Kefir is a fermented, cultured milk drink that originated in the mountainous areas between Europe and Asia. It is a dairy product that is very similar to yogurt, however it has a much thinner consistency. This is one reason why it is considered a drink and not a food. It is also believed that by consuming the milk drink on a regular basis, people experience several health benefits.
Kefir has a very sour and tart taste, and it also fizzy. The fizziness is due to the carbon dioxide that is in the drink. Carbon dioxide is the result of fermentation. The amount of time it takes for the milk drink to ferment will determine how it tastes. The drink is a very good source of probiotic bacteria and calcium. If you want to learn more, you can visit this site.
How Is Kefir Made?
The one thing that separates yogurt from kefir is the process in which they are made. Regular milk kefir contains cow’s milk and kefir grains. However, there are some types of kefir that contain coconut milk, sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. There are also versions of the drink that contain soymilk and rice milk alternatives.
Kefir grains are not really graining. Instead, they are tiny gelatinous beads that look very similar to grains and they contain a wide range of yeasts and bacteria.
These grains are placed inside of a bowl or glass jar and they are soaked in milk at room temperature for at least 24 hours. By being covered inside of the container and soaked in milk at room temperature, the yeast and the bacteria can ferment the lactose in the milk and change it into lactic acid. As a result, the bacteria is activated and can grow and proliferate.
After 24 hours, the kefir grains are strained and they are placed in a new container of milk, and the process starts over again. This cycle can continue indefinitely. Once the kefir is strained, it is ready to be consumed.
Can Anyone Make Kefir at Home?
Because kefir is a product made by the process of fermentation, there are very strict guidelines in place to ensure that any kefir made at home can be safely consumed. If it is not made correctly, it has the potential to cause severe illness.
This means that if you want to ferment at home, you will need to closely follow the instructions in the recipe you are using. Incorrect fermentation times, wrong temperatures and unclean equipment can cause the milk to spoil, and it will be unsafe to drink.
So, with that said, what are the health benefits of consuming kefir?
There are some people who discover that regularly consuming kefir helps to improve their digestion. This most likely occurs due to the high probiotic content in kefir.
Probiotics may have the ability to restore balance in the gut flora, and as a result, digestion improves.
The fermentation process may also help break down the lactose that is found in milk. There is slight evidence that suggests people who are lactose intolerant may be able to tolerate kefir. However, it is important to speak with your doctor if you suspect you may a lactose intolerance.
In addition, those who have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) should also speak with their physician or a dietitian before consuming fermented food because symptoms can worsen in some cases.
Studies have shown that there is a link between an imbalance in gut flora and obesity. However, the specific strains of bacteria that have an effect has not been made clear. There is some evidence that suggest it is the lactobacillus species, otherwise known as the LAB species.
This is the same group of bacteria that is found in kefir and is associated with weight changes. There needs to be more robust evidence presented before recommendations can be suggested.
It is important to note that there are other studies that have provided evidence that contradicts the previously mentioned findings. This suggests that probiotics do not affect BMI/weight loss or a decrease in overall body weight.
There are several diseases that can be directly linked to inflammation. Some of these diseases are rheumatoid arthritis and IBD. Some studies have reported the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects found in probiotics, but this is a still emerging subject of research.
However, LAB bacteria have shown anti-inflammatory properties, but it is still unknown if these properties can be directly translated to kefir.
Regular kefir that is made from whole cow’s milk is an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium and other nutrients that are essential for good bone health.
As a person gets older, their bones become weaker and this can increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. This is especially true for post-menopausal women.
Kefir is a milk drink that contains beneficial probiotics that can improve gut health and alleviate other health ailments. Those who have weakened immune systems or an intolerance to histamine should speak with their doctor before introducing fermented foods into their diet.