[By Irma Heuven]
OH, MY GUT.
Let me try to explain, what makes kefir so special and what to do when purchasing Kefir.
In our current life, there are many causes for disturbance of our gut flora/loss of gut bacteria. Just a few of the many causes: Voltage!! antibiotics biotic antacids! Not having a daily task. Constipation Excess alcohol. Sugars refined carbohydrates. Fat and excess animal protein.E numbers. Fructose, E numbers Prolonged Fasting Eating Disorders.Toxins such as pesticides, lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum. Liver pancreatic bile disturbances cause, among other things, the production of digestive enzymes does not go well.
What is kefir?
Like kombucha, kefir is a fermented drink. Fermentation is a way of extending the shelf life of products without chemical additions from factory processes. Before the age of refrigerators, freezers, and chemical shelf life, products are fermented to keep them longer. Fermenting products has been very popular for several years now because of the many health benefits it provides you! This is certainly the case with kefir.
How to produce your own kefir.
Kefir can be made from water or from milk. A bacterial culture of yeasts and micro-organisms is added to the basic ingredient. These look like cauliflower-like granules and actually grow in that shape. They are also called ‘cauliflower or yogurt plants’, although they are of course not plants. The pieces that you use to ferment with are called ‘kefir grains’. There are milk kefir grains and separate water kefir grains During air fermentation and kept for 24-48 hours at an average temperature of 18 degrees. Within this time, the bacteria multiply and feed on the (milk) of the base drink. The sugars are absorbed and converted into various acids by the kefir grains. After removing and sifting the kefir grains, a fresh, slightly sour drink remains; the kefir. The ‘live’ kefir grains can then be used again to make a new amount of kefir. The taste and intensity of the kefir depend on the strength of the kefir grains. This can be done per season and even per region of origin
Where does kefir come from?
The fresh and sour drink milk kefir has its origins in the Middle East and Asia. Subsequently, it became very popular in Russia and Turkey, and Russia was the first to conduct scientific research into its health benefits. The current name is derived from the Turkish word “Keyif” which often means relaxation and pleasure.
What types of kefir exist?
You can make kefir from both water and milk.
Milk kefir is somewhat comparable to a fresh drinking yogurt in which, thanks to fermentation, a little carbon dioxide and a very small amount of alcohol have been formed. Milk kefir can be made with all animal and unsweetened, vegetable milk (coconut, oats, rice milk) together with the milk kefir grains. Thanks to the fermentation process, milk kefir from animal milk contains hardly any lactose, making it a pleasant dairy-like drink for people with lactose sensitivity.
The fermentation principle is the same as milk kefir, only the drink is made on the basis of water with water kefir grains and the end result looks more like a sweet soft drink than a sour yogurt drink. For fermentation, a quantity of sugar or fruit is added to the water. By varying with fruits, like orange, lime, dates, lemon, and possibly herbs, all kinds of tasty flavor variations are created. And it is truly fresh and delicious.
What health benefits does kefir provide?
Fermenting produce has several health benefits. These certainly also apply to kefir and science is already convinced of the beneficial effect. The kefir fermentation grains have a much more extensive bacterial and yeast culture than other fermentation types. This provides a unique kind of probiotic. Several studies indicate that kefir has the following positive effects on your body
1. It is very good for your intestinal flora
The living micro-organisms of kefir form a natural probiotic through fermentation. These probiotics find their way into your gut and stay behind to form our gut flora. The intestinal flora is a collective name for all healthy bacteria present that process our food and convert it into useful nutrients and waste products.
2. Improves bowel function
A result of the restored intestinal flora. This ensures that food is broken down much better and there are fewer problems. The intestines remain clean and function as they should. It has been proven that abdominal complaints are greatly reduced by using kefir. People who suffer from ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ also benefit.
3. It promotes your digestion
Due to the boost that the probiotics give the intestines, the effect is better. This has the additional advantage that fibers can be absorbed better. The flow in the intestines regains a natural balance and the digestion is optimized. As a result, complaints related to gas and/or constipation decrease.
4. It’s good for your immune system
Kefir contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, namely Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Iodine, Vitamin B1/B2/B6/B8/B12/C/D/K2, and a range of enzymes. Thanks in part to the improvement of intestinal function and digestion, these healthy vitamins and minerals are well absorbed again. After all, a healthy body starts with a healthy bowel function
5. It helps lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
Healthy bowel function plays a major role during weight loss. It also ensures the removal of excess moisture and the nutrients are better absorbed. This ensures a healthy metabolism that helps lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Extra positive are the natural acids that occur in kefir. These inhibit the appetite and provide extra absorption of nutrients.
6. It Helps Prevent Infections
The increase in resistance and the protective properties of the probiotics ensure that infections have less of a grip on the body. Research shows that regular use of kefir leads to a decrease in chronic infections
7. It supports the maintenance of healthy bones and helps against osteoporosis
Calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of strong bones. Our body can only optimally absorb calcium in combination with vitamins K2 and D. The wide range of vitamins and minerals in kefir also contain this combination, which is therefore essential for bone formation and to support osteoporosis.
8. It improves mental health
It is strange that a drink can lead to an improvement in brain function, but it is a fact. The various B vitamins, together with vitamins C and D, magnesium, and iron, help in the production of signal substances between the nerve cells. It helps the brain to keep the memory receptors healthy and continues to support the brain in cell renewal.
9.The body recovers faster
Kefir has been proven to be beneficial in the recovery of flu, colds, and diarrhea due to the wide range of nutrients present. It also aids recovery with heavy therapies or treatment such as chemotherapy
10. Kefir helps against allergies and asthma
When you react quickly to food and/or allergens (such as pollen in the air), kefir can provide preventive support. It has an anti-inflammatory effect, making your body less susceptible to the trigger and inflammatory response. Many past studies have been done with animals and in laboratories. More research will be done in the field of cancer and allergy prevention. This is an extremely positive signal, which further indicates how much confidence medical researchers have gained in kefir over the years.
Milk kefir can be used as a healthier alternative to the average drinking yogurt. You can drink a glass daily or use it in a fruit/vegetable smoothie. Keep in mind that there is still a very small amount of lactose present. People who are 100% lactose intolerant can better opt for water kefir that offers the same health benefits. Of course, the carbon dioxide and alcohol that are created during the fermentation process are negligible, but there is a bit of it. Kefir is considered an alcohol-free drink. Water kefir can also be drunk daily and is a super healthy alternative to soft drinks. However, fruit sugars have been added in the fermentation process, which can still be present to a modest extent if, for example, homemade.
When you just start drinking kefir it is advisable to build up slowly. The extended probiotics take some getting used to for our gut and can lead to diarrhea if your gut is sensitive. Start with half a glass a day and build up to a glass a day within a few days.