Some kefir history
Kefir is consumed around the world and has been for centuries. However, it was not made famous until the 1900’s when a Russian scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Ilya Metchnikoff discovered villagers in the Caucasus Mountains (the mountainous region that divides Asia and Europe) were living much longer and were much healthier then the rest of the population. Apparently kefir plays a role.
Kefir is a fermented milk product, similar to yogurt – but thinner in consistency, making it more of a drink. It has a tart, sour taste and a slight “fizz“, due to carbon dioxide – the end product of the fermentation process. The length of the fermentation time determines the flavour.
The name Kefir comes from the Turkish word keyif, which refers to the “good feeling” a person gets after they have drunk it.
Kefir VS yogurt probiotic make-up
While yogurt is the fermentation of bacteria in milk, kefir is a combination of bacteria and yeast fermentations, which give kefir a more complex fermentation culture. The combination of bacteria and yeast is called “kefir grain”. Of course, kefir grains are not typical grains, such as wheat or rice and do not contain gluten; they are small, yellowish-white in color with the appearance of miniature cauliflowers.
Milk is combined with the kefir grains and stored in a warm area to “culture”, producing the kefir beverage. Scientifically speaking, milk kefir grains contain a complex microbial symbiotic mixture of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a polysaccharide–protein matrix.
This drink contains more friendly probiotics than regular yogurt and can be made using just about any type of milk, such as goat, sheep, cow, soy, rice or coconut milk. It can even be made using coconut water.
Kefir’s benefits: beyond gut & probiotics
A great source of calcium, kefir is a milky drink that even people with lactose intolerance can usually consume. It is rich in probiotic bacteria and yeasts, containing more than 50 species that live in a symbiotic association. This has been demonstrated to have multiple properties conferring health benefits, including antiobesity, anti-hepatic steatosis, antioxidative, antiallergenic, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, constipation-alleviating and antimicrobial properties.
At NutriFix, we use kefir in one of our favourite smoothies – Get Dirty – for optimal digestion. Also, kefir is the perfect companion for our yummy soaked nuts & seeds bowl, Oooh… Mega. Going forward, we are also planning to launch superfood flavoured kefir drinks as part of our healthy food offering.