Kerfir Grain Can Help Maintain Gut Bacteria


Bowl of Kefir Milk and Spoonful of Kefir

Kefir, like yogurt, is a fermented milk product. Originally, it was probably made with milk from horses, sheep and goats, as it originated in Eastern Europe where dairy cows were less common. You can make your own or buy it in most health food stores and some supermarkets. As part of a real food diet, one of kefir's great advantages is that it helps feed and promote the growth of the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Probiotics Aid with Gut Health

Kefir contains probiotics in the form of at least 30 different beneficial microorganisms. Since it is a fermented product, it is relatively low in lactose and even those who have trouble drinking milk may be able to drink kefir. Kefir also contains a carbohydrate called kefiran, which can help protect against harmful bacteria in the gut. The mildly tart drink is a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin, and also contains vitamin D.

How to Make Kefir at Home

To make your own kefir, buy some kefir grains or get some from a friend. Add a few tablespoons of grains to about two cups of milk; leave at least one inch space in the jar as it may bubble. Cover with a coffee filter or paper towel and fasten the covering in place with a rubber band. Let the kefir sit at room temperature for 24 to 36 hours, then refrigerate. To make the kefir thicker, you can add some full fat cream. Once the grains appear in the milk, strain them out and refrigerate for another batch.

To use kefir, you can drink it just as you would milk. It can also be used in various dishes such as Okroshka. This cold Russian soup contains kefir, sour cream and vegetables such as radishes, green onions, cucumbers and fresh herbs. Kefir can also be used in cooking and baking just as you would regular milk.

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