Kefir, an old probiotic beverage, is known for its numerous health benefits. This fermented drink offers a wide range of advantages for both your body and overall well-being. In this article, we will explore seven wonderful benefits of kefir that can have a dramatic and positive impact on your health and life.
Upon resuming my consumption of kefir yogurt at the age of 43, I experienced remarkable improvements in my health. Initially, there is an adaptation period where a microbial battle unfolds within your intestines. However, after a few days, the symptoms gradually vanish, and your digestion stabilizes. Despite being genetically lactose intolerant, I found that consuming approximately 100 ml daily allowed me to increase my intake and reap the benefits, which I have detailed in a separate blog post. Intrigued by the potential advantages of kefir, I delved into extensive research on the subject, exploring the wealth of information available on the internet. Although there are numerous skeptics, there is an abundance of scientific literature on the topic. For your convenience, I will provide a selection of the most compelling sources at the end.
While the internet boasts a plethora of literature that touts almost miraculous achievements through kefir consumption, it is crucial to note that many of these claims lack scientific backing. It is plausible that pharmaceutical companies exhibit limited interest in further scientific exploration. Nevertheless, several studies have been conducted and are accessible. Allow me to provide a concise overview of the seven primary benefits that have garnered significant interest and scrutiny, without disregarding other potential advantages.
1. Improvements to the immune system
Enriched with a multitude of compounds and nutrients like biotin and folate, kefir acts as a formidable ally in fortifying the immune system and safeguarding cells. Its remarkable probiotic content serves as the special forces within the realm of microorganisms. Among them, a kefir-exclusive champion named Lactobacillus Kefiri stands out, tirelessly warding off detrimental bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Working in harmony with other bacterial strains, this probiotic helps regulate the immune system and curbs the growth of predatory bacteria.
Furthermore, kefir harbors an exceptional component known as kefiran—a resilient insoluble polysaccharide not found in any other probiotic beverage. Research has revealed kefiran’s remarkable antimicrobial properties, rendering it an effective combatant against candida. Additionally, kefiran has demonstrated its potential in lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
2. Strengthens the Skeletal System
In today’s world, osteoporosis has emerged as a significant concern for many individuals. Insufficient calcium intake, a vital element for bone health, often leads to a decline in bone density. Fortunately, kefir crafted from full-fat dairy serves as a valuable source of calcium derived from milk.
However, its benefits extend beyond calcium alone. Kefir boasts an array of bioactive compounds that facilitate calcium absorption within the body, effectively preventing bone degeneration. Furthermore, kefir contains a crucial ingredient, vitamin K2, known for its indispensable role in enhancing bone health, density, and calcium absorption. Conversely, a deficiency in vitamin K can contribute to bone-related issues. The probiotics found in kefir further optimize nutrient absorption, while milk itself encompasses a comprehensive spectrum of essential nutrients for improving bone density, including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K2.
3. Combats Cancer
Cancer, a grave epidemic plaguing the world today, necessitates every possible weapon in our fight against it. In this battle, kefir emerges as a formidable ally, capable of playing a vital role in supporting your body’s defense against this disease. The compounds present in this probiotic elixir have shown remarkable abilities in triggering the self-destruction of cancer cells, particularly within the stomach.
The prowess of kefir in combating cancer stems from its profound anticancer properties that operate within the body. It effectively impedes the growth of nascent tumors and inhibits the enzymatic conversions that transition non-cancerous cells into malignant ones. A noteworthy in vitro study, conducted by the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University’s Macdonald Campus in Canada, demonstrated that kefir reduced breast cancer cells by an astounding 56 percent (in comparison to yogurt strains which achieved a 14 percent reduction) in animal studies. Such findings underscore the significant potential of kefir in our relentless battle against cancer.
4. Supports Digestion and Fights Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Maintaining a delicate balance of bacteria in the gut is crucial, and kefir milk and kefir yogurt offer a remarkable solution to restore this equilibrium and combat various gastrointestinal disorders. Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcers can be alleviated through the consumption of kefir, which is rich in probiotics. Moreover, after a course of antibiotics, drinking kefir can help replenish the gut flora that defends against harmful pathogens. The probiotic compounds in kefir aid in the recovery from disruptive diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects that may arise as a result of antibiotic use. With kefir as a supportive ally, a healthier and more balanced gut environment can be achieved.
5. Helps with Allergies
Inflammatory issues in the body are often linked to various forms of allergies and asthma. Fascinating research conducted on mice has revealed that kefir possesses the ability to reduce inflammatory cells that impact the lungs, airways, and the accumulation of mucus.
The presence of live microorganisms in kefir offers a natural means to bolster the immune system’s capacity to suppress allergic reactions and bring about a shift in the body’s response to systemic allergy flare-ups. Notably, some scientists theorize that these allergic reactions stem from an insufficiency of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Extensive studies carried out by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, involving nearly 2,000 individuals across 23 different studies, have shown promising results. In 17 of these studies, participants who incorporated probiotics into their regimen experienced notable improvements in allergic symptoms and reported an enhanced quality of life. These findings highlight the potential of kefir as a valuable ally in alleviating allergic conditions and fostering overall well-being.
6. Cures the Skin
When the delicate balance of your gut is disrupted, it can transmit signals to your skin, leading to a host of issues such as acne, psoriasis, rashes, and eczema. Fortunately, kefir steps in as a reliable solution, aiding in the restoration of beneficial bacteria and harmonizing the homeostasis of your body’s largest organ—the skin. This probiotic powerhouse not only addresses systemic skin problems but also provides notable benefits in the treatment of burns and rashes.
One remarkable component of kefir, a carbohydrate called kefiran, goes beyond fortifying the immune system. Extensive testing has demonstrated its effectiveness in enhancing the quality and expediting the healing process of skin wounds. Furthermore, kefiran showcases its remarkable ability to safeguard connective tissue, ensuring optimal skin health.
With kefir as your ally, you can restore balance to your gut and experience the remarkable benefits it imparts to your skin, fostering a healthier and more vibrant complexion.
7. Improves symptoms of lactose intolerance
The presence of beneficial bacteria in dairy products is vital for promoting a healthy gut and overall well-being. However, many individuals struggle with dairy intolerance due to adverse reactions during lactose digestion—the activation of milk sugar. Thankfully, kefir comes to the rescue with its active ingredient that aids in lactose breakdown, converting it into lactic acid for easier digestion. Moreover, during the fermentation process, kefir produces amylase, an enzyme that further assists in digesting any residual lactose that may remain in the fermented yogurt.
For those with lactose intolerance, I recommend starting with a small daily portion of kefir and gradually increasing the amount as your digestion stabilizes. However, if you have a lactose allergy, it is not advisable to consume kefir. Additionally, some individuals may be intolerant to casein, the protein found in milk. In such cases, if available, experimenting with kefir made from goat’s milk may be worth considering, as its casein is typically better tolerated by humans. Several individuals I know have tried goat’s milk kefir and have reported positive outcomes.
By incorporating kefir into your routine, you can navigate dairy intolerances while still reaping the potential benefits of these beneficial bacteria for your gut and overall health.
As you’ve discovered, kefir is a probiotic food that offers a host of well-established health benefits. It bolsters the immune system, promotes bone health, and enhances digestion, among its many positive effects.
I highly recommend incorporating kefir into your daily diet to harness its unique blend of nutrients and probiotics. You’ll quickly observe improvements in your health and overall well-being.
Consider adding it to your smoothies, yogurt, or simply enjoy it as a beverage to gradually introduce your body to its benefits. If you choose to make it at home, even better – all you need are kefir grains and milk.
As with any other food, it is always important to listen to your body and pay attention to its signals.
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Some of the sources of information:
US National Library of Medicine:
Eric Berg – https://www.drberg.com/blog/an-interesting-difference-between-yogurt-and-kefir