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What are kefir’s benefits?

Posted by nexbaau on 4th Dec 2020

What if there was a drink that could boost your immune system, balance your gut bacteria, help with allergy and asthma symptoms and maybe even fight cancer cells? 

What if that drink was free from sugar, dairy and lactose, and 100% vegan-friendly? And on top of all that, what if it was also super delicious and available at your local grocery store?

Sounds too good to be true, right?

But research is stacking up to suggest that kefir could bring all these benefits, and potentially more.

Keep reading to find out about the researched health and nutritional benefits of kefir. (And yes, it really IS this good for you!)

What is kefir?

Kefir is a delicious, nutrient-packed, fermented drink that tastes a bit like natural yoghurt. 

It’s slightly sweet, slightly sour and totally ready to blow your mind with the health benefits it brings. 

How kefir is made?

Water kefir grains into a wooden spoon on black wooden background. To make kefir, you need a starter culture of yeast, protein and bacteria. 

The kefir starter culture is usually referred to as grains or crystals, because it has a lumpy, grainy look about it. It’s a bit like a tiny baby cauliflower – cute, huh?

When you combine the kefir grains with milk or water, the good bacteria in the grains multiply and ferment the sugars. And the result – ta da! – is a yummy, probiotic-filled kefir with some great nutritional and health benefits.

Where does kefir come from?

Kefir has been around for hundreds of years, and originally came from the Caucasus mountains in that stretch of land between Europe and Asia. 

The word kefir actually comes from the Turkish keyit, which means ‘feeling good’. And boy, does it make you feel good!

Kefir’s supercharged health benefits

Kefir is chock-full of probiotics. In fact, researchers reckon it’s one of the best sources of probiotics available, with up to 56 different bacterial and yeast strains!

So what’s so great about probiotics? Your body is filled with live bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are the good guys – the ones that help your body to digest the food you eat and even help to create important vitamins.

But the probiotics in kefir aren’t just helpful to your gut. They’ve also been linked to a bunch of other health benefits including:

  • boosting your immune system
  • improving allergy and asthma symptoms
  • maybe even fighting cancer cells.

And don’t forget that kefir is also free from sugar, lactose and dairy, and 100% vegan-friendly.

Let’s look at each of these benefits in more detail.

Balancing your gut bacteria 

The bacteria in your gut are sensitive wee souls. There are a lot of things that can upset their balance – things like:

  • Traveller’s diarrhoea (aka ‘Bali belly’) 
  • Tummy bugs
  • Taking antibiotics or ‘The Pill’
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or other chronic bowel disorders, and
  • A diet that’s… let’s face it… NOT as healthy as it could be.

The good news? The probiotics in water kefir can help to rebalance the good bacteria in your gut.

In fact, research has found some pretty compelling evidence that probiotics like the ones in water kefir are great for treating all sorts of digestive issues.

So, if you’re looking for a good gut buddy, kefir could be worth a try. 

Giving your immune system a boost

Like we said above, all those beautiful bacteria in water kefir do more than just help with digestion. They can also boost your immune system.

Studies have shown links between probiotics and:

We don’t know exactly how they work (yet), but scientists have a bunch of theories. And in the meantime, the case for kefir as an immune system hero is strong.

Soothing allergy and asthma symptoms

In scientific studies using mice, kefir helped to reduce inflammation, allergy reactions and asthma responses.

Of course, we need more research on humans (because people aren’t mice!) Still though, the potential to use kefir to treat allergies and asthma one day is exciting.

Helping to fight cancer cells

Just like with the allergy and asthma studies, research on the effects of probiotics like the ones in kefir on cancer is still in its early days. But the initial results look pretty promising.

For example, one review of recent studies mentioned that probiotics may play a protective role against cancer in animals. It also suggested that the boost probiotics give a human immune system could make them a useful add-on to other cancer treatment or prevention options. 

Another petri dish study shows that kefir extract may contain something that reduces breast cancer cell growth.

So. Fighting cancer cells with delicious kefir? More research is definitely needed. In the meantime, though? We’ll drink to that.

Free from sugar, lactose and dairy

Water kefir is an all-inclusive all-rounder.

During the fermenting process, the bacteria in the kefir grains digest all of the sugar. That means you can enjoy a super-refreshing, tasty drink with ZERO sugar. So there’s none of the potential health effects that a high-sugar diet can bring.

Plus, because water kefir isn’t made with milk, it’s also free from lactose and dairy, and 100% vegan-friendly. So, whether you’re lactose intolerant or just want to reduce your dairy intake, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of kefir.