(Health Secrets) Just about every culture in the world endorses a fermented food or drink for its health benefits, and has done so for centuries. Kefir is often at the top of the list. It’s a creamy drinkable yogurt-style fermented milk that in its unsweetened and unflavored state resembles buttermilk in taste and consistency. Kefir is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains composed of bacteria that produce lactic acid, and yeast and polysaccharides. Here are 14 reasons to drink kefir.
Kefir is famous for its probiotic friendly bacteria and yeast which can completely recolonize the intestinal tract after antibiotic use. There are many reasons to consume this age-old beverage.
A large variety of potential benefits from probiotics have been reported by researchers, including improvement in intestinal tract health, enhancing the immune system, decreasing the prevalence of allergy in those who are susceptible, reducing risk of certain cancers, treating colitis, lowering serum cholesterol concentrations, reducing blood pressure in hypertensives, and improving female urogenital infections.
Kefir is better than probiotic pills because one capsule of man-made probiotics usually contains about 15 million beneficial bacteria. In comparison, one small glass of fresh kefir contains about 1.5 trillion beneficial bacteria. In probiotics, it’s all about the numbers!
Probably the worst thing that can happen to ruin the happy harmony we have with our beneficial bacteria is to take antibiotics. These kill off indiscriminately, killing the good bacteria along with the bad. Since our beneficial bacteria help keep us safe from infections and maybe even cancer, this is a big problem. When friendly bacteria have been wiped out, digestive misery is one of the usual unhappy results. Restoring optimal levels of friendly bacteria can return the body to homeostasis.
Other threats to beneficial bacteria include pesticides in food, chlorine and chloroforms in water, environmental pollution, and even the use of colloidal silver and honey.
Kefir contains certain beneficial bacteria that are not available in yogurt, including Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, Streptococcus species, Saccharomyces kefir, and Torula kefir.
Kefir is loaded with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and a broad spectrum of amino acids, the building blocks of protein that support optimal body functioning. Kefir is an excellent source of trytophan, the amino acid that has a profoundly calming effect on the nervous system and promotes sound sleep. Kefir is rich in B vitamins, particularly B1, B12, and biotin, a coenzyme that helps metabolize carbohydrates as energy rather than being stored as fat. These vitamins help regulate the kidneys, liver and nervous system and relieve skin disorders.
Kefir is a potent detoxifier, producing substances that inhibit or eradicate harmful bacteria like salmonella and H. Pylori, the bacteria that powers most gastric ulcers.
Recent research showed that kefir was able to kill colon cancer cells and stop their spread. This research was done with cell lines.
The starter for kefir, kefir ‘grains’, produces a polysaccharide known as kefiran. Research from Japan has found that when rats with tumors were fed kefiran, they displayed reduction in tumor size. Regular eating of these grains can lower blood pressure, and control blood glucose levels. The grains may be effective against Crohn’s disease, inflammation, autism, and Candida albicans.
Kefir is not a drug or a supplement. It is simply good food, so there is nothing to fear. Bottled kefir is sold in the dairy case in many grocery stores, and it comes in plain as well as flavored and sweetened varieties. Beneficial bacteria love sugar!
Kefir can be made at home with any kind of milk you choose, including coconut, almond and goat’s milk. The starter is widely available online. It can also be made with water, and though the taste may not as pleasing, water kefir contains all of kefir’s benefits.
Kefir can be consumed by the lactose intolerant, because the fermentation process produces the enzyme lactase.
Kefir is for everyone – even infants and the infirm.