Kefir seems to have an answer to everything including diabetes. This is good news since according to a 2010 poll, there are already 285 million people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, which is the most common type of this disease. I am not diabetic, but I am a kefir fan and I want to know if kefir can indeed benefit even diabetics.
I am just amazed at how many illnesses kefir can treat, and so I want to know if it can also help people suffering from diabetes. I do understand that there is no cure to diabetes. It is a chronic disease, which means once you have it, you have it for life.
The goal of a diabetic and his doctor is to manage the disease in order to avoid diabetic complications and make life beautiful again. Such complications include a host of bad to dreadful news such as hypertension, stroke, heart disease and death. I want to see if kefir can help diabetics avoid these dreaded complications, and I have a simple 2-step plan to investigate this.
One, I will try to understand what diabetes is and what diabetics need; and two, I will look into the different properties and capabilities of kefir that could address the needs of a diabetic. I am not a doctor. But although my investigation may not be as deep as a doctor’s would, it will be carefully researched, easy to understand and hopefully helpful for a person suffering from diabetes. That said, here we go.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much sugar in your body. Sugar tastes yummy, but if you have much more than your body needs, sugar will do a lot of harm to your organs and could lead to a heart attack. Normally, our bodies burn sugar so that there won’t be an oversupply of it. Our pancreas produces a hormone whose main task is to convert sugar (glucose) into energy for our cells. The hormone is called insulin.
A person who has Type 1 Diabetes does not produce insulin, and so there is overabundance of sugar. Normally, it is the children who suffer from this type. Type 2 diabetics are those whose bodies can’t produce enough insulin or can’t properly convert them into energy.
Type 2 Diabetes typically results from bad eating habits, too much alcohol and very little exercise. This makes perfect sense. If you eat and drink too many sweets (and carbohydrates), you will have an overabundance of sugar in your body. And if you don’t exercise, the glucose won’t convert into energy.
Another type is called gestational diabetes. Only pregnant women get this since pregnancy leads to the overproduction of blood glucose. This condition could lead to Type 2.
What Type 2 diabetics need is simple: a change of lifestyle and a sufficient dose of insulin.
Diabetic patients should start to seriously watch what they eat. They should eat healthy (fewer carbs, less sugar, less alcohol) and lose weight.
And so, that is all I need say about diabetes for the moment. The data may not be as extensive as how a doctor would have discussed it, but it pretty much covers the basics relevant to our question. Now, let’s take a closer look at kefir.
Kefir is a milk that has been fermented by a bacteria culture that is present in kefir grains. Kefir grains are made up of yeasts and bacteria that exist symbiotically in a community of proteins and sugars. Simply put, kefir is fermented milk with a host of probiotics (friendly, beneficial bacteria). It is also packed with enzymes, folic acid, vitamins (B and K) and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Another important content is digestible protein. The types of protein found in kefir are not meat-based and so they will neither damage the heart nor raise cholesterol levels. Instead, they will help in rebuilding cells, organs and systems.
Kefir, specifically water kefir, also has lactic acids. While milk kefir grains (the more popular type of kefir) ferment milk by feeding on lactose, water kefir grains feed on sugar. They are mixed with sugar-water solution to produce a bubbly, carbonated water kefir drink, which many consider a healthy soda pop substitute.
As water kefir grains eat the sugar in the solution, they produce carbon dioxide, alcohol and lactic acid. The production of lactic acid is the first sign of help for diabetics. Due to kefir’s capability to produce lactic acid, this beverage could prove to be very beneficial to diabetic patients, specifically in the area of reducing blood sugar levels due to its acidity. Several studies prove (and most diabetics know this) that even a little amount of acid can reduce blood glucose levels. Doctors often advise diabetic patients to consume lemon, vinegar or extra virgin oil for their acidic contents.
According to “The Diabetes Club”, people with diabetes should also consider drinking kefir and other fermented dairy products with lactic acid such as yogurt, sour milk and some cottage cheeses. Furthermore, what diabetics need that kefir can provide is the power to win over the unnecessary cravings for food. In addition to lactic acid, kefir has naturally occurring sugar contents and these can help in regulating blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels drop, people feel an urge to eat. Kefir can eliminate those urges. This is also why kefir is considered a helpful drink for weightwatchers.
So, there it is. This was not a very extensive investigation but I believe it makes a lot of sense. The web is teeming with testimonials of diabetic patients who have found a sense of balance and happiness after including kefir in their regular diet. The best thing about kefir is that is has no side effects. This means diabetics have nothing to lose and potentially with everything to gain when drinking kefir.