Kefir is a drink that improves the intestinal flora, helps immunity and improves intestinal transit, because it consists of bacteria and probiotic yeasts, that is, they promote the general health of the organism.
The kefir bacteria can be safely grown at home, and the production of the drink is easy and resembles the production of natural yogurt. There are two types of kefir, milk and water, which contain the same bacteria and yeasts, but adapted to different environments. In addition, these two types of kefir can be differentiated according to the enzymes present in their composition.
Benefits of kefir
As a probiotic food, the main benefits of kefir are:
- Reduce constipation , as good bacteria improve digestion and increase intestinal transit;
- Fight intestinal inflammation , as having a healthy flora is the main factor to prevent diseases;
- Facilitate digestion ;
- Weight loss , because it is rich in proteins and has lower calories;
- Fight osteoporosis , as it is rich in calcium;
- Prevent and combat gastritis , especially gastritis caused by the bacteria H. pylori ;
- Strengthen the immune system , as it maintains healthy intestinal flora, which prevents infection by microorganisms through the intestine.
In addition, kefir balances the intestinal flora and improves the absorption of nutrients, making it great for those who have undergone antibiotic treatments and need to regulate intestinal transit. See what Probiotics are and what they are for.
How to use kefir to lose weight
Kefir is a low calorie food because 100 g has only 37 calories, making it a good option to use in weight loss diets. It can be used to replace milk or yogurt, making it an excellent option for those who have a trapped intestine.
It can be consumed 1 time a day, for breakfast or snack, for example. To make the taste more pleasant, you can sweeten it with a little honey or add fruits like banana or strawberry, in the form of a vitamin.
The kefir helps to loosen the intestine and therefore when evacuating more regularly it is possible to notice that the belly is less swollen in the first week, as it improves digestion and fights constipation, but for the weight loss to be lasting it should- if you follow a diet to lose weight and exercise regularly.
Where to buy kefir
It is possible to buy kefir grains on internet sites, and kefir milk can be found in supermarkets or health food stores, but donations between friends or on internet sites are very common because the grains are grown in a liquid environment, multiplying, and a portion must be removed to prevent excessive growth, so whoever has it at home usually offers it to family and friends.
Kefir grains are also called Tibetan Mushrooms, Yogurt Plants, Yogurt Mushrooms, Yogurt Fungus and Snow Lotus. They originated in the Caucasus and are made up of different microorganisms that are good for regulating the intestine.
How to Make Milk Kefir
The preparation of kefir is very simple, similar to the homemade production of natural yogurt. You can use any type of milk, cow, goat, sheep, or vegetable milk, coconut, rice or almond.
- 100 g of milk kefir
- 1 liter of milk
Place the kefir grains, fresh milk, pasteurized or not, skimmed, semi-skimmed or whole in a glass container. The contents are left at room temperature for approximately 24 hours. The fermented milk is strained to separate and recover the grains that are added to more fresh milk, repeating the process.
The liquid fermented kefir that is strained can be consumed immediately or can be kept in the refrigerator for later consumption.
How to Make Water Kefir
The water kefir is made using coconut water or mineral water to add brown sugar or brown sugar.
- 3-4 tablespoons of water kefir grains
- 1 liter of water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
In a glass jar, place the water and brown sugar and dilute well. Add the kefir grains and cover the mouth of the jar with a paper towel, gauze or diaper, securing with an elastic band to be safe. Leave in a dark place, at room temperature, to ferment for 24 to 72 hours. The more it fermentes, the less sweet the final drink will be. After fermentation, strain the beans to use them for the next fermentation.
Flavoring the water kefir
After fermentation, the water kefir can be mixed with fruit juices, teas, ginger and dried or fresh or dried fruit to taste. Fermentation makes the drink slightly carbonated, making it possible to taste it to create a homemade soft drink.
The water kefir lasts for 3 days 1 week in the refrigerator, and can be eaten for snacks or as an accompaniment to lunch or dinner. Another fermented drink option to accompany meals and improve health is kombucha.
How to grow kefir
To keep kefir always healthy and productive, you should always store it in a container with milk or sugar water after each fermentation, remembering not to use metal utensils and always covering the container with gauze or a clean cloth or paper towels, so that it does not have contact with flies or ants. On warmer days or to delay the fermentation process, you can store the kefir in the refrigerator, but if you want to spend more days without using the kefir for fermentation, the beans must be kept in a covered container and frozen.
Gradually, the kefir grows with fermentations and creates a thicker liquid or goo, making it necessary to wash the grains in water at least once a week. It is possible to store part of the grains in the freezer to always have a reserve, and the remaining surplus can be donated for other people to produce their kefir at home, remembering that the grains of the milk kefir must be separated from the grains of water kefir.
Kefir grains that are green, yellowish or brown should not be used, as this indicates that they are no longer able to consume.
Is it possible to use milk kefir to prepare water kefir?
Yes, however the process is not so simple and may not be as successful and, therefore, it is recommended that not all grains of milk kefir be used, only a part.
To do this process, it is first recommended that the milk kefir be active, it is important to rehydrate it before being converted to water kefir. Then, you must follow the steps below:
- Dissolve ¼ cup of brown sugar in 1 liter of water and add ⅛ teaspoon of sea salt;
- Add the activated milk kefir grains to the sugar water solution and let it ferment for 5 days at room temperature;
- Remove the kefir grains, prepare the water with sugar again and put it back in the new solution, allowing it to ferment at room temperature for about 12 to 24 hours less than the previous time;
- You should repeat the previous step and decrease the preparation time by 12 to 24 hours between each time, until the cultivation period is 48 or less.
At this point, the grains were converted to water kefir, and they should continue their cultivation for another 24 to 48 hours.
Contraindications and side effects
Kefir is contraindicated in the case of cancer in the gastrointestinal system, it should not be consumed 2 hours before and after taking medicines with bisphosphonate, fluorides or tetracyclines, just to avoid interfering with the absorption of the medicine. The fermentation of kefir leads to a small production of alcohol and therefore can be harmful to people with liver disease.
Excessive intake of kefir can also cause problems such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, so it is not recommended to consume more than 1 glass of kefir per day.