My Love Affair with Kefir

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Food, Health & Digest | 11 Comments

Kefir

What is Kefir??

Kefir comes in 2 forms, milk or water kefir.  I love thicker, creamier food and drinks, thus my love affair is with milk Kefir; a super probiotic, tangy, thick and creamy yogurt/drink.

Eating Kefir can be of benefit to your body in many ways:

  • Helps to optimise good digestion
  • Regulate bowel movements
  • Highten immunity
  • Help balance the guts in dysbiosis (imbalence between the good and bad bacteria in the gut)

Kefir sours more the longer you leave it to ferment for, this is due to the grains constantly breaking down the lactose (milk sugars which act as their food) and producing beneficial bacteria as a  byproduct (which also means kefir safe for lactose intolerant people to use!).

The beneficial bacteria you get in standard yogurt are ‘transient bacteria’, that is, they pass through your guts and don’t stay around long to help, thus adding a very short burst of goodness that then transits out of your digestive system with your poop.  However, the bacteria in kefir actually colonise in the digestive tract and thus can help out your digestion more substantially and for longer periods of time.

Making it at home means I can choose what milk to make it with and it’s a lot cheaper than buying it in a shop; also this means it can be fermented it for as long as or as little as intended to make it more sweet, sour, thick or thin!

 

What milks can it be made with?

The best milk is organic cows milk, organic as it tastes much better in creaminess and cow ethics.  Skimmed to full fat are all fine, depends on how thick you like it (skimmed is more like a drink, full fat is more like a yogurt)..  I’ve also successfully used goat milk; or sweetened organic soya milk and coconut milk also works for short intervals (animal milks seem to make the grains happiest in the long term though).

 

How is it made?

The Kefir yogurt is made using Kefir grains/mushrooms placed into milk.  After a day or so the yogurt is ready to be strained from the grains using a plastic sieve, and it’s ready to use immediately (add fruits and honey or cocoa if you find it’s a bit too tangy at first).

 

Why I love it:

1) It’s easily digested.  Kefir also generally contains more than 50 beneficial strains of bacteria*.

2) I get to use organic cows milk!  I always loved dairy growing up but later developed lactose intolerance, BUT in this form I can again enjoy dairy (Kefir grains use the milk sugar (Lactose) as their food substrate, thus it is broken down before coming into your digestive system).

3) It’s a cost effective health product.  Even using organic milk, £1.00 – £1.40 for 2 pints is enough to last me 1 week.

4) You can use it to make some great sweet and sour recipes, including lactose free cheese!

 

*Bacteria

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Lactobacillus brevis

Lactobacillus casei

Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus

Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii

Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis

Lactobacillus helveticus

Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens

Lactobacillus kefiri

Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei

Lactobacillus plantarum

Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Lactobacillus sake

Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris

Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis

Lactococcus lactis

Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris

Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum

Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides

Pseudomonas

Pseudomonas fluorescens

Pseudomonas putida

Streptococcus thermophilus 

Yeasts

Candida humilis

Kazachstania unispora

Kazachstania exigua

Kazachstania exigua

Kluyveromyces siamensis

Kluyveromyces lactis

Kluyveromyces marxianus

Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Saccharomyces martiniae

Saccharomyces unisporus

 

 

Resources

http://ntur.lib.ntu.edu.tw/bitstream/246246/177589/1/04.pdf

http://depa.fquim.unam.mx/amyd/archivero/Kefir_1_12695.pdf

http://www.nourishkefir.co.uk/index.php?pgid=57

http://www.hhinter.net/customer_upload/16/F8.pdf

11 Comments

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