Gut health is one of the most important aspects of your physical well-being. Your digestive health determines how nutrients are processed and used, how quickly waste and toxins leave the body, and how well your other bodily systems function.
It should come as no surprise that probiotics are a big part of gut health. Maintaining high levels of good bacteria in your body can assist in the digestive process, flush toxins out of your body more quickly, and lower your risk of infection by bad bacteria.
Although yogurt and probiotics are excellent ways to establish your gut health, consider adding kefir to your diet. This drink tastes like yogurt but the texture is more fluid than yogurt’s. You can make your own kefir at home for added health benefits.
What is Kefir?
Kefir (pronounced ke-feer) is a probiotic-rich drink that is based in roughly 10 to 20 different types of good bacteria. Like yogurt, it has a tangy taste that is very distinctive. However, it is a bit thinner than yogurt, which means that you can use it in a variety of different ways. I use it in smoothies, making dips and sauces, marinating, and cooking.
Why Is Kefir Better Than Yogurt?
There are a few important reasons why kefir is better than yogurt and should be consumed regularly to build gut health. Here are just a short list of comparisons:
- Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.
- Kefir contains many times more probiotics than yogurt, and have several major bacterial strands that yogurt doesn’t have.
- It also contains beneficial yeasts that dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body.
- The curd size of kefir are much finer than yogurt, making it easier to digest and suitable for babies and individuals who have digestive disorders.
How to Make Your Own Kefir
Just like other probiotic-based foods and beverages, you can purchase kefir at a grocery store and even at restaurants or shops that focus on natural living. If you want to make your own kefir with minimal effort, you can buy starter packs in the form of powder.
By following the simple steps below, you can actually create your own kefir from a starter grain and have enough starters to create enough for your home. You can even give starter grains to friends and family members. Don’t worry—kefir grains are not actually grain. They are made of yeast and bacteria.
If you aren’t sure where to buy kefir grains to get started, check with local farms, natural living communities, and homesteaders. They may have grains they are ready to let go of. Then, follow these steps:
- Put 1 tablespoon of kefir grains at the bottom of a large glass jar.
- Pour 1 quart of whole milk over the grains. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean cloth.
- Over the next 2 days, stir the mixture with a plastic spoon.
- Once the mixture has thickened, strain it. The liquid is the kefir you can drink and enjoy. The solid grains that are the left are the cultures that can be used to start other jars of kefir.
- If you are not going to use the grains right away, just store them in a bit of milk to keep the cultures active.