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This fermented milk drink is known to support holistic health and wellbeing. Here’s what science says...

With 30 different strains of good bacteria, kefir (kuh-FEAR) has been supporting vibrant health for thousands of years. Made from animal milk and a starter compound of bacteria and yeast, this fermented milk drink contains a complex and beneficial microbial brew.Its name is even derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good.”

But is kefir good for you and safe for your wellness? Well, read on for more!

Supports Bone Strength

Packed with calcium, vitamin K, and a host of minerals, kefir is a bone-strengthening brew. Its bioactive compounds even help the body absorb calcium better. Vitamin K also assists in calcium absorption as well as bone density.  

Improves Gut Health

One of kefir’s most important health benefits is its impact on gut health. Teaming with probiotics, it can support a balanced microbiome with sufficient healthy bacteria for effective digestion. Endless health benefits, from increased metabolism to improved mental focus, are associated with a functional gut. 

Promotes Respiratory Health

Kefir has a natural anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Inflammation, of course, is linked to many health problems, including respiratory ailments like asthma and viral infections. Additionally, kefir’s live microorganisms appear to help suppress lung inflammation, allergic reactions and even modulate the immune system’s likelihood of experiencing allergies. 

May Fight Cancer

Because of its highly probiotic nature, kefir very well might aid the fight against cancer. Studies indicate that drinking it may decelerate the growth of early-phase tumours. In fact, one study showed that kefir could reduce breast cancer cells by 56% compared to yogurt’s 14%.  

Boosts Immunity

The nutrients and probiotics in kefir support enhanced immune health. In particular, two compounds only found in this beverage are illness-fighting powerhouses. First, Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens fights harmful bacteria like E. coli. Second, the polysaccharide kefiran is an effective antifungal agent.

Finally, kefir reduces oxidative stress, cholesterol and blood pressure—all of which positively impact immune health. 

Milk kefir or water kefir, both have excellent health benefits. Traditional recipes tell you how to drink or make kefir at home. You can also look for interesting ways to incorporate it into your daily cooking.

But before you take either route, talk to your healthcare provider and/or nutritionist to learn more about the possible side effects of kefir. They’ll also help you with customized options to safely consume this #FunctionalFood, so you reap all its benefits.

References

  1. Milk kefir: nutritional, microbiological and health benefits Nutr Res Rev. 2017 Jun;30(1):82-96. 
  2. The Many Faces of Kefir Fermented Dairy Products: Quality Characteristics, Flavour Chemistry, Nutritional Value, Health Benefits, and Safety Nutrients. 2020 Feb; 12(2): 346.
  3. Kefir improves bone mass and microarchitecture in an ovariectomized rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis Osteoporos Int. 2015 Feb;26(2):589-99.
  4. Role of the normal gut microbiota World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Aug 7; 21(29): 8787–8803.
  5. Kefir peptides alleviate particulate matter <4 μm (PM4.0)-induced pulmonary inflammation by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway using luciferase transgenic mice Sci Rep. 2019; 9: 11529.
  6. Kefir: A protective dietary supplementation against viral infection Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Jan; 133: 110974.
  7. Kefir extracts suppress in vitro proliferation of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer cells but not normal mammary epithelial cells J Med Food. 2007 Sep;10(3):416-22. 
  8. The Microbiota and Health Promoting Characteristics of the Fermented Beverage Kefir Front Microbiol. 2016; 7: 647.
  9. The Antimetastatic and Antiangiogenesis Effects of Kefir Water on Murine Breast Cancer Cells Integr Cancer Ther. 2016 Dec; 15(4): NP53–NP66.
  10. Antimicrobial Activity of Kefir against Various Food Pathogens and Spoilage Bacteria Korean J Food Sci Anim Resour. 2016; 36(6): 787–790.
  11. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-kefir