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Incredible Health Benefits of Kefir

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Kefir is a fermented milk-based drink that many health enthusiasts are turning to as a probiotic with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and other healing properties. It’s a drink that many people stir up in their own homes, but researchers believe they’ve found a way to increase the industrial value of the drink by using ultrasound to boost a polysaccharide in it.

Kefir

They’re hoping that further research could lead to ways to use ultrasound to boost the health benefits of a range of dairy products, MedicalNewsToday reports.

Kefir has mythical origins dating back centuries to mountains in Russia. To create the drink, kefir grains, a live culture composed of healthy bacteria and yeasts, are mixed with milk, causing it to ferment. Today, it is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, and can be easily prepared in the comfort of your own home — without the “help” of ultrasound.

What’s unique about it is that no other cultured milk product uses these grains, which is a special mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that provide various health benefits. These grains appear like small cauliflower florets. (Note that the word “grains” should not be taken literally. It is basically the name for the live cultures of beneficial yeasts and bacteria).

Kefir is loaded with probiotics that can help reseed your digestive tract. In addition, it’s packed with fiber, which can help with constipation. Research also has shown that regular consumption of kefir lowers blood pressure and decreases inflammation in the central nervous system.

In fact, one previous analysis of nine studies that scrutinized associations between probiotics and blood pressure found that people who consume probiotics on a regular basis (in the form of yogurt, kefir or supplements, for example) tended to have lower blood pressure than those who did not consume probiotics.

Besides using it as a drink, there are numerous other culinary uses for kefir, including:

  • Baking — Use as a substitute for yogurt or buttermillk Smoothie — Make your smoothies healthier with a dash of kefir
  • Soup — Add flavor and tang by using kefir instead of cream
  • Salad dressing — The tanginess is a plus for salad dressings
  • Dips and Sauces — Use kefir as a base for creamy dips

If this is your first time learning about kefir, you should definitely give it a try because the benefits are hard to pass up. But that doesn’t mean to say you should shun yogurt forever. Ideally you should get your probiotics not only from kefir and yogurt, but from various fermented foods as well, like natto, fermented vegetables and tempeh.

When kefir, yogurt and other fermented dairy products become a regular part of your diet, you will not only give your digestive tract the beneficial bacteria it needs for optimal functioning, but you may — as noted in the new research — lower your risk of heart disease, too.