Kefir is one of the best things you can take to boost your immune system, fight off cancer and IBS and provide good bacteria for your intestines.
A Brief History of Kefir
Kefir is a fermented milk product that is a type of yogurt that originally came from Central Asia.
In fact, any kefir grains you find are descendants of the original grains that were discovered countless generations ago.
Kefir and the kefir grains themselves were an extremely important feature in the nomadic lifestyle of the people found in the mountainous Central Asia region.
They would use the kefir grains to change the raw milk into kefir, breaking down the majority of lactose found in the milk, helping many of the region’s adults (the majority of whom are lactose intolerant) more easily digest the milk once transformed into kefir.
Kefir is made up of a diverse community of bacteria and fungi that live together in the kefir grains. It’s a Symbiotic Community Of Bacteria and Yeasts (SCOBY) with dozens of different probiotic cultures that dwarf the amount found in traditional probiotic cultures found in commonly available grocery store yogurt.
Most probiotic yogurts contain only 1 or 2 different strains of helpful bacteria, and they were raised in a laboratory, whereas kefir contains dozens of different kinds and is all-natural.
Simply put, kefir is one of the highest probiotic foods that you can eat.
It’s these bacterial miracle workers found in the kefir grain that turns milk into kefir, the all-natural probiotic source that comes with a large list of health benefits.
If you want to cut to the chase and learn how to make your own kefir (it’s really easy), you can read my article here.
Let’s move on to some of the health benefits.
Health Benefits of Kefir
Kefir’s health benefits mainly affect your digestive system.
And since more than 75% of your immune system is located in your digestive system, taking care of your intestinal health and digestive system needs to be a priority when it comes to your health and well being. (1)
If you can’t absorb the nutrients found in your food due to an imbalance of the right kind of bacteria in your digestive system, your body will never be operating as efficiently as possible.
And when your body doesn’t operate efficiently it can result in different sicknesses, a loss of energy and can contribute to problems managing your weight.
Kefir Helps Detoxify Your System
With all of the processed foods we eat and the generally toxic environment around us, this is an important one, as any source of food that helps detoxify your system is a good thing.
And our wonder food kefir contains lactic acid bacteria (1) which can kill off various forms food-born toxins created by mold and other fungi.
These forms of food-born toxins are little nasties often found in nuts (which is why so many people have allergic and immunal reactions to them), different forms of vegetable oils and various forms of grains.
Kefir Helps Fight Cancer
The Journal of Dairy Science put forth a study that found that by eating kefir regularly, it helped strengthen immune cells and helped stop the grown of breast cancer in mice. (1)
Kefir Can Boost Your Immune System
The University College Cork in Ireland released a study that compared the probiotics found in kefir to conventional antibiotics in 3 different animal tests that are very similar to humans.
They found that in all 3 tests it found that kefir “significantly protected against infection” and was more effective than the use of antibiotics in destroying the infectious agent and fixing the symptoms. (1)
Kefir Can Help Heal IBS and IBD
A Canadian medical journal found that eating foods that are high in probiotics (kefir being one of the best) can help heal and reduce the inflammation of the bowel commonly found in IBS and IBD. (1)
The great thing about this is that kefir is a completly natural source – a welcome alternative to other IBS and IBD treatments.
Kefir Increases Bone Density
As we have been told repeatedly: drinking more milk can help increase bone density due to the calcium found in it.
But a 2014 study in Osteoporosis International (a medical journal) found that kefir took things even a step further as it helps increase the absorption of the minerals that increase bone density: calcium and magnesium. (1)
As you know, even if you consume large amounts of calcium or magnesium if your body isn’t able to absorb it – it ends up having little to no benefit as your body will just flush it out.
But with kefir increasing the rate of absorption, it really takes this to the next level.
Kefir Can Help Reduce Allergies and Asthma
The Journal of Immunology found that the use of kefir had positive effects on both allergies and asthma.
It found that kefir helped suppress inflammatory markers and that it had very strong anti-inflammatory properties that may in fact help prevent people from getting asthma. (2)
Kefir Can Reduces Lactose Intolerance
As I briefly mentioned before, the kefir grain actually removes a lot of the lactose found in milk, which may help lactose intolerant people be able to tolerate and enjoy kefir.
Now, if you’re lactose intolerant and want to try this please start with very low doses at first to see how it works for you. Consulting your doctor first is probably a good idea as well.
Whenever I come across a naturally occurring food like this that has all these health benefits, I try to add it to my diet whenever possible and kefir is no different.
So for the past few weeks I’ve added it to my diet and I can say that my stomach/intestines seem much happier.
The main thing that I’ve noticed so far is that I have a lot less gas and bloating and my stomach seems a lot more settled.
I’ve been making the kefir myself (it’s super easy) and adding it to my dry cereal and I’ve been putting it in my smoothies as well every day. You can see my smoothy recipe here.
The nice thing about kefir is that you can probably pick up a kefir grain locally to get started for next to nothing and I have more specific details available in my article on how to make kefir located here.