You want to be healthy and live long, don’t you? But did you know all of that depends on your gut health? Take care of your gut – and it will take very good care of you. Because when it comes to your gut, it’s serious business.
Statistics by the National Institute of Health show that about 70 million people in the US alone suffer from some digestive disease every year (1). You don’t want to be one of them, do you? This is where kefir comes into the picture. A cultured dairy, kefir is one of the most probiotic-rich foods on the planet. It contains far more friendly bacteria than your regular yogurt. And it is bound to boost your health in several ways. Just keep reading to know how.
Kefir is a sour-tasting drink that is made by fermenting bacteria and yeast in cow milk. This combination of bacteria and yeast is called kefir grain. Unlike typical grains (like rice or wheat), kefir grain doesn’t contain gluten. It is combined with milk and stored in a warm area to culture, and what you get is the kefir beverage.
Kefir is available in different types – milk kefir (made from the milk of cows or goats or of coconut) and water kefir (made from sugary or coconut water). And most of the benefits of kefir can be attributed to its incredible probiotic content. Let’s take a look at the benefits.
What Are The Benefits Of Kefir?
1. Boosts Digestive Health
The probiotics in the drink explain it. Kefir restores the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut, and this boosts digestive health like nothing else. Studies show how probiotics can even treat most forms of diarrhea (2).
Research also tells us how they can help treat numerous other digestive ailments, some of which include irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and H.pylori infection.
The probiotics in kefir also help treat acid reflux.
2. Kefir Improves Bone Health
Kefir is replete with calcium and vitamin K2, both of which contribute to bone health. Studies show how adequate calcium can improve bone health and prevent the onset of osteoporosis (3). Osteoporosis happens when the bone tissue deteriorates – but calcium and vitamin K2 can prevent this.
Kefir can also enhance calcium absorption by the bone cells – which results in improved bone density and reduced risk of fractures.
3. Can Aid Weight Loss
Low-fat kefir can help in this regard. Kefir also is rich in protein, a nutrient that can keep you satiated and stop you from binge eating. Though more research is warranted, some studies show how probiotics can promote healthy weight loss (4).
The way probiotics influence gut bacteria impacts appetite and digestion – and this also can have some beneficial effects on weight loss (5).
4. May Prevent Cancer
Compounds in kefir can make the cancer cells self-destruct – and this is especially true with regard to gastric cancer (6).
Other bioactive compounds in kefir, like peptides, polysaccharides, and sphingolipids, also help prevent cancer. These compounds induce cancer cell death.
When compared to yogurt, kefir fares far better in preventing cancer. One study showed how kefir extract reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by as much as 56%, as opposed to the 14% by the yogurt extract (7).
5. Boosts Immunity
The biotin and folate in kefir boost the immune system. Even the probiotics in kefir do a great job here. For example, Lactobacillus Kefiri, a particular strain of probiotics in kefir, protect your body against salmonella and E.Coli, some very harmful bacteria (8).
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of kefir, this drink also helps prevent allergies and asthma (9).
6. Helps Lower Blood Sugar
Though more research is warranted, one Iranian study shows how kefir can be used to lower blood sugar levels. The study concludes by saying kefir could be an alternative treatment for diabetes (10).
7. Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
One study showed how women who drank low-fat kefir for eight weeks saw a significant decline in their bad cholesterol levels (11). Though we need more research, experts conclude that the probiotics in kefir influence how much cholesterol the body can absorb from food.
8. Good For Those With Lactose Intolerance