Is Kefir good for Gut health?
When it comes to kefir benefits, there are more benefits than you can shake a well populated gut microbiome at. This is Because the drink usually made from cow, goat or sheep milk, that gets the fermented treatment it is chock full of potential wins for your health.
To some kefir can seem a bit of a challenge, it can have a funny slightly lumpy texture and its fermented by adding kefir grains, which are symbiotic colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that look like tiny cauliflower heads (or rice pudding), to milk and leaving for 24-48 hours, allowing the microorganisms to multiply and ferment the lactose to lactic acid.
The downside? is isn’t vegan and never can be. It can be vegetarian and it is possible to make from non-dairy milks or drinks. For the full instructions on how to do this click here
It is however low in lactose (the natural sugar in the milk), as the process of making kefir turns the lactose into lactic acid, so often lactose intolerant people can drink it. It also makes it safe to feed (in small quantities to pets)
So what are the benefits of milk kefir?
Aids Gut Health
Kefir boasts high probiotic levels, often containing over 35-45 strains of bacteria and yeasts, which can help with general gut health and therefore ultimately for many it can help to improve digestion. ‘Now well-known as a superfood, Kefir contains probiotics and fibre which can help to contribute to a healthy happy gut.
Great Source of B12 vitamins
Vitamin B12 helps to keep our nerves and blood cells healthy. Most commonly found in animal and dairy products kefir can be a good source of B12. The fermentation process of kefir can also increase the availability of the nutrients in kefir meaning that we may be able to gain even more of the nutrients from kefir than from regular milk.’
Source of Protein
Kefir is a source of protein and amino acids’ which help our muscles to grow and repair (especially handy if you bodybuild or workout as kefir contains whey protein). With one drink containing around 10g of protein it’s not hard to see why some athletes have swapped their gym shakes for a post-workout kefir.
It’s Lower in Lactose
Due to its fermentation process, kefir by in large has a lower lactose content than other dairy products such as milk. ‘Some people with lactose intolerance therefore may be able to tolerate kefir much better than a glass of milk. This does depend on your degree of intolerance so it’s often a great idea to gain personalised advice with regard to this.
- Antibacterial Properties It may seem strange that kefir, which is loaded with bacteria, helps protect against certain strains of bad bacteria, but it’s true.
- Strong Bones That’s the calcium hard at work. It promotes strong bones and helps protect against osteoporosis and fractures.
- Lower Cholesterol Animal studies have found that kefir can lower high cholesterol, but studies involving humans haven’t verified these findings, so more research is needed before this possible benefit is confirmed
- Blood Sugar Control A 2015 study found that study participants with type 2 diabetes who drank 600 ml (about 2.5 cups) of kefir each day had lower HbA1C readings — a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels — than those in the control group.
- Allergy Aid A study involving animals with asthma found that kefir helped ease allergy symptoms and inflammation. Human studies are needed to support the theory, however.