Kefir

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 09. Aug. 2020

Kefir has been enjoyed in Russia for about more than a century. What makes the sour milk so tasty and healthy?

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Kefir...

  • ...strengthens the immune system. The lactic acid bacteria in kefir are beneficial for intestine health, digestion, and have an anti-inflammatory effect that research shows helps strengthen the immune system.
  • ...is naturally low in calories. Kefir is naturally sugar-less and low in calories.
  • ...can have a healing effect. Kefir contains probiotic bacteria which can render pathogenic germs in the stomach and intestines harmless, therefore helping relieve stomach pains and diarrhea.
  • ...is easier to digest than milk. The lactic acid bacteria in kefir converts most of its lactose into lactic acid, making it easier on the stomach than milk. People with lactose intolerances can usually consume kefir without issue.
  • ...strengthens bones and teeth. 100 grams of kefir contains about 120 milligrams of calcium and 92 milligrams of phosphorus, minerals which help keep bones and teeth strong and healthy.
  • ...is rich in protein. 100 grams of kefir contains about 3.3 g of protein, more than your average daily requirement.

What You Should Know About Kefir

Kefir is a milk drink most popular in Russia, where it's unique tart flavor and slew of health benefits have made it a popular beverage for centuries. While its flavor won't be odd to most American palates, with a consistency like thick milk and a taste like fresh fat-free yogurt, the process by which it's made might be more difficult to stomach. For all intents and purposes kefir is spoiled milk, fermented over 24 hours to yield a sour flavor and almost carbonated consistency. If fermented milk might sound a bit odd, remember that kefir is produced in much the same way yogurt is. As a result, it contains many of the gut-healthy active bacterias that are so coveted in yogurt.

Origins

Kefir originally comes from the Caucasuses and Siberia. 

Season

Kefir is available all year round.

Taste

Kefir tastes sour, piquant and refreshing. 

Kefir Cookbooks

Find all our recipes with kefir here.

How Healthy is Kefir?

Kefir is one of the healthiest foods around. Due to its living lactic acid bacteria contents, keir is rightly considered extremely beneficial for a sensitive or stressed stomach, especially for the intestines. The lactic acid bacteria ensure the intestinal flora remains in balance, which is important for healthy digestion and a strong immune system. Kefir is also much lower in lactose than milk, so can be a substitute for some people who suffer from lactose intolerance.

KEFIR NUTRTIONAL INFO (100 ML)  
Calories 61
Protein 3.3 g
Fat 3.5 g
Carbohydrates 4 g
Fiber 0 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

The most popular type of kefir is the milder version, made from low-fat milk. This is also the lowest calorie version. For your first time trying kefir, we recommend this variety, which is also the most widely-available in the U.S.  

Storage

As with all dairy products, kefir should always be kept in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks.

What to Make With Kefir

Pure kefir is considered an extremely refreshing drink, but you can also mix fruit with kefir for tasty, low-calorie drinks like smoothies. Kefir also goes great in desserts or as a base for homemade yogurt.

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