Fermented foods are having a bit of a moment in the natural health community and Kefir is happily one that people are beginning to discover. We asked our friends at Little Bird Kefir to explain exactly what people are getting excited about ...
"Simply put, kefir is the best-kept secret in nutrition. This high-powered probiotic milk drink contains billions of gut-friendly bacteria in just one serving - several times more powerful than most other products touted as being good for your tummy.
It’s made by fermenting milk with kefir grains, a kind of live culture (think yeast). The result is a creamy, thick beverage similar to drinking yoghurt that has been enjoyed by people across Eastern Europe, Asia and South America for thousands of years."
It is also said to be incredibly beneficial for overall gut health and digestion, alleviating intestinal disorders as well as regulating metabolism through improved digestion.
Discovered centuries ago by nomadic shepherds living on the slopes of North Caucasus Mountains, Kefir has long been a popular drink across Eastern Europe. More recently, kefir has rapidly gained popularity across the UK, Europe and USA making its way from niche grocers and speciality shops into major supermarkets around the country.
Here, Little Bird Kefir tell us a little more about the powerful probiotic and why we should be drinking it.
What are the health benefits of kefir?
Your gut is alive. Inside it’s like a microcosm of life, supporting 100 trillion micro-organisms. How awesome is that?
As part of this galaxy of organisms is good bacteria. These are considered ‘good’ because they are responsible for a healthy gut and digestion, but that’s not all. We know they affect our metabolism, immunity and even mood. Poor diet and lifestyle choices can harm our levels of good bacteria and have a damaging effect on health.
The good news is that you can restore healthy stomach bacteria by including probiotics - foods with live cultures - to your diet. Kefir is a powerful probiotic food that restores healthy bacteria in your gut, and is arguably one of the most powerful probiotics of all.
kefir versus yoghurt?
Kefir looks and tastes similar to yoghurt, but that’s where comparisons end. When deciding which probiotic to take, kefir beats yoghurt every time.
- has up to five times the levels of gut-friendly bacteria than yoghurt
- has around 30-50 different strains of good bacteria (yoghurt has 2-3)
- is suitable for many people with mild lactose intolerance
Kefir health benefits list
Scientists are still discovering new ways that a healthy gut flora (the collective name for the good bacteria) helps us fight disease, stay happy and manage weight. There’s already a strong case for drinking kefir for health…
80% of your immune system is located in your gut. It’s the reason that taking antibiotics makes us feel run down, and can lead to a relapse of illness. So by restoring a healthy balance in the gut you’re doing your immunity a big favour.
Bloating and gas
Bloating isn’t just annoying and embarrassing - it can be downright painful. Many people live with this discomfort day-to-day believing it to be unavoidable. Now we know that bloating can be reduced not only by identifying food intolerances, but by keeping the balance of bacteria in our gut in check.
Weight loss and metabolism
Studies in animals have proven that gut bacteria affect and drive obesity. Supplementing a healthy diet high in fibre and low in refined sugars, with a quality probiotic could boost your metabolism and support people trying to lose weight.
Acne and skin
An increasing number of skincare specialists and dermatologists link skin problems to underlying issues linked to the gut. This seems to be borne out by scientific studies, including one highlighting that acne sufferers are far more likely to suffer bloating and indigestion. Do your face a favour and look after your tummy!
Depression and mood
You may be beginning to wonder what ISN’T affected by the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut! An emerging and fascinating area of scientific research explores the link between the gut and its microcosm of bacteria and other organisms - and the brain. Scientists are discovering that the make-up of these bacteria can affect hormonal responses, and as a result, brain chemistry. Studies of long-time IBS sufferers have shown an increased likelihood of experiencing anxiety and mild depression.
Did you know that "kefir" means "feel good" in Turkish? Well that just about sums this up nicely! Just drink it straight up, or eat it for breakfast with granola and fresh fruit.