What is kefir yogurt?
Kefir yogurt is a fermented drink made by adding kefir grains to milk, and then letting it ferment for a period of time, from one day to several days. During this time bacteria and yeasts in the kefir grains turn the sugars in milk into lactic acid, which gives it a sour taste. Kefir is available in a wide variety of flavors, like vanilla, blueberry, and strawberry at most supermarkets or health food stores like whole foods. In addition, you can prepare it at home.
Kefir nutrition information:
A serving (250ml) of whole milk kefir contains:
145 k Cal
9 g protein
5 g fat
11 g carbs
333 mg calcium ( 24% of the daily value)
7 mcg vitamin B12 (29% DV)
28 mg magnesium (7% DV)
383 mg potassium (8% DV)
5 mg vitamin D (25% DV)
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin (25% DV)
In addition to the benefits of milk (rich in calcium and protein ), kefir contains the benefits of probiotics , which are friendly bacteria that greatly improve digestion and metabolism.
For people who follow a dairy-free diet, an important alternative to milk kefir is water kefir. Although it does not contain the nutrients found in milk, it is an important alternative source of probiotics.
It is made in a similar way to kefir milk using a special kind of kefir grains. These grains are placed in sweetened water or juices, and they will not work if they are placed in milk or milk products.
What are the benefits of kefir ?
Speaking about kefir, it is necessary to highlight the most important results of researches on its benefits.
The bacteria in kefir seem to have an anti-inflammatory action, as probiotics have been shown , in some studies, to have immunostimulating and anti-inflammatory effects, especially in diseases of an inflammatory nature such as IBD and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Kefir contains a large amount of probiotics, as we said earlier, that help restore balance in the intestine, so some people found that kefir helped to improve their digestion due to this continent of probiotics. The fermentation process also help in breaking down the lactose present in milk, and thus, kefir becomes a good alternative to milk for people suffer from lactose intolerance. Paying attention to the fact that kefir milk worsens symptoms ( as a fermented food) in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) , so if you have any of these diseases you should consult with a GP or dietitian before eating these products.
Helping with weight loss
There is no dispute that fermented milk products are included in diets intended for weight loss , but the role of kefir in weight loss is different. Obesity has been linked to an imbalance of gut bacteria, and because kefir is rich in these bacteria, it has been linked to changes in weight. But more robust evidence is needed before recommendation can be made. However, there is other evidence says that probiotics do not reduce body weight and do not affect body mass index (BMI), so more researches must be conducted in this area to reach reliable results.
Promote bone health
As any dairy product, traditional kefir made from cow’s milk is a good source of calcium and vitamins which are important for bone health to prevent osteoporosis and fractures.
The prebiotics in fermented dairy products are believed to reduce tumor growth by stimulating your immune system. So it is possible that kefir may fight cancer. One study found that kefir extract reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by 56% compared to only 14% for yogurt users. read more about kefir and breast cancer
May reduce allergy and asthma
Studies on laboratory animals found that kefir suppresses the inflammatory response due to allergies or asthma (especially in people who have a highly sensitive immune system), as these allergic reactions occur in the presence of inflammatory responses against certain foods and substances.
It is believed that some types of bacteria present in kefir have protective properties against infection, including the probiotics lactobacillus kefiri. Studies have shown that this species can inhibit the growth of many harmful bacteria including Pylori, E.Coli and Salmonella. Furthermore, some carbohydrates in kefir may have anti-bacterial properties.
Blood sugar control
A small 2015 study in Iran compared the effects of consuming kefir and conventionally fermented milk on blood sugar level in people with diabetes. A lower fasting blood sugar level observed in kefir users than in fermented milk users. A 2020 review has suggested numerous benefits of kefir for diabetes and obesity. But we need more studied to support this result.
Reduce cholesterol level
The probiotics in kefir may play a role in how much cholesterol the body absorbs from food. They may also affect how the body produces, processes, and uses cholesterol.
A 2017 study to obese and overweight females showed a lower cholesterol level when consuming kefir compared to low-fat milk.
How much kefir yogurt should I consume?
It is recommended to consume one to two 8-ounce servings of kefir daily for maximum probiotic health.