After recovering from a nasty bout of food poisoning I came across a fermented yogurt product called Kefir, the stuff not only helped my recovery but proved a very useful tool for providing my body with nutrition when it was hard to eat. The stuff should not be strictly limited to those with stomach upsets as anyone can drink it and it can have hugely beneficial effects in terms of regulating your digestion and improving intestinal health…..
What Is It? Kefir has a tart and refreshing taste and its pretty runny, more of a yogurt style drink than something you would eat with a spoon. It contains loads of friendly bacteria and beneficial yeast, the beauty of the bacteria in Kefir is that it is multi-strain doing a far more effective job of helping the gut than regular yogurt. The other good news is that if your lactose intolerant you can drink the stuff as its packed with lactase which is an enzyme which eats up the lactose during the culturing process.
Kefir originated in the Caucasus region of mountains and its made by leaving a type of mountain grain called Kefir in regular cow or goats milk to ferment this process takes a few days but eventually leaves you with a powerful and nutritious health tonic.
How can it improve your health? Kefir has a host of benefits, it is rich in vitamins and minerals like B12 and B1 which help with nerve function. It also contains a load of Vitamin K which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease basically its a very important vitamin that is hard to get hold of even with the best of diets other sources include butter from grass fed cows and raw cheese!
As its so easily digested its great to drink first thing in the morning or post workout. It will get nutrients delivered quickly whilst cleaning up the gut and improving your nutrient uptake for the rest of the day as well as these benefits:
better lactose digestion, control of pathogenic or otherwise undesirable intestinal microorganisms, reduction in blood serum cholesterol, reduction in colon carcinogens, and immune system stimulation to resist infections.
The other cool thing is that it is high in protein and low in carbs. Take note that even though the package may say it has 6-8 grams of carbohydrate per 100ml this is not the case as they have been eaten up by the good bacteria whilst fermenting leaving the product basically carb free.
Kefir has also been shown to have a nourishing effect on the nervous system. This is pretty amazing as it holds calming effects which can help with sleep disorders, ADHD and anxiety. So next time your feeling the pressure or can’t not off to sleep head over to the fridge for a cup of kefir….
How to get hold of it? Its pretty easy to find places selling Kefir these days especially if you live in the USA with most normal supermarkets selling it. Health food stores worldwide most certainly sell it. I have found that in the UK it can be found in the Polish section of supermarkets for cheap or at health food stores at a slightly higher price.
The other option of course is to buy the grains yourself and go about the fermentation process in the comfort of your own home. Once you get hold of the grains its pretty simple to make just chekout this site for a pretty comprehensive guide….
Overall Kefir is a great natural way to keep the gut healthy which is probably the biggest key to good health. Sure avoiding things like grains and sugar will keep gut health on a good level I think we all need a little extra support from pro-biotic strains to nourish the gut. I like to drink some a few mornings a week and find it helps keep my immune system intact and I can really feel the boost in my digestion. Again its especially good if you have had any incidence of food poisoning or have taken anti-biotics as it can aid in recovery.
Plus it can be used to make a tasty dessert. The other night I tried it mixed with some strawberries, almonds and honey and it made for a delicious healthy treat. Get creative, as it has a liquid texture its great to throw in shakes with some berries and flaxseed for a really powerful health tonic!
Even for those following a strict Paleo, EF or Primal lifestyle I think Kefir has its place….