Kefir -A health boosting superfood!
During the Irish learning visit, learners were introduced to Kefir by local nutritionist Colette Mc Mahon from the TrueFood Academy, who is an advocate for the power of Kefir to restore vitality to weakened digestive systems. It is a fermented, enzyme-rich food and is known to regulate the immune system, through its strong pro-biotic properties. Specifically it promotes the production of bile, provides natural protection against diseases, improves blood circulation, regulates cholesterol and sugar levels, regulates blood pressure, strengthens the kidneys, and even it supports the body in the quest against cancer, bone density loss and ageing. It provides excellent nourishment for everybody especially those who have weakened immune systems. Why? Immunity is thought to start in our guts where trillions of “good” bacteria and fungus kill the “bad” microorganisms, which keeps you alive and well so kefir possesses both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which get to work in the digestive system. There are 2 types of Kefir commonly in use today, water and milk kefir. Water kefir is non-dairy and is made with fruit juices, coconut water, organic sugar and filtered water-It is recommended not to use tap water since the chemicals in it are thought to destroy the kefir. Although cows milk is more commonly used for milk kefir, it can also be made from other mammalian sources like goat, buffalo, camel and sheep. Non-dairy products can also be used like coconut milk, soy milk, nut milk and almond milk, however results may vary and nutrient sources are lesser as compared with the dairy milk products. Raw milk is best of all but even with pasterized milk, kefir grains manage to feed and ferment to a probiotic heaven!
A list of the more common probiotics that we regularly see in fermented foods include:
- Bifidobacteria species
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus caucasus
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Acetobacter species
Both water and milk kefir grains are a reusable starter culture used to make a probiotic-rich drink with live, good micro-organisms in it. The dairy one produces a yoghurt type Kefir is both good to take when you are not well, but also to prevent poor health through establishing good gut flora. Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, that provide health benefits when consumed. Scientists who studied kefir grains were surprised to discover that there is not a single trace of bad bacteria in the grains. They even injected Escherichia coli, bacteria that commonly inhabitant the intestines, but these were killed by probiotics. It seems that pathogenic organisms cannot exist anywhere near kefir.
Kefir in brown sugar (pictured left) and in yougurt (on right) There are many recipes on the internet for making your own kefir, hopefully after reading this article, you will be inspired to!