Probiotic Benefits of Milk Kefir and Water Kefir

buy milk and water kefir grains

Probiotics Benefits of Kefir

Definitely good for your kids

Kefir grains come in two varieties. The more common and easily recognized one is milk kefir grains while the other is water kefir grains. Water kefir grains are a relatively new discovery while the history of milk kefir is more than 2,000 years old.

Kefir users agree that the first users of kefir grains were the people living in the Caucasus region. This area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea includes the countries of Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, as well as the southern provinces of Russia. Stories tell of how the shepherds in Turkey accidentally allowed kefir grains to ferment their milk inside leather bags. Soon, the local people started to intentionally culture their milk having discovered a number of health benefits from this fermented beverage.

Milk kefir grains turn regular milk into healthy living beverage. The grains were so special that the early users guarded them as a prized heritage. It was the Russians who first conducted official medical studies and declared that milk kefir was effective in treating tuberculosis. Users, however, know very well that it can treat more than that.

Somehow, after thousands of years, kefir reached my own kitchen in the United States. Today, I regularly drink milk kefir and experiment with water kefir from time to time. I enjoy the benefits of kefir. By taking kefir regularly (not only when I feel like it or when I’m sick), I feel protected from a number of digestive-, immuno- and neural-based illnesses.

Both milk kefir and water kefir are known to prevent and treat tuberculosis, ulcer, diarrhea, colitis, reflux, urinary tract infection, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and HIV/AIDS. They also help control hypertension, blood sugar and diabetes. Users also observe a calming sensation, and so kefir is known around the world as a cure against depression, anxiety and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Both milk kefir grains and water kefir grains are rich in probiotics although they have different bacterial strains. There are much, much more probiotics in kefir than yogurt or any other health drinks. Yogurt (considered a very helpful health drink by many) contains only two types of bacterial strain with billions of helpful microorganisms; kefir, on the other hand, has 10 strains with trillions of helpful bacteria. Kefir is clearly 10 times more beneficial than milk or yogurt. The people in Caucasus knew this by heart, now we know this based on medical studies and documented cases.

However, there is a slight yet distinctive difference between milk and water kefir drinks. Milk kefir has more nutrition, which comes naturally from the milk, while water kefir is less fattening.

Milk is the life source of all mammals. We cannot think about babies without thinking milk. As newborn and infant mammals we began our journey in this planet by sucking life-giving milk from our mother. What’s so special about milk anyway?

Milk is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and protein, which are all essential for the growth and development of our bones, teeth and over-all health. It also has carbohydrates, protein, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B. You get all of these plus more when you drink milk kefir.

It gets even more nutritious with raw milk, although you have to be careful finding a source. Some states prohibit the drinking of raw milk because of potential harm and infections. This makes a lot of sense, but if you are perfectly sure that your raw milk came from clean, grass-fed cows or goats, then go ahead.

If you ask me, I prefer organic food over processed foods anytime. I buy raw cow’s milk from a farmers market and use this to make kefir. Raw milk tastes better, too, but that’s just me. Some use raw sheep or goat’s milk. If these are not available and you would rather take pasteurized milk, then go ahead. That’s perfectly fine, too.

Meanwhile, water kefir has its own set of advantages. For one, it allows you to stay away from dairy if you’re on a vegetarian diet.

Going dairy-free is also good for lactose intolerant. Yet, milk kefir is also good for lactose intolerant since the bacteria eat the lactose before they can harm the human consumer. It there’s one milk that is friendly to people with lactose intolerance, it is milk kefir.

Two, water kefir also allows you to stay away from the fat contents of milk. Although skim, low fat and non-fat types of milk are widely available, water kefir has zero fat content, which makes it non-fattening compared to milk kefir.

Water kefir also has low glycemic index (GI). This means it releases glucose to your bloodstream at a relatively slower rate making you feel full for a longer time, and therefore not crave for food. This is why weight watchers love water kefir.

And three, it is more flexible. You can experiment more with water kefir grains since they work with any kinds of liquid as long as they have sugar contents. You can add any fruit or vegetable to make your water kefir drink more nutritious and with more exciting flavors. The result is a fizzy, soda pop-like drink, which could be your healthy soda alternative. You might also want to try using apple cider with ginger juice as medium, and be surprised just how tipsy you can get.

Water kefir is also called tibicos.

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17 thoughts on “Probiotic Benefits of Milk Kefir and Water Kefir

  1. sharon

    my mother has a problem with some glands and she is producing too much calcium. we make milk kefir at home, should she be eating it or because of the calcium problem, should she keep her distance?

    Reply
  2. Gisella Patharkar

    I use the water kefir with medicinal herbs. I start out with the water kefir grains, add some blackstrap molasses and 4 Tbsp of sugar, 4 dates (one may substitute raisins) and sometimes one bonemeal tablet as well in an 8 cup glass jug. About 1 1/2 days later when it has started to ferment nicely, I take out the grains and now I add my herbs (either holy basil (=tulsi) and skullcap or lemon grass, add some frozen orange juice concentrate and let this ferment another 1 1/2 days or so. Then I pour this in a mug through a sieve and add some soymilk. Usually take some of my supplements with this drink. Since the herbs never get heated, I feel one truly gets the full benefit of the herbs.
    We both also drink every day a full glass of milk kefir blended with some fruit.

    Reply
  3. Kerry Reid

    I have daily 1/2 cup of milk kefir daily in morning.have just acquired water kefir .having midday quite enjoy..does having both kefirs affect probiotics body is receiving….Kerry

    Reply
  4. Stephanie Petrilla

    My daughter has pink eye so I read that using probiotics for eye drops will reverse her infection. I found someone on Craig’s list that was selling milk keifer. I have it fermenting now in my pantry.im allowing it to ferment over night only so its not too thick. Of course I will try this first in my own eye. In which I already did with the yogurt keifer. And keep u updated.

    Reply
    1. Danielle

      It makes sense that kefir would help pink eye. I have used breastmilk (which contains beneficial bacteria) to cure pink eye in my infant.

      Reply
  5. Gisella Patharkar

    I have been making my milk kefir with soy milk and found that somehow actually the regular soymilk I buy works slightly better than the vanilla soymilk even though the latter has a slightly higher sugar content. I usually blend in fruit with a stick blender to make a lovely smoothie. Mine becomes thick like vanilla pudding. As for the water grain kefir. There are two stages: 1. water kefir grains, sugar (I use 4 tbsp) for a container of 8 cups. Then I add 4 dates (can be substituted with raisins) and sometimes add a calcium tablet which completely dissolves in it, and some blackstrap molasses. When it has started to ferment pretty well, I remove the dates and siphon off the grains and store in a pint jar in the fridge. Now I add beneficial herbs, return the dates, add some frozen orange juice concentrate and some more water to fill it back up to the previous level and let this ferment. Then I drink it with some soymilk added. NOTE: You can freeze milk grains but you cannot freeze water grains but with some water they should stay o.k. for quite some time.

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Milk kefir: You can put it in and on anything that sounds good to you. I put it in pancakes, homemade breads,etc. just remember that heat from cooking destroys the probiotics which is why you make kefir in the first place. Occasionally I will use it in recipes when I run out of milk.

      Reply
  6. sarah

    Great info. I am thinking about getting started with this. My only concern, I normally stay away from sugar, and water kefir requires it. Does the sugar change during fermentation and become more “healthy”? Hearing that it is similar to pop makes me unsure.

    Reply
    1. Andee

      Sarah, I was curious about the same thing and found this:
      Q. I don’t consume any sugar, can I drink Water Kefir?
      A. After fermentation, very little sugar remains. If you tolerate Kombucha, you should not have a problem with Water Kefir. You can also try Coconut Water Kefir, which does not contain very much sugar to begin with.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. sue

    I have some water kefir grains – can I start a batch of milk kefir with them? is there a difference between water & milk kefir grains. thanks in advance for your answer.

    Reply
    1. K B Getz

      No. The grains for each are very different. Milk kefir grains look like a cluster of cauliflower. Water kefir grain look more like little clumps of sand.

      Reply

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