Kefir might not be as trendy as chia seeds or quinoa, but it's making a stir in the health food scene. This fermented milk drink, which hails from Eastern Europe, is often likened to drinkable yogurt in taste and health benefits. It's mildly sweet and tangy and is a probiotic powerhouse. Some even say that kefir has more to offer health-wise than yogurt. Here's why:
1. Kefir has more probiotics than yogurt. Not just more, but 3 times more. Probiotics are important because they help curb the growth of harmful bacteria and give our immune system a boost.
2. Kefir contains Lactobacillus kefiri, a probiotic found only in this drink. Studies have found this particular probiotic can inhibit the growth of serious bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli. This is impressive, to say the least.
3. Kefir is a calcium powerhouse, containing 20 percent of the recommended daily intake. It also contains the vitamin K2, which is also incredibly beneficial to bone health.
4. It's loaded with B vitamins. Kefir contains 14 percent of the recommended intake for B12, which is essential for your blood and nervous system. And it's full of B1 too, which can help you withstand stress. (We could all use a little bit of that.)
5. Kefir is also a great source of protein. It boasts 10.5 grams of protein per cup. And with all the other good-for-you nutrition it contains, this is one source of protein you can feel really good about.
But wait, we haven't even told you the best part about kefir: it is easy to make at home. This is great news because the homemade kind is even better for you than the commercial variety -- it contains more probiotics.
Commercial kefirs are made using a powdered starter culture, but the homemade kind are made with kefir grains (which can easily be purchased online). These "grains" are actually a mixture of lactic acid, bacteria and yeasts and if they're well cared for they can be used to make kefir indefinitely, much like sourdough starters work. Interested? Here's what you need to know:
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