Kefir is an ancient food that has long been treasured for its health promoting and medicinal benefits
By Sonia Jose
What is Exactly Kefir?
Kefir or Milk kefir is a probiotic rich fermented milk drink made by adding either kefir grains or a kefir starter culture to milk. Also known as búlgaros the drink has long been considered an elixir of youth, life and longevity by all those who drank it.
Where Does It Come From?
Kefir is thought to originate in the Northern Caucus Mountains, however other fermented milk and yogurt drinks with similar properties can be found in Europe, the middle east and Central Asia. The name kefir is thought to come from the Turkish word “keyif,” meaning “good feeling”. Kefir has been drunk for centuries – and was a closely guarded secret until the work by Dr. Ilya Metchnikoff brought attention to the benifts of the drink
Discovery of Kefir
Kefir became popular throughout Russia in the 20th Century following the early research by Dr. Ilya Metchnikoff, the Russian immunologist credited with discovering the ‘probiotic’ properties of Lactic Acid Bacteria.
Dr. Ilya Metchnikoff– became curious as to why the people of the northern Caucasus lived so much longer that other similar populations. Examining their diets, he found fermented milk products were a notable constituent and suggested a connection between the bacteria in these foods and their health and longevity.
He theorized that the lactic acid bacteria present in fermented milk products such as Kefir helped to inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms in their gut and contributed to their immune health.
Following the work by Dr. Metchnikoff – for which he received the nobel prize in 1908, fermented milk products became widely recognized and prescribed for their medicinal benefits and were used in hospitals in Russia throughout the soviet era to treat conditions such as digestive disorders, cancer, tuberculosis, and even atherosclerosis.
Preparation of Kefir
While Kefir grains are mainly used to ferment fresh milk from mammals, although they can also be used with soy, coconut, rice and almond milks.
To prepare Milk Kefir, add 1-2 tea spoons of Milk Kefir Grains to 3-4 cups of milk and leave to ferment at room temperature for between 12-24 hours – depending on the temperature. For detailed information on how to make Kefir follow our guide
Unlike other dairy products, Kefir has been found to be suitable for people with lactose intolerance as Kefir contains very little lactose, the sugar present in milk.
As most of the lactose has been broken down to lactic acid by the bacteria in the Kefir Grains and some broken down further into propionic acid.
Some of the lactose is converted to kefiran, a polysaccharide – or complex sugar thought to confer a number of the health benefits on humans. Kefiran has been studied extensively for its anti-inflammatory properties, anti-bacterial properties as well as strengthening the immune system…Continue Reading →
This article (Kefir, The Elixir of Youth – Everything You Need To Know) was originally published on The Good Gut and syndicated by The Event Chronicle. Via Prepare for Change.