NUTRITION

The Health Benefits of Kefir

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
 | 
October 18, 2017

Scientists are documenting the health benefits of Kefir, a fermented drink dating back centuries in the Caucasian mountains. Learn more.

We’ve all heard plenty about yogurt. However, kefir, another fermented product, may be the better choice if you’re hoping to improve your digestion. It is tarter than yogurt, and as a drink may be slightly alcoholic and carbonated. The name comes from the Turkish word “keyif,” which means “feeling good.”

 

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The health benefits of kefir

In general, probiotic foods can help people with digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome. Compared to yogurt, kefir contains more probiotics — beneficial bacteria for the gut — and also beneficial yeasts that aren’t in yogurt.

If you have mild lactose intolerance, you may be able to tolerate kefir made from cow’s milk, because the kefir breaks down lactose — however, you can also try kefir made from a lactose-free liquid. Like yogurt, kefir can be made with milk from goats, sheep, and buffalos as well as cows, soy, and other nut milks and coconut water.

The health benefits of kefir that you buy in a supermarket will vary from one product to another. But we are learning more and more about the ways that traditional kefir seems to change the balance of microbes in the intestine s— known as the microbiome — and favor healthy digestion and immunity.

Animal and test-tube research has found that kefir can help fight harmful bacteria in the intestines, including giardia, salmonella, and e. Coli. Many bacteria and yeasts in kefir may be at work. It is known that lactobacillus kefir, which is unique to kefir, works against the growth of some harmful bacteria.

 

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Updated:  

October 18, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN