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Improve Your Digestive Health With Kefir

Improve Your Digestive Health With Kefir | Growing Up Herbal | Got digestive issues? Homemade kefir, a cultured dairy product, could help. Here's how!

Having a healthy digestive system is key in preventing sickness and disease.

Is your digestive system healthy?

Well if you struggle with issues like:

  • Excessive and Foul Smelling Gas
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Acid Reflux
  • Sharp Pain Below Shoulder Blades
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Sudden Changes in Stool
  • Hard Stool, Light Color Stool
  • Foul Smelling Stools
  • Bad Breath
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Skin Eruptions; Eczema, Hives, etc.
  • Acne
  • Excessive Weight
  • Inability to Lose Weight
  • Malnutrition
  • Fatigue

… then you could be suffering from poor digestive health.

Now don’t worry! There are things you can do to correct the problem and to achieve good digestive health.

Today I’m going to share one easy and delicious food that you can include in your diet that will really help get your digestive system on the path to better health.

Meet Kefir

Kefir is simply a cultured milk product that is full of beneficial organisms for your gut. It’s also full of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, and is very similar to yogurt except that it’s much thinner and runnier.

Kefir is made by adding “kefir grains” to milk and allowing it to culture.

According to Wikipedia, “kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars”. This matrix forms the “grains” which resemble cauliflower.

Health Benefits of Kefir

Like I said earlier, kefir is like a probiotic so the more you drink it, the more beneficial organisms you’re introducing into your gut. The more beneficial organisms you have in your gut, the less harmful ones you have, and the less harmful ones you have the better your digestive system functions and the healthier you are! Typically, kefir is known to have more than 50 live strains of bacteria and yeast in it.

Kefir is also something that people who are lactose intolerant can sometimes handle. The culturing process of kefir causes the lactose in the milk to be converted to lactic acid, but some reports suggest that there’s still anywhere from 20-50% lactose remaining in the finished kefir. For those who are lactose intolerant, but only have a mild reaction, kefir can be an excellent way to still enjoy dairy and get the good health benefits from it as well, but those who have serious reactions to lactose should most likely stay away from it. Instead, try water kefir or kefir made from almond milk or coconut milk! Click here for an excellent comparison of milk kefir and water kefir!

Kefir is very high in folic acid when you let it culture longer than usual. This is great for ladies looking to get pregnant or for those who are pregnant. The only downside to this is that the longer you let your kefir culture, the sourer it will taste. Thankfully you can sweeten kefir to mask the flavor. Check out KefirRecipes.net for a ton of recipes that you can make using kefir.

How To Make Kefir

Kefir is made by taking milk and adding “kefir grains” to it. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 tsp. of kefir grains for every 2 cups of milk.

  1. Combine your kefir grains and milk in a clean glass jar and cover it loosely with a lid.
  2. Place it in a warm spot out of direct sunlight for 12-24 hours to allow the culture process to take place. You can stir your kefir 1-2 times to keep the grains mixed well if you’d like, but it’s not necessary.
  3. After 24 hours, strain the kefir through a fine sieve so that your kefir comes through, but your grains stay in the sieve.
  4. Place your finished kefir in the refrigerator to store, and use your kefir grains to start the process over again.

Kefir Tid-Bits

  • Your kefir will culture faster the warmer they are and vice-versa. They’ll culture slowly if they’re kept in a cooler area.
  • If you don’t want to make another batch of kefir, cover your kefir grains with a small amount of finished kefir and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make some more. The cold temperature stops the culturing process.
  • Don’t leave your kefir culturing for more than 48 hours at room temperature because your kefir grains will start to starve and they’ll die. No more kefir for you until you get new grains.
  • Kefir can be made using raw milk, canned milk, or store-bought, pasteurized milk.

Where To Get Kefir Grains

You can order kefir grains online or you can get them from someone who already makes kefir. As you make kefir, your grains will continue to grow and multiply. You can divide the grains and share them or you can start doubling your batches… whatever you prefer.

CulturesForHealth.com is a great place to order all sorts of cultures for healthy products. Definitely check it out.

Finally…

Kefir is a great thing to include in your diet. It’s simple, easy, and cheap to make. The more you use it, the more comfortable you’ll become with it, and you’ll be amazed at the power cultured and fermented foods will have on your health!

Have you tried kefir? What’s your favorite way to add it into your diet?

 

10 thoughts on “Improve Your Digestive Health With Kefir”

  1. I’m still very new to making natural changes for my family and struggling with taking the time to make and eat real healthy foods. I know that all of us, especially my 21 mo old daughter need some digestive health makeovers. I’ve read about your supplement possibilities for children, but are very limited budget-wise. This looked like a simple thing to start adding to our diets that might help get us in the right direction. A few questions: After you make it, how long will it last in your fridge? Do you just drink it like you would a glass of milk? Could I mix it in with my daughter’s regular milk to get her used to the taste? Can you use it in cooking/recipes? Also on the CulturesForHealth Website, what is the difference between the “Milk Kefir Grains” and the “Kefir Starter Culture”, which would I want to get that you use in the process above?
    Thank you so much for all the time you give to this blog, I am on it everyday reading your articles and trying to learn. I’ve already made a few of your DIY recipes and loved them too. Thanks!

    1. Kefir is very much like yogurt only raw as it’s not heated at all. It will last in the fridge around the same length of time yogurt does. Most people can eat it like yogurt, but it’s sour so you may wanna add some vanilla extract and honey to it or blend some fruit with it. I love to use it as a base for smoothies. You can bake with it… just replace milk or yogurt with kefir. As far as the cultures for health website… if I were you I’d get the milk kefir grains because those are ready to go. The kefir starter culture is what you’d use to grow your own kefir grains and they take a while to get going. Hope that helps answer your questions! Best of luck… I think you’ll like it!

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  3. Kefir question…would the probiotics in kefir work as well as the ones in yogurt when one is taking an antibiotic?

    Thanks for your informative posts, Megan!

    1. I’d think so… in fact, I’d think kefir would be even better seeing as how it isn’t heated at all where yogurt is.

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    1. I’ve read many places that say heating finished kefir doesn’t get rid of ALL the health benefits, but it gets rid of the probiotics. That said, most of us drink it for the probiotics

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