It is a fermented beverage produced from “grains”. However, the grains used for the manufacturing of kefir are not grown from the plants. The grains consist of yeasts and bacteria. The grains are small, translucent, white in color and jelly-like orbs.
TYPES OF KEFIR:-
It is the kind that is well-known and widely used and easily available. Milk kefir is prepared from the goat’s milk, cow’s milk or the sheep’s milk. Milk kefir is prepared using a starter culture, which is what allows the probiotics to form. All probiotic-rich beverages use a kit of “live” active yeast, which is required for culturing the bacteria.
After fermentation, the milk kefir possesses a tart taste similar to the taste of the Greek Yogurt. The strength of the taste depends on how long the kefir was fermented.
Milk kefir is not sweet, but flavors can be added to it and make it more appealing. Kefir is mainly consumed by people in flavors such as plain, vanilla and berry-like. One can sweeten and flavor the kefir at home by adding pure Honey, Maple syrup, and Vanilla extract. One can also add pureed fruit to the kefir to enhance its nutritional value.
Milk kefir can also be used in several recipes and it makes a great base for soups, buttermilk, sour cream, heavy cream, and yogurt.
It is prepared using coconut milk or coconut water. Coconut milk is obtained directly from coconuts and is prepared by blending coconut “meat” (the white and thick part of the coconut) mixed with water, and then straining out the pulp and a milky liquid is obtained. The water is the clear liquid found in the coconuts naturally.
Coconut water and milk are the best base for creating fermented kefir because they naturally contain carbohydrates as well as sugars, which are required by the yeast during fermentation to form a healthy bacteria.
Coconut kefir also contains a live active yeast and bacteria that combine together to prepare a starter culture. It becomes tartar and carbonated after fermentation, and is sweeter and less strongly flavored than the milk kefir.
It contains a more subtle taste and a lighter texture than the milk kefir, and it’s normally prepared using sugary water or fruit juice. Water kefir can also be flavored at home and can be consumed in the place of aerated soda drinks and processed juices.
Add the water kefir to smoothies, desserts, oatmeal, and salad dressing. Try having the water kefir with fresh-squeezed lime juice, mint, or cucumber to flavor the water kefir naturally. One can also prepare a soda by combining water kefir with some club soda or seltzer for a sugar-free carbonated drink.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF KEFIR:-
Kefir contains most of the nutrition a human body needs. They are:-
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin K-2
A single cup of milk kefir contains:-
- 160 calories
- 12 gms carbohydrates
- 10 gms protein
- 8 gms fat
- 300 mg calcium
- 100 IU Vitamin D
- 500 IU Vitamin A
The useful and beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in kefir are:-
- Kluyveromyces marxianus
- Lactococcus Lactis
- Streptococcus Thermophilus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii
- Kazachstania unispora
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides
- Saccharomyces unisporus
KEFIR HEALTH BENEFITS:-
Probiotics are the microorganisms that help improve the human health. They also help improve digestion and smooth bowel movements.
Other health benefits include:-
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced risk of allergies
- Boost the immune system
- Improved skin condition
- Lowered blood pressure
- Weight management
It contains more than 40 strains of bacteria, which is way more than yogurt. The yeasts also provide amino acids and vitamins.
Colonize the Gut
The kefir’s milk base help reduces the acid content in the stomach and allows the useful bacteria to be transferred into the large intestine.
Soothe the Digestive System
It helps treats and cures diarrhea. Certain factors, such as intake of antibiotics, make it harder for the immune system to fight pathogens. Probiotics restore the balance of the flora and healthy mucosa in the gut that soothes digestion. The yeasts present in kefir reduce diarrhea caused due to bacteria, antibiotics, and IRB (irritable bowel syndrome).
The probiotics also cures:-
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Digestive problems caused due to H. pylori
Protect Against Infection
Antibiotics wipe out the infection-causing bacteria and the beneficial bacteria as well. This can cause an imbalance of the bacteria present in the gut and can lead to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria and yeasts.
Lactobacillus kefiri, a bacteria present in Kefir help the body fight infection. This bacteria slows the growth of harmful pathogens, such as Helicobacter Pylori, Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning.
Improve the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
The kefir grains “eat” up the lactose present in milk and convert it to lactic acid. This results in a lactose-free milk. The enzymes present in kefir help the body process the sugars in milk.
Protection from Cancer
Probiotics present in Kefir slow the enzymes that convert compounds into carcinogens. It also acts as an antioxidant and also protects the immune system. It protects and prevents the body from colorectal cancer, by increasing the destruction of cancerous cells. Kefir extract is much more effective in lowering the number of breast cancer cells.
Preparation of kefir with a full-fat whole milk, increase the amount of vitamin K consumption and provides strength to the bones. It improves bone mass and structure in the postmenopausal women. It also boosts up the body’s calcium uptake.
Improve Symptoms of Allergies & Asthma
It reduces the inflammation caused due to allergies and asthma. It suppresses the inflammatory markers of interleukin-4, T-helper cells, and IgE immunoglobulins. This causing an anti-inflammatory effect.
How to use Kefir for Weight Loss
The bacteria present in kefir are very useful for shedding weight. These bacteria act as:-
- Lactobacillus gasseri increases the size of the fat molecules, thus the person absorbs less fat from the meals. It helps reduce weight, BMI, abdominal fat, waist and hip circumferences.
- Lactobacillus paracasei increases the levels of circulating ANGPTL-4, a protein serum hormone that regulates the fat burning. Thus, the fat storage is decreased.
- Lactobacillus amylovorus and Lactobacillus fermentum, reduce the body fat by around 6% in 3-4 weeks.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus helps the body release an obesity hormone known as leptin.
Fermented food prevents the growth of disease-causing bacteria. It does not kill bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Whereas the bread prepared by the use of kefir instead of yeast stay fresh for a longer time.
Detoxifies the Body
It is used to detoxify the body and is mainly effective against aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are toxins that are present in the food. These are spread through the mold and contaminate groundnuts. They also contaminate grains like corn, wheat, and vegetable oils like cottonseed, soybean, and canola oil. The lactic acid bacteria present in it enable it to bind to aflatoxins which promote their killing.
Used in Cosmetics
The lactic acid present in it inhibits the growth of bacteria which leads to acne while the lactic acid, peptides, and whey present in it help lighten the skin. It helps reduce birthmarks, moles, and lentigo spots and also cure vitiligo.
Speeds up Healing
It possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that promote wound healing.
Treat Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
The problematic symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment. It helps cures and treats these symptoms because of the presence of high tryptophan content in it.
Improve Cognitive Function and Reverse Dementia
It helps reduce the problems with cognitive function linked to nicotine withdrawal. It also contains alkali-stable lipids (ASL) which reverse the cognitive decline due to dementia.
Milk kefir is rich in antioxidants and thus prevents mutagenic and oxidative damage in the body. This prevents age-related diseases like cancer or dementia, and might also extend the lifespan.
HOW TO MAKE KEFIR AT HOME/KEFIR RECIPES:-
Goat’s milk is one of the best ways to prepare kefir at home. This milk is naturally homogenized and also contains less amount of casein as compared to cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is easier to digest even before fermentation begins. To prepare goat milk kefir then follow these steps:-
- Place the grains in a glass jar and add 2 cups of milk and 2 tbsp of grains.
- Mix them properly and thoroughly.
- Now cover the jar with a filter cloth, and secure it with a rubber band.
- Do not place the jar in direct light and only at room temperature.
- Leave it to ferment for around 1–3 days depending upon the level of fermentation and sourness a person prefers.
- Strain the kefir by using a plastic strainer, separating the kefir into a cup or a container. Immediately place the grains into a new batch of milk.
Homemade Kefir Recipe:-