Milk is the only beverage that we can’t live without. We begin life with it! It is one of the most complete diets you can ever consume; it contains protein, water, carbohydrates, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. It’s just so sad that we outlive drinking milk. I have not had a glass in 20 years.
But I have been drinking a variant of milk that is even more nutritious than regular milk. It’s called kefir milk. Funny name for a milk, but what it can do for you, as it has done for me, is no laughing matter.
“Kefir” is not a brand name. The term most probably came from the Turkish word “keif”, which means “feel good”; we can trace the roots of the beverage itself from Turkey and its surrounding areas. Some argue that “kefir” came from two Persian words — “kef”, which means “foam”, and “shir”, which means “milk” pertaining to a foamy, fermented milk drink that contains bacteria, yeasts, polysaccharides, enzymes Ö. Oops, are you getting all of these? I might be going too fast here. Let’s slow down a bit and go point by point.
What is kefir? Know what it can do for you, where you can buy a drink and how you can make your own.
What is kefir?
Kefir is a cultured beverage that is rich with enzymes and living friendly bacteria. It is a creamy, yogurt-like fermented milk drink that is made up of kefir grains and regular milk that you buy in the grocery.
If you thought you have not drunk anything fermented before, think again. Beer, apple cider and wine are all fermented drinks, and you love them. Don’t dismiss kefir as something you won’t even try smelling simply because it’s fermented. It’s this fermentation that makes it healthy.
What can kefir do for you?
Drinking milk kefir regularly will free you from most, if not all illnesses that have something to do with your intestines, immune system and nervous system. I will name these illnesses a bit later. For now, let’s take a closer look at what’s inside kefir to explain how this wonder beverage can fight off so many illnesses and health problems.
A kefir drink is regular milk that has been fermented by cultured kefir grains. Kefir grains are where the magic begins. They are made up of living micro-organisms called probiotics, which pertains to bacteria that are beneficial to life.
Probiotics thrive in milk; they “eat” the lactose and proteins found in regular milk and transform the milk into a living product that will cleanse your digestive tract from pathogenic (harmful) organisms and repopulate it with good ones. It is that simple and straightforward — kefir removes bad microbes from your intestines and adds good microbes. And this process happens in a natural and organic manner; there are no drugs, chemicals or synthetic microbes involved.
In addition to the probiotics, kefir also has yeast, enzymes and loads of proteins, vitamins and minerals. All of these natural contents work together to deliver kefir’s healing, therapeutic and medical benefits. So what are the illnesses that can be treated by kefir? Here they are; get ready for a delightful surprise.
Drinking kefir regularly can help treat diarrhea, intestinal disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorder, depression, skin disorders, attention deficiency hyperactive disorder (ADHD), heart problems, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. It also promotes weight loss, controls blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, cleanses the digestive system and boosts the immune system. (Read this list of benefits in drinking kefir again and notice that almost all major health concerns are in it.)
And you may not believe it, but there are more benefits from kefir if taken regularly. Users and researchers are convinced that this wonder beverage can prolong youthfulness, improve blood circulation, reverse senility, fight rheumatism and thrombosis, and help the liver and gallbladder function better.
But the real good news is this: you can make kefir by yourself in your own kitchen. Making kefir at home is just as easy. It’s very simple: mix regular milk and kefir grains in a glass, let it stay for 24 hours, and the next day enjoy your healthy dose of milk kefir. There’s nothing to it.
Here are some specifics when making kefir at home. You can buy kefir grains online or at any health store. Kefir grains are living organisms; they are not created in a lab or factory. People culture and grow them.
Use only a tablespoon of kefir grains for every 500ml glass jar. You can use any type of milk — cow’s milk, goat’s milk, low-fat, etc.
Ferment longer than 24 hours if you wish. The longer you wait, the more your drink becomes thick and sour.
Don’t throw away used grains; toss out the first batch of your kefir to re-establish their micro flora first. Do a second fermentation by removing the grains; during the second round, you can add fruit cuts or fruit juices to give special flavor to your kefir. You can make kefir smoothies and let your kids try it, too.
I have noticed that more and more people are beginning to like water kefir more than milk kefir. Water kefir is like soda or beer. Try it. To sweeten your water kefir, do not add honey since honey has properties that are found to harm water kefir grains.
Finally, if for some reason these easy-to-follow steps are still too difficult for you, there are ready-made kefir drinks for sale in most health stores that do sell kefir. They taste good but I’d rather make my own. You won’t need to learn how to make kefir from store-bought kefir; simply sip and enjoy the benefits.