Kefir is the latest probiotic-packed drink to cause a stir in the health world. Recently popular in the West, kefir has been drunk in the Caucasus region for hundreds of years. The first drinkers of kefir, the mountain shepherds of the Caucasus, believed that the Prophet Mohammed gave them the bacterial cultures that make kefir as a gift.1
People have considered kefir to be curative for its entire history. In Soviet Russian hospitals, kefir was considered a treatment for digestive disorders, cancer, and tuberculosis.2
Although kefir’s healing powers might not be that potent, they’re still considerable. Kefir is jam-packed with probiotics and essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamin B12, niacin, and folate.3
In this article, we’ll explain what kefir is, what it’s suitable for, how kefir can support you in your weight loss goals, and how to make kefir at home.
What is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a tangy taste, slightly fizzy, and 1% alcohol content. Milk is fermented with kefir ‘grains’, gelatinous bacterial cultures which contain as many as 61 probiotic bacteria and yeasts.4 The high probiotic content promotes digestive health.5
What is kefir good for?
Kefir can help support you in a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few of kefir’s benefits:
High probiotic content
Scientific studies have connected the high probiotic content of kefir to a wide range of health benefits. These include better cholesterol, a healthy immune system, enhanced wound healing, and fewer instances of cancer.6
Kefir’s high probiotic content helps to combat the adverse effects of harmful bacteria, including Salmonella and E. Coli.7
Promotes bone health
Osteoporosis and bone fractures pose a greater risk as we age. However, kefir shows promise in promoting bone density and enhancing bone health, encouraging resilience against osteoporosis and fractures.8
Kefir for weight loss
Probiotic food and drink encourage health by increasing healthy gut flora, which is linked to better health outcomes, including a lower instance of age-related disease9.
As well as promoting good health, scientific studies also show probiotics are likely to promote weight loss.10
Adults on a high-fat diet who consume a lot of probiotics are less likely to put on weight than those on the same diet who don’t. People who consume probiotics while trying to lose weight may be more successful.11
However, kefir is relatively calorific for a drink and contains approximately 168 calories per 240ml serving.12 The calorie content is higher than that of kombucha, another fermented drink with a probiotic content that’s made from tea. A 240ml serving of kombucha contains approximately 45.6 calories.13
How to make kefir
Here’s our step-by-step guide to make kefir:
- Place fresh kefir ‘grains’ (the bacterial culture) in a jar with a glass of milk – one spoon of ‘grains’ works per one glass.
- Cover the jar with a muslin cloth and leave it to rest at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Pour the drink through a sieve to catch the ‘grains’ and refrigerate the liquid.
- Once cooled, enjoy a cold and healthful glass of kefir.
- Place the ‘grains’ from the sieve in another glass of milk and begin the process again!
Last updated: 16 March 2021