The Benefits of Kefir for Your Gut Health & Overall Health
so what are the health benefits of kefir?
I have spent the whole of 2017 working on improving the health of my digestive system after a bad stress-induced flare up of IBS towards the end of last year, and during that time I have come across a few things that I have really helped me. One of them, is the discovery of fermented milk drink kefir.
So what exactly IS kefir?
Kefir is a probiotic, cultured and fermented product, usually made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk or sheep’s milk (but can also be made with non-dairy alternative and even water). A homemade kefir can contain up to 40 different strains of beneficial bacteria, and also packs a huge punch of other nutrients – particularly Vitamin B12, magnesium and calcium.
Kefir is produced by culturing milk with kefir grains – but don’t confuse these with actual grains, because there is not a cereal grain in sight! Kefir grains are actually made up of various yeasts and bacterias and in my opinion, resemble cauliflower or tiny little brains (kefir brains!). You can see what they look like in the video attached to this blog!
Why you should consider adding some kefir into your daily diet…
Now, don’t get me wrong – I totally understand if you’re feeling a bit anxious about drinking fermented milk, I was too. What I would suggest is that you start with a very small amount, and gradually build this up. This will allow your digestive system to get used to the new flora, and minimise any digestive discomfort. Start with having a tablespoon a day, and build it up until you can tolerate a glass each day. You can use kefir like you would any yoghurt based drink – on its own, in a smoothie with some frozen berries (my favourite) or poured over fruit. There are lots of ways to enjoy it, and it really is a refreshing drink!
Kefir is a probiotic, containing billions and billions of friendly bacteria, which, given the chance, will colonise in your large intestine thus improving your health in many ways. Personally, I attribute the reduction and almost complete absence of IBS symptoms to a small number of thing – one of which being my daily dose of kefir. Here are some of the health benefits you may experience:
- Reduction in bloating and discomfort caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- It may boost your immunity due to the presence of certain strains of microbes, in particular various strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Personally, I have had absolutely no viruses, colds, coughs or flu-like bugs this year whatsoever – a new record for me! I normally take a bad cold at least once, sometimes twice a year.
- Kefir made from whole milk contains high levels of calcium and vitamin K2, meaning that it helps to protect your bone health. It also contains other bone building nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D.
- It’s high in protein, giving you a 6g hit in a 175ml glass. Kefir made with whole milk will give you a nice ‘full up’ feeling too, meaning you’ll crave less as a result.
- Reduction in general malaise symptoms, especially those of the IBS and gut discomfort variety. Personally, by combining a daily routine of drinking kefir alongside a probiotic protocol, whole food diet with heavy focus on prebiotic foods – I have almost completely eradicated IBS from my life.
Don’t feel quite ready to make your own kefir just yet? No worries – I didn’t make my own in the beginning either, I bought ready made kefir. Here are some of my favourites:
Biotiful Dairy Kefir (I love the Morello Cherry one)
Nourish Kefir (Strawberry is the best one, IMO!)
Rhythm Coconut Kefir (the best non-dairy one I’ve found)
I hope you’ve found this blog useful, if so – please do me the favour of SHARING the blog on your social media channels, and don’t forget to tune in to the video I made which shows you the exact process that I use to make my very own homemade kefir drink…