Kefir has grown in popularity in the UK recently, and at The Gut Co, we are totally on board with it. A fantastic source of probiotics, kefir can be a great addition to your diet. Here, we will be discussing what kefir is, the benefits of kefir, and how often you should drink it.
What is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented drink (or food, depending on how you consume it) that is usually derived from cow’s milk, although it can be made with other milk and water. It is similar to yoghurt in its consistency and has a sour and tangy flavour. Making kefir from alternatives to cow’s milk can change the consistency, but it is generally a thick drink.1
To make kefir, milk is cultured with kefir grains, which are a mixture of bacteria and yeasts. These are the probiotics that can improve gut health - more on this in our article What is Kefir? Everything you need to know.
The microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk over about 24 hours, making it a comparatively quick probiotic source compared to sauerkraut, which takes 3 weeks to ferment fully.2 The grains can be removed from the kefir mixture and used again and again, making it cost-effective, too!3
If you don’t want to make it yourself, most supermarkets in the UK now stock kefir ready to drink; you’ll usually find it next to the milk or the yoghurt in the fridges.
What are the gut health benefits of kefir?
As has been mentioned, kefir is a highly potent source of probiotics. Kefir grains contain up to 61 strains of bacteria and yeast, which can significantly improve the gut microbiome's diversity. Improving gut health can reduce digestive issues such as diarrhoea, excess gas, bloating and constipation, making the day-to-day far easier.4
Over 70% of the cells that make up the immune system exist within the gut, and kefir can have a particularly good impact on the immune system due to the types of probiotics it contains. Lactobacillus kefiri is unique to kefir, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, including salmonella, Helicobacter pylori, and E. coli; consuming kefir can protect you against harmful pathogens wreaking havoc on your body.5,6
Is it good to drink kefir every day?
For most people, kefir can be an everyday addition to their diets. Like any food or drink, consuming too much of it can cause stomach upset, so sticking to an upper limit of 710ml per day should prevent any issues.7
Kefir contains carbohydrates, so those on a low-carb diet, such as people with diabetes, should be aware of how much they are consuming and lower their consumption to fit in with their particular dietary needs.7
Kefir, when made with cow’s milk or goats milk (or any other animal milk, for that matter), will contain dairy. If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, make sure to choose a kefir made with water or a non-dairy alternative.
Although kefir is a great source of probiotics, eating a variety of fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement can ensure you are getting a good range of probiotics.7 Diversity is key in improving your gut health, including the strains of probiotics you are consuming.
Kefir can be a fantastic addition to your diet if you are looking to add in some probiotics to your diet. If you are thinking about probiotics, why not check out our range of probiotic supplements? By taking just one tablet a day, you can improve your gut health!