Kefir Packs a More Powerful Probiotic Punch Than Yogurt

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Yogurt is the best known probiotic food in the Western diet, but our fitness experts know that kefir is actually a much more potent source.  Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow's milk or goat's milk. Kefir is the drink, but kefir grains are the starter culture that you use to produce the beverage.  The grains’ lactic acid bacteria turn the milk’s lactose into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour like yogurt — but has a thinner consistency. Learn more about this probiotic packed drink!

How is Kefir Made

It starts by adding kefir grains to milk. These are not cereal grains, but grain-like
colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble a cauliflower in appearance.  Over approximately 24 hours, the microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk, turning it into kefir.  Kefir grains contain up to 61 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making them a very rich and diverse probiotic source, though diversity may vary.

These microorganisms may influence health in numerous ways, aiding digestion, weight management, and mental health.  Kefir also contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds, including organic acids and peptides that contribute to its health benefits.

Don’t worry, there are dairy-free versions of kefir that are made with coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids. However, these will not have the same nutrient profile as dairy-based kefir.

Potent Antibacterial Properties of Kefir

Certain probiotics in kefir are believed to protect against infections. This includes the
probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, which is unique to kefir. Studies demonstrate that this probiotic can inhibit the growth of various harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori and E. coli. Kefiran, a type of carbohydrate present in kefir, also has antibacterial
properties.

Kefir Improves Bone Health and Lower the Risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is characterized by deterioration of bone tissue and is a major problem in Western countries. It is especially common among older women and dramatically raises your risk of fractures. Ensuring an adequate calcium intake is one of the most effective ways to improve bone health and slow the progression of osteoporosis.

When selecting kefir, it’s best to choose the full-fat version; it’s not only a great source of calcium but also vitamin K2 — which plays a central role in calcium metabolism. Supplementing with K2 has been shown to reduce your risk of fractures by as much as 81%. Recent animal studies link kefir to increased calcium absorption in bone cells. This leads to improved bone density, which should help prevent fractures.

Kefir May Help Protect Against Cancer

Cancer is one of the world's leading causes of death. It occurs when abnormal cells in your
body grow uncontrollably, such as in a tumor. The probiotics in fermented dairy products are believed to reduce tumor growth by stimulating your immune system. Therefore, it is possible that kefir may fight cancer.

If you want to add a probiotic punch to your diet, then swap some yogurt for kefir. You’ll be glad you did!