Kefir is considered to be particularly healthy and supports digestion and the immune system. In the Caucasus, his homeland, Kefir is called because of its positive effect as "drink of the centenarians". But what is its effect? What is kefir and which ingredients does this drink contain? Find out everything worth knowing about kefir here.
What is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is produced during the fermentation of milk in combination with kefir mushrooms. Originally it was made from mare's milk, today mostly cow's milk is used. The viscous drink tastes as acidic as buttermilk, but contains carbon dioxide and therefore bubbles easily.
Depending on the manufacturing process, kefir has a low alcohol content. In addition to Milchkefir, there is also Wasserkefir, which is made with the help of a sugary water solution and the kombucha resembles.
What are kefir mushrooms?
The kefir fungi used for making the milk drink, often referred to as kefir rolls, are a mixture of yeasts and bacteria. These cause a fermentation, in which lactose (lactose) is converted into lactic acid, alcohol and carbon dioxide. Kefir mushrooms are available from the health food store and can be used multiple times.
Healthy effect of kefir
Kefir is considered very healthy because it stimulates intestinal activity and has many nutrients. But its effect is even more diverse:
- Kefir contains a lot of protein, vitamins A, D, B vitamins and folic acid. It also provides calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine. These are important for bones and teeth, muscles, nerves and the thyroid gland.
- Kefir is also popular because of its probiotics. In contrast to other dairy products such as yoghurt or buttermilk, traditional kefir contains lactic acid bacteria as well as yeasts and acetic acid bacteria. In the colon, these microorganisms support the intestinal flora, eliminate pathogens and thus strengthen the body's defenses.
- Skim milk kefir is rich in protein, satisfying, low in fat and low in calories. Therefore, it is often used in diets - for example, in shakes, with fresh fruit or pureed vegetables. At the same time, a healthy intestinal flora has a positive effect on the energy metabolism and can thus support weight loss.
- Kefir should also help with beautiful skin - not only because an intact intestinal flora plays an important role in the fight against pimples and blackheads. Kefir is also used in cleansing and moisturizing face masks.
Kefir in pregnancy
Through the fermentation process, traditional kefir has an alcohol content of 0.3 to 2 percent. Similar to non-alcoholic beer or fruit juices, this amount is considered uncritical as long as you consume the beverages in moderation.
Often, pregnant women are even recommended to drink a glass of kefir a day because of their high folate content. The vitamin supports the cell development, which is why it is increasingly needed during pregnancy.
Production of kefir
If you want to make kefir yourself, you have to allow milk and a kefir mushroom to ferment airtight, room warm and dark for up to two days. Then the mass is strained to remove the kefir fungus again. All types of milk are suitable for kefir production - whether cow, sheep or goat's milk. A higher fat content makes the drink creamier, organic milk provides additional nutrients. For reasons of hygiene, fresh milk should first be boiled off or H-milk should be used as otherwise the kefir culture could become contaminated with germs.
Buy kefir or do it yourself?
The kefir to be bought under the name "kefir mild" differs from the homemade one in the manufacturing process. In industrially produced kefir, bacteria and yeast are used instead of kefir fungi. As a result, not only the taste changes, it is also no alcohol, but it contains lactose.
However, traditional kefir, while containing alcohol, is almost lactose-free and therefore more suitable for people with lactose intolerance. It is believed that traditional kefir also receives more health-promoting nutrients.
Tips for the right kefir enjoyment
Kefir is not just a refreshing drink. In many recipes he is also used for baking and cooking. Kefir fans should not overdo it: despite its beneficial effects, too much kefir can be unhealthy. Long-lasting intake of large amounts of lactic acid bacteria can be detrimental to health, as the natural balance of the intestinal flora can be endangered. About 0.5 to 1 liter of kefir a day is recommended - this amount is healthy and supports the immune system.