If you've spent any time this summer dealing with stomach pain, you might have looked into what probiotics can do for you — and more than likely, you probably came across the wonders of kefir.
Kefir, a cultured milk product with health benefits that include everything from three times more probiotics than yogurt to calcium to protein, is becoming increasingly popular and easy to find in your neighbourhood grocery store.
The cottage-cheese looking stuff can be added to smoothies or yogurt (for even more probiotic benefits) or just taken plain, though the slight fizziness it often contains (thanks to its fermentation process) might be tough to take in at first.
We've gathered together a variety of products that contain kefir to make it easy to add to your daily diet. Check out the recommended amounts and let us know if you have some new ways to include it in your day.
The "additional" ingredients: Partly skimmed milk, skim milk powder, cane sugar (in flavoured beverages), natural flavour and colour (in flavoured beverages)
How much of it should you have?: Serving size is listed as 175 mL (3/4 cup)
Any particular time?: Unspecified in order to balance the digestive system, but they do suggest using the bottle within 14 days for "optimal freshness"
Liberté Organic Kefir
What is it: A probiotic drink (plain or flavoured)
The "additional" ingredients: Partly skimmed organic milk, yeast
How much of it should you have?: Serving size is listed as 125 mL (1/2 cup). Liberté suggests starting with small amounts and progressively increasing.
Any particular time?: Whenever you'd normally eat yogurt or a smoothie, to aid digestion
Where to find it: At grocery and specialty stores across Canada
What is it: Coconut water combined with probiotics like kefir
The "additional" ingredients: Stevia, flavourings (depending on the water)
How much of it should you have?: Start with just a teaspoon, then work up to either a quarter-cup or half a cup daily (over the course of a week or so). The amount depends on whether you're drinking for maintenance or to correct an imbalance
Any particular time?: Right before bed to kill pathogenic yeasts, says the company, or before or during a meal to aid with digestion
Nancy's Cultured Dairy And Soy
What is it: Lowfat milk combined with probiotics like kefir
The "additional" ingredients: Inulin, agave (depending on whether or not drink is flavoured)
How much of it should you have?: The serving size on the container is 240 mL (approximately one cup)
Any particular time?: Nancy's recommends you add the milk either on its own or in a smoothie, to stimulate the immune system, provide healthy flora and improve digestion
Where to find it: Various locations in western Canada, including Whole Foods and Capers
The "additional" ingredients: Camellia sinensis leaves
How much of it should you have?: 20 mL per day (four teaspoons), mixed with water, juice or salad dressing
Any particular time?: Unspecified, but it's meant to regulate digestion, detoxify, maintain a healthy intestinal tract and stimulate the body's natural immunity, according to the company
Happy Days Goat Milk Kefir
What is it: Fermented goat milk infused with kefir and other probiotics (also available in cow milk)
The "additional" ingredients: Unavailable
How much of it should you have?: Serving size is 250 mL (one cup)
Any particular time?: Unspecified, but according to the company, goat milk is particularly beneficial, thanks to its prebiotics and gastrointestinal assistance
Where to find it: Wide variety of locations across western Canada
What is it: Making your own kefir, as explained by Freestyle Farm, with kefir grains
The "additional" ingredients: Milk
How much of it should you have?: Not specified
Any particular time?: Generally in the morning (with smoothies, yogurt, etc.)