by Angela Villavicencio-Requis
If you are living in North America, kefir is probably something you have never heard of or even tried! It’s one of those things that seem to have escaped our health radar just because it is a fermented drink. However, for centuries Europeans and Asians have used kefir for medical purposes. Today we understand that that these health-promoting effects are likely due to the high content of B vitamins, magnesium, enzymes and most importantly probiotics!
Probiotics, which are also known as friendly microorganisms, are abundant in fermented foods. Kefir, however, is one the highest probiotic foods you can eat. We can put it simply by comparing it to yogurt: Yogurt contains on average 2-5 bacterial strains, whereas kefir contains about 35 strains!
So why does this even matter? Well first off, our guts are populated by trillions of microorganisms. And secondly, we need these microorganisms to survive. Recently science has delved into the world of these “invisible” bacteria and is proving their many benefits. Although it may not sound like the most appetizing drink, below are 3 reasons that will make you want kefir!
3 Benefits of Drinking Kefir
1. Boost Immune System
We have all experienced a cough and a cold! In fact, most adults experience 2-3 episodes per year. The harsh part about it is that there is no effective treatment. At least not until now! In a study of 20 trials revealed that probiotics reduce the duration of coughs and cold symptoms by 30% (King, 2014)! Thus far this has been found to be most effective treatment to date!
2. Lose Weight
In a recent study, researchers administered probiotics to overweight adults and found a significant reduction in fat content, body weight, and body mass index (Kadooka et al. 2010). This might be good news for some of us who have tried everything to lose weight but haven’t. No need to lose hope!
3. Help Reduce Stress
Since stress is so prevalent in today’s world, probiotic drinks like kefir might just be part of the solution. There is a lot of cool research coming out in regards to the gut-brain connection. In a recent study, (Massaoaudi et al., 2011), participants were supplemented with probiotics for 30 days. After the elapsed time, the levels of anxiety and stress were found to be lower in all the participants.
These are just three of the many benefits of drinking kefir. But besides its many healing powers, kefir also tastes great! Check the recipe below for a mouth-watering smoothie perfect for the summer season.
Sunshine Smoothie Recipe
Makes 16 oz
¼ c. Peaches (frozen or fresh)
¼ c. Mangos (frozen or fresh)
1 tsp. Lucuma
½ c. Milk Kefir
1/4 -1/2 c. Ice
Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until all ingredients are combined. Serve and enjoy!