Kefir is a cultured milk product with various health benefits. Like yogurt, it has pro-biotic bacteria and yeast, which are good for digestion. It also contains lots of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals for superior defense against illnesses.
The word “kefir” is Russian, but probably has its roots in the Turkish word “to froth”. This milk product is widely popular in Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and parts of the Mediterranean. Traditionally, kefirs were made from camel’s milk. But other animals like goats and cows may also be used. Non-dairy alternatives are also available with the use of soy, rice or almond milk.
What makes kefir unique is the gelatin-like components called “grains”. These grains are mixed with milk for fermentation. This whole process of making kefir is made under room temperature and may take 18 hours to complete. But for colder climates, the procedure may take longer. Once the milk thickens after fermentation, the kefir may now be consumed or refrigerated. Kefirs may be consumed as a plain beverage, but it can also be used in baked goods, smoothies, and as flavoring for other food items. Kefir products are also available in stores for people who want to make kefir themselves, and for those who want to add different flavors to it.
Besides the good bacteria and yeast, kefir also contains tryptophan – an essential amino acid known for its calming effect on the body’s nervous system. Kefirs are also rich in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Loaded with these healthy components, kefirs are said to be beneficial to people with indigestion problems, chronic constipation, lactose intolerance, intestinal stomach disease, allergic reactions, and even for control of high cholesterol. Kefir also has benefits to the body’s immune system and has been used to help people with cancer, AIDS, herpes, and chronic fatigue. With its various health benefits, kefir is considered a wonder food supplement for optimum health.