Kefir – The Miracle Milk Your Body Will Thank You For January 11 2014 by Simone Denny

When researching probiotics I once read that Kefir is like yogurt on steroids. Intrigued by this claim I wanted to know more about this miracle milk! Kefir contains numerous strains of healthy bacteria, making it an excellent probiotic, beneficial for gut health. It also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, and is a good source of protein.

So what is Kefir? 
Kerfir is a fermented milk product made from kefir grains (which are combination of bacteria and yeast). Kefir is similar to yogurt but comes in a more drinkable form, with a slightly sour tangy taste.
The name Kefir comes from the Turkish word ‘Keif’ meaning ‘good feeling’. Kefir originates from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe and cultivation dates back to around 3000 BC.

Health benefits of Kefir

  • Contains bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to maintaining healthy intestinal flora
  • People with lactose intolerance can tolerate kefir (there is very little lactose in kefir due to the fermentation process).
  • Contains vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and folic acid
  • Is a good source of Calcium
  • Can help to regulate metabolism through improved digestion
  • Helps to boost the immune system – kefirs probiotic properties help ward off the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Is a good source of protein – a single serving of kefir contains 10.5 grams of protein.

How to incorporate Kefir into your diet
One of the benefits of Kefir is that you can make your own and unlike some yogurts there is no hidden sugar or preservatives. All you need are some Kefir grainsand milk (I have also heard of people making it with coconut milk). For those who are dairy intolerant there are some water kefir grains on the market.
You can add Kefir to your smoothies in place of yogurt or have kefir with fruit, or drink it as is. See the Plum Blueberry and Kefir Smoothie below.
Directions to make Natures Goodness Kefir
Stir contents of 1x Kefir sachet into 1L of milk. Leave for 24-36h at 20C or until the Kefir starts to settle, then place in fridge for 12h. The Kefir is ready to drink when it has a smooth consistency, similar to thin yoghurt. Collect half a glass of Kefir - this can be used for the subsequent addition of 1L of milk. Repeat up to another 3 times to make 5L Kefir total.
Kifir Grains are available on the Nourishing Hub - click here
While in New Zealand I noticed Kefir Yogurt was available in the supermarket. I sampled the ‘Straight Up Kefir’ brand and it was delicious. I highly recommend it.
Plum, Blueberry and Kefir Smoothie
I have been making the most of the plums in season lately, putting them in smoothies whenever I can. This is a delicious smoothie full of immunity boosters and an excellent way to include probiotics into your diet.