If you’re not taking care of your gut health, you’re neglecting your overall health and kefir can help this.
This article will look at everything to do with one of the best probiotic choices out there; kefir. We’ll look at 10 kefir health benefits, what makes it such a beneficial probiotic choice, and how to include it in your diet.
Why Is Gut Health So Important?
The more we learn about gut health the more we see how crucial it is for improving how the body functions. Probiotic-rich foods help to improve your gut health and kefir is right at the top of the list. A healthy gut leads to things like:
- A healthier immune system
- better digestion and absorption of nutrient
- Improved heart health
- Can help combat autoimmune disorders
- Improved sleep
The other big thing, when it comes to the importance of gut health, is how your gut can be considered your second brain. You have certain things in your body like serotonin and endorphins and these are neurotransmitters that help to improve your mood.
It turns out that 2/3rds of these neurotransmitters are made in the gut and an unhealthy gut can cause cognitive issues and depression.
This is all controlled by the good bacteria in the gut but when it gets out of balance with bad bacteria, gut health goes downhill. And your health along with it. A lot of things can upset this gut bacteria balance in favor of the bad bacteria including:
- stress and anxiety
- processed foods including refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Too much alcohol
- Not getting enough sleep
This is where the health benefits of probiotic-rich foods become important, and kefir will be one of the best choices.
What Is Kefir And Its Other Health Benefits?
Kefir is a fermented milk product which can be considered a milk alternative. It contains milk but – most importantly – kefir grains. These aren’t the type of wheat grains you may picture but instead are combinations of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts mixed with protein, fat, and sugars.
When these are all mixed they resemble grains and sort of look like cauliflower. Fermentation is where the magic happens and milk from either cow, goat, or sheep is used. The lactose in the milk gets broken down by the lactic acid and the lactic acid bacteria.
The yeast from the “grains” breaks down the lactose into ethanol and carbon dioxide giving kefir its bubbly look and carbonated taste. Because of the fermentation process, very little lactose remains and can be a decent choice for those who suffer from lactose intolerance.
The whole process is like making kombucha and what’s left is a liquid that contains live microflora that will help feed the good bacteria in the gut boosting its overall health.
We looked at 5 benefits of a healthier gut, now let’s look at 5 more kefir health benefits that will hopefully inspire you to include it in your life.
1. It Can Enhance The Liver
Many people may have fatty liver disease and may not even know of it. The usual recommendations are to consume a high fiber/low-fat diet and increase your exercise level. This will be critical but kefir may also serve a big health benefit when it’s added into the diet. The probiotics in the kefir can improve the gut bacterial balance and this can impact fat accumulation in the liver.
2. Kefir Has Antibacterial Properties
Not only do the probiotics found in kefir help to improve the immune system but the kefir grains specifically can inhibit the growth, or invasion, of pathogenic bacteria and parasites. This is a promising thing not only for our health but in addition, for countries, and areas where there is more exposure to pathogens and parasites.
3. It Can Improve Bone Health
This has some practical implications for those who suffer from osteoporosis and is one of the unexpected health benefits of kefir. For any bone-related conditions, an increase in calcium is always an important strategy. But the use of kefir can increase calcium absorption and enhancing bioactivities.
4. Kefir May Inhibit Tumor Growth
They don’t seem sure exactly why kefir does this, but they have seen it exhibit anti-tumoral activity in vivo which means they’re testing on whole, living organisms including animals and people. In some studies, they observed kefir to have the ability to induce cell cycle arrest at the early stages. It’s pretty amazing that this ancient and natural substance is being studied to observe its action on cancer cells in vitro.
5. Kefir May Improve Symptoms Of Asthma
Another one of the unexpected health benefits seen from consuming kefir. Keep in mind this has mostly been studied in mice, but what they’re observing is kefir can reduce inflammation in lung tissue and also reduce the mucus that is in the airway.
Kefir seems to produce anti-allergic effects and has been observed to possess the new therapeutic potential to treat allergic bronchial asthma. That’s pretty mind-blowing for something you can make in your own home.
There are some tremendous kefir health benefits and hopefully, you’re inspired to use it. Not only are there the great gut health benefits – that are crucially important – but it has some other surprising ways to boost health.
It’s easy to use and you can find flavored versions to use as a salad dressing or marinade. We can also substitute kefir for milk, yogurt, or buttermilk in most recipes.