the drug into the body. Fermentation of kefir leads to formation of alcohol in small percentages and therefore it can have harmful effects to those that have liver diseases.
Excessive consumption of kefir can also cause other problems such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea. It is therefore recommended not to consume more than 1 cup of kefir per day.