10 Kefir health benefits you need to know about
What is kefir? Originally from the north Caucasus Mountains, kefir is a fermented milk product, a little like yoghurt, and it is sometimes called the Champaign of milk, because it has and effervescence that makes it taste fizzy. It is made by first heating milk, to eliminate any unwanted bacteria, and then adding a mixture of yeast and bacteria, which begins the fermentation process. This process of fermentation turns the lactose of the milk into lactic acid, which gives it a zesty flavor and it also creates a very small amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide, which gives it the fizz. Use of the drink for its health benefits is believed to date back over a thousand years. The people of the Caucasus Mountains, where they drink a lot of kefir, are said to live very long and healthy lives. There may be some truth in this and here are ten of the kefir health benefits that might account for this longevity:
1. Kefir is a good source of vitamin B
We need Vitamin B to maintain the proper functioning of many parts of our bodies. Vitamin B promotes healthy skin, aids the nervous system and improves the digestion, and kefir is a rich and natural source of B vitamins.
2. It has has anti-stress properties and helps keep your nervous system healthy
Kefir contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is one of the essential building blocks required by the body to produce proteins, which help your body to maintain a healthy nervous system.
3. Trillions of good micro-organisms in one cup
Kefir is a good source of probiotics. The fermented milk is a very good and inexpensive way to top up the good bacteria in your gut. A single cup of kefir contains over 2 trillion good micro-organisms and that’s a lot of the tiny, little ‘bugs’ that do you good in one drink!
4. It works as a mild laxative and normalizes metabolism
Better metabolism is another health benefit of kefir. This property might not be the one that explains the long lives of the people who drink kefir, but, it is useful one to know about. Drinking kefir after a meal helps to improve the digestive system and it will keep your bowel movements regular.
5. Reduces Cholesterol
There is good cholesterol and there is bad cholesterol. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein and this is what can clog up your arteries and cause cardiovascular problems. Kefir is one of the foods that will actively reduce the LDL cholesterol in your blood and so, it can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
6. It is more easily digested, than regular milk
The fermentation of the milk into kefir keeps all the goodness of the vitamins and minerals, but makes it far easier to digest and, as the lactose is converted into lactic acid, it may be drunk by people who have trouble digesting lactose.
7. It is believed to slow the aging process
Kefir health benefits include anti-aging. It is not only the people of the Caucasus Mountains who believe that kefir can prolong your life, renowned scientists have held this view too. Over one hundred years ago, eminent scientist and Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff, researched the benefits of drinking kefir and published many papers on this subject.
8. It strengthens the immune system and speeds up healing processes
Stronger immune system is another one of kefir health benefits. Kefir has many anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which can help to ward off diseases and fight infection. It promotes your body’s own natural defenses and will help to protect you from catching coughs and colds.
9. Rich in antioxidants, kefir can help detoxify the body
Kefir health benefits also include body detox. One of the reasons for kefir’s reputation as an anti-aging drink may be the high levels of anti-oxidants that it contains. As you get older, the tissues in your body suffer from oxidation, which can damage cells and cause the signs of aging; but drinking and eating foods that are high in antioxidants, like kefir, can slow this process and help you look younger for longer.
10. A good source of minerals and vitamins, kefir can boost your energy levels
Kefir is a good all-rounder and can provide you with many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. It’s a good source of calcium and magnesium, for strong bones and teeth and provides you with vitamins A, B2 and K, as well as all those healthy probiotics.
Do you like drinking kefir? What other kefir health benefits did we forget to mention? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Stay happy and healthy!