Like all of you, I had a lot of spare time during lockdown. After a life time of running from pillar to post trying to accomplish all my goals and make a life for myself, I suddenly found myself locked up in my house with not much to do!
This led me on a journey of deep soul searching and trying to do things different to what I’d done before. I will share in other blog posts some things I got up to during lockdown which have changed my life completely. Today however, I will share one particular change I made that trumped all others, as it related to my health (something I’d always taken for granted)
I chose this topic because while it is related to health, I actually found a ton of physical benefits which helped me feel so much better about my body, which as I always say, leads to self-confidence which leads to making better choices for ourselves. After embarking on this routine, I found my skin started glowing (literally), my hair became thicker and stopped falling, I lost weight, my nails became harder, my energy levels went up, all without having to take any supplements!
With all the health advice out there regarding building up our immunity, I felt this one change had the combined effect of all the medication I’d ever taken! (not that I take any!) I can honestly say (hand on my heart) that I feel absolutely amazing in my mind, body and spirit after introducing KEFIR and other FERMENTED PRODUCTS into my diet over the last 2 years. Side note: This is not health advice, but just what worked for me. While the blog is quite technical, the benefits of kefir are simple!
Here is a short history and some subsequent health benefits I experienced. So here goes…
What is Kefir?
Think of plain Greek yogurt, that is faintly sour, ultra-creamy, and crammed with all kinds of stomach-friendly probiotics! That is Kefir!
It is a thick, fermented milk drink with a ton of benefits.
Currently, it is getting all the hype in the natural health community because it is very beneficial for digestion, immunity and gut health, which are all the buzz words in the era of Covid.
Kefir has its roots in the mountains of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. The name originates from Turkey, from the word "keyif", which translates to “feeling good” after eating.
What are the Health Benefits of Kefir?
This drink should soon become a staple in your kitchen and here’s why!
Kefir May Promote Weight Loss
A lot of people are looking to get rid of a couple of pounds to find into that favourite dress, but the gym is too stressful for them. Kefir is a solution to that, as being overweight has been associated with an imbalance of bacteria in our gut.
Research shows that the lactobacillus species, or LAB group, which are commonly found in kefir, assists in weight loss.
Kefir Can Improve Bone Health and Lower the Risk of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is characterized by deterioration of bone tissue and it is a major problem in Western countries, especially amongst older women. It is a health condition that brings about weakness in bones, making them fragile and prone to fracture. However, this can be prevented through sufficient Calcium intake, which simultaneously improves bone health.
81%! That's how much reduction you get in your risk of fractures, after taking Kefir regularly. Vitamin K2. K2 plays a vital role in Calcium metabolism, and is abundant, alongside Calcium in full-fat Kefir.
Recent studies in animals also associate an increased calcium absorption in bone cells to Kefir. This improves the bone density, and as a result, prevents fractures.
Milk Kefir made from cow or goat milk, contains nutrients with major health benefits for bones.
Kefir May Be Protective Against Cancer
Cancer is currently one of the world’s leading health hazards. Although there are no current studies in humans, some laboratory tests and researches on animals stipulate that Kefir can impede growth in cancer cells.
Fermented dairy products are believed to contain probiotics that diminish tumour growth through invigoration of the immune system. Therefore, it is possible that Kefir could fight against cancer.
This protective role has been illustrated in several test-tube studies. Results from such research illustrated that Kefir extract reduced the number of cancer cells in human breast by 58%, compared to only 14% for yogurt extract.
It Gives The Skin a Youthful Glow + Coordinated Bowel Movements.
Probiotics are known to treat several forms of diarrhea. They can lead to improvements in various digestive diseases, and also help restore the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut.
Multiple researches indicate that probiotics and probiotic foods can reduce many digestive problems. These include ulcers caused by H. pylori infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), amongst many others. Owing to this factor, Kefir could be instrumental in solving problems with digestion.
Since probiotics aid digestion, they automatically increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals – which leaves the effect of youthful glow on your skin and reduces the effects of stress.
Kefir Is an Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals,
Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow’s milk or goat’s milk which is a rich source of calcium, protein and B vitamins.
It is a product of Kefir grains and milk. Kefir are not genuinely grains, rather, they are cellular-like, with a rubber-like texture. They are a similitude of SCOBY in Kombucha, but they look more like cauliflower instead of alien pancakes. You cannot grow your own Kefir grains, unlike Kombucha. You have to get them online or at health food stores.
Kefir is produced by the fermentation of sugars present in the milk, and the multiplication of microorganisms in the Kefir grains. These grains are the starter culture that you use to produce the beverage.
The lactic acid bacteria in the grain, turns the lactose in milk into lactic acid, which gives it a slightly sour taste, much like yogurt
In a single 175ml serving of low-fat kefir, we find :
- Over 100 calories,
- 7–8 grams of carbs
- 3–6 grams of fat
- Vitamin B12: 12% of the RDI
- Riboflavin (B2): 10% of the RDI
- Calcium: 10% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 15% of the RDI
- Protein: 4 grams
- A decent amount of vitamin D
It also consists of a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including organic acids and peptides that add to its health benefits.
Although there will be differences in the nutrient profile, people that are lactose intolerant can have their Kefir made with coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids in place of milk.
Kefir Accelerates Hair Growth
Naturally, dairy products prevent excessive hair loss, increase volume and sheen to hair and as well, eliminate split ends.
Kefir contains high volume of B vitamins like calcium, B12, folate, thiamin, biotin, and K2, all of which are primarily important to maintain or achieve healthy hair.
Lactobacillus kefiri, is a unique probiotic found only in kefir. This probiotic has been proven to inhibit the growth of several harmful bacteria, including E. coli, H. pylori and even Salmonella
Kefiran, known for its several antibacterial properties, is also a type of carbohydrate found in Kefir. These probiotics fight against harmful bacteria.
Kefir May Reduce Allergy and Asthma Symptoms
Although there are no firm conclusions, studies conducted on animals suggest that drinking kefir may minimize allergic reactions. In animal specimens, kefir has demonstrated suppression of inflammatory responses connected to allergies and asthma
Allergic reactions occur as a result of over sensitivity of a person's immune system to certain substances. People who fall into this category of immune systems are more susceptible to allergies, which can trigger conditions like asthma.
How to Make Kefir At Home
Once you get around the benefits of Kefir, you are going to want to start using it immediately!
Yes there are ready made kefir bottles in Coles and Woolies, but they are nowhere as effective as making your own at home. And I’m not just saying that. The nutritional difference is pretty significant. Shop bought Kefir in my opinion, is just re-labelled yoghurt drinks, which is a world of difference to home made Kefir.
Making Kefir at home is very simple (take it from someone who is not the best chef in the kitchen!) You can find videos online, but here are a few simple steps.
- Put 1–2 spoons (14g–28g) of kefir grains into a small jar.
- Add 2 cups (500 ml) of milk, preferably organic or even raw. Milk from grass-fed cows is healthiest.
- Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) space at the top of the jar.
- If you prefer it thicker, you can add full-fat cream to your Kefir.
- Cover it for 12–36 hours under room temperature.
Once it starts to look clumpy, your Kefir is ready. Gently filter out the liquid, then the original kefir grains remain. The grains can be put in a new jar with some milk, to start the process all over again.
In a nutshell, Kefir is traditionally made from dairy milk, but not limited to it, a variety of non-dairy options are available.
How Do I get Organic Kefir?
If you are wanting to start on a journey of natural health, making KEFIR is the simplest way. I have teamed up with an amazing natural health company located in Melbourne, Australia who has got me started on this journey.
Click here to be taken to their health store where you will be able to purchase KEFIR grains at a low price. Just Search for DRIED ORGANIC MILK KEFIR GRAINS to get you started on your journey. I will also get a small commission from the purchase.
So… Go on, and make the most of kefir today, and remember that, healthy living is good living!