Have You Tried Kefir?
The first time Bryan and I tried Kefir it was an accident. We had just moved to Prague and our Czech was even more basic then it is now. Basically, we accidently bought Kefir thinking we were buying milk. Neither of us had ever even heard of Kefir before that moment. After tasting the “milk” and realizing that it wasn’t in fact milk we quickly got on-line and realized that what we bought was something known as Kefir. So, what is Kefir?
Kefir is essentially just cultured and fermented milk. In some ways it’s similar to yogurt, but yogurt only uses a very small variety of cultures (usually two or three) and Kefir can have more than 30 different forms of beneficial bacteria.
After unknowingly buying Kefir we started reading up on this strange thick sour tasting milk. And we learned quite a few things:
- Kefir can be tolerated by many people who have milk intolerances because the proteins are broken down and pre-digested and it contains very little milk sugar (lactose). The longer it is allowed to ferment the less lactose it will contain.
- Kefir can “suppress the growth of Salmonella, heal ulcers, and strengthen the immune system.”
- Kefir can help “regulate cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.”
- It has a cleansing effect and can help aid in digestion – it’s been shown to heal diarrhea and prevent constipation as well.
- It can help “improve liver and gallbladder function.”
- Kefir can be helpful in the treatment of leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.
- There is some evidence to suggest that kefir has anti-aging properties and can help with brain elasticity and other anti-aging benefits.
- It has antibiotic and antifungal properties and can be used to treat Candida yeast infections.
- Kefir can also treat acne and help to maintain beautiful skin.
That is just a small list of the benefits, for a more complete list of 78 known health benefits of kefir read this article.
But, even knowing all that I had a hard time drinking kefir and just couldn’t bring myself to do it very often. Kefir has a very unique taste and texture and if you aren’t used to it… well, let’s just say it takes some getting used to. I really didn’t like it at first and neither did Bryan, so we never bought it… until recently.
As I began to dig into the real food movement I was again reminded of all of the amazing health benefits that this drink claims to possess. So, I decided that for the good of my health and my nursing son’s health I was going to learn to love Kefir. I bought some and started having a VERY small glass once a day. Within a week I could tolerate it just fine, within two weeks I was addicted and drinking three or more glasses a day. I craved Kefir. When we were in London a few weeks ago I couldn’t find any Kefir (not that I looked that hard, but I did check a few grocers that we happened to walk past) and I missed it terribly!
So, the million dollar question is, have I noticed a change in my health since drinking it? I can honestly say that I have, although it might be nearly impossible to prove that the change is solely due to kefir and not to other changes I have made in my life and diet during the same time. But, I do feel like it has improved my health and how I feel overall.
If you haven’t tried Kefir I encourage you to give it a try – you just might like it and with so many health benefits it’s definitely worth trying.
If you have tried Kefir what did you think about it? Have you noticed any change in your health?
Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman