Kefir - Overview, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage
What Is Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk traditionally eaten in the Caucasus region of Russia. It is comparable to yoghurt and is prepared by fermenting the milk of animals like goats and cows. Kefir is special because it has yeast in addition to lactic acid bacteria. Yeast is well-known for its function in fermenting alcohol and baking bread, but it also adds flavour components and a fluffy texture to kefir, giving it a distinct flavour not found in yoghurt.
It is very healthy for the human body. It improves digestion, cholesterol, blood sugar and many more. It is said that the word kefir is derived from the Turkish word "keyif" which means "feeling good" which links to the person’s feeling after consuming it. It is also used by combining it with milk, etc.
Biological Composition Of Kefir
The number of microorganisms that live in kefir is extensive and diverse, and there can be billions of them in the daily intake. See the list of yeasts and bacteria that can be found in kefir below -
- Bacteria include lactococcus lactis, leuconostoc (Cremoris, Deextranicum, Mesenteroides), Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bificum, Acetobacter, and acidophilus, brevis, casei, bulgaricus, delbrueckii, gasseri, lactis, helveticus, kefiranofaciens, kephiri, paracasei, plantarum, rhamnosus, sake, and cremoris.
- Yeasts include Kluyveromyces (Siamensis, Lactis, Marcianus), Kazakhstani (Unispora, Equigua), Chamaeropus humilis, Saccharomyces (Serevisiae, Martiniae, Unisporus).
- It also includes important amino acids (methionine and cysteine), vitamins A, complex B, C, D, E, and K2, and mineral salts (calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, molybdenum, manganese, and zinc). Tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, lysine, and valine were also included.
What Type Of Bacteria Does Kefir Contain?
It is said that kefir contains a wide range of bacteria. What kind of bacteria are there?
According to the food standards of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), the following bacteria coexist in kefir.
- Lactobacilli Kefiri (Lactobacillus)
- Bacteria of the genus Leuconostoc and Lactococcus
- Bacteria of the genus Acetobacter
- Kluyveromyces marxianus (lactose-fermenting yeast)
- Saccharomyces unisporus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces exiguus (non-lactose fermenting yeast)
The types of bacteria contained in yogurt vary depending on the product, and the types and numbers of bacteria contained in kefir also vary depending on the product.
All of them participate in "symbiotic fermentation," which is the process by which yeast and lactic acid bacteria work together. It is said that some contain more than 30 types of microorganisms.
About Kefir Grains: Kefir's lactic acid bacteria create kefiran, a polysaccharide, and work together with yeast to make "kefir grains," a symbiotic organism. The grains known as "kefir grains" range in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres, and they resemble "nests of lactic acid bacteria and yeast" that develop within the kefir.
Kefir is traditionally made by adding kefir grains as a seed culture to fresh milk to increase the amount of kefir. However, these days, kefir powder is created via culturing and freeze-drying to guarantee that kefir can be enjoyed with stable quality anywhere in the world. Inoculum of the form is commercially available.
What Is The Difference Between Kefir And Yogurt?
Kefir and yogurt look and taste similar. What exactly is the difference? To answer this question, check the comparison table.
Number and type of microorganisms
Several types of lactic acid bacteria + several types of yeast ( types of lactic acid bacteria + 10 types of yeast)
Several types of lactic acid bacteria or bifidobacteria (2 types of lactic acid bacteria)
20 - 30℃
Flavour of lactic acid fermentation and yeast fermentation
Flavour of lactic acid fermentation
(Due to alcoholic fermentation) The taste changes easily depending on the temperature
Relatively stable taste
Soft, smooth, mellow, acidity and fizzy carbonated taste.
Subtle tang of unsweetened
The biggest difference between kefir and yogurt is the type and number of bacteria. As said, yogurt is fermented only with lactic acid bacteria, but kefir is fermented with lactic acid bacteria and yeast. Furthermore, because kefir has a higher amount of lactic acid bacteria, many people prefer to eat homemade kefir instead of store-bought yogurt. However, different types of bacteria have different effects depending on the person, so try different types of lactic acid bacteria to find the one that suits you best.
Benefits of Kefir
Kefir is a traditional meal from the Caucasus region that is well-known for its longevity around the world. It is believed that several kinds of microorganisms may interact in addition to having effects akin to those of yogurt-containing lactic acid bacteria. Supplements are also offered.
Improve Intestinal Environment: It is well known that consuming kefir improves the environment in the intestines by boosting organic acids, reducing the generation of ammonia, and raising the quantity of bifidobacteria. Additionally, kefir has been shown to have antimicrobial properties against dangerous germs like Candida, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and E. coli.
Anti-inflammatory Effect: Kefir has been shown in mice experiments to be useful in treating burns. It is also used in Russia to treat duodenal and stomach ulcers, because of its anti-inflammatory effect. It reduces inflammation and helps in many ways to the body.
Anti-allergic Effect: Studies on animals have demonstrated the anti-allergic properties of kefir. Kefir appears to be useful in preventing allergy disorders like hay fever, as experiments have revealed that it lowers blood levels of IgE antibodies, which are thought to trigger allergic reactions. It also has the impact of preventing high blood pressure and diabetes, according to a study.
Strengthen Immunity and prevent infection: Kefiran is the primary component of kefir, which is a sticky polysaccharide. Macrophages can be activated by kefir. Macrophages are pathogen-eating cells that infiltrate the body, ensnaring and breaking down bacteria and viruses that lead to a variety of illnesses. Substances like the kefiran found in kefir activate these macrophages, which then feed on dangerous microorganisms and lessen the likelihood of becoming ill. Additionally, kefir has around twice the amount of vitamin A as yoghurt, which is believed to strengthen immunity. The development and maintenance of the skin and mucous membranes depend heavily on vitamin A. It also balances the immune system, which deteriorates with age and stress, and promotes the body's healing power. It seems that the human body contains various pathogenic bacteria even in healthy people. Your body's natural defences against infection weaken when you're physically exhausted or weak, which increases your risk of illness. But if you consume gut-regulating lactic acid bacteria daily, your body will become resistant.
Increase calcium absorption: The fermentation of lactic acid bacteria in kefir produces calcium lactate, which is absorbed at a rate approximately 1.7 times higher than that of milk. It is a really good food for infants and expectant mothers, and it's especially good for older people who are worried about osteoporosis. Because calcium strengthens bones and teeth and inhibits the negative effects of sodium, it helps prevent high blood pressure and stroke too
Stress Relief: Stress interferes with various bodily functions. In the modern world, stress is inevitable, but it would be wonderful if we could use common foods instead of medications to reduce stress. Calcium is necessary for a long and healthy life since it influences nerve transmission and is also thought to relieve anxiety and stress in the mind. The poor absorption of calcium in the intestine causes less calcium in the blood, muscles, and nerves, which makes it harder for the muscles to contract and for the nerves to coordinate, resulting in irritation and excitement. Kefir is high in readily absorbed calcium lactate making it a suitable source of readily absorbed calcium for the body. It may be said that it's the ideal dish to ease tension and enthusiasm.
Beauty Effect: Have you ever experienced constipation-related breakouts on your face? In reality, when the state of the intestines deteriorates, it becomes easier to cause skin issues because the body is unable to adequately absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. Since lactic acid bacteria and yeast in kefir enhance the intestinal environment and aid in the body's appropriate nutrient absorption, they should contain the effect of keeping your skin healthy.
Healthy Hair: Kefir is known to have a positive effect on the body due to the effects of the lactic acid bacteria it contains. When the intestinal environment is in order, waste products from the body can be easily excreted, which is good not only for your skin but also for your hair. Healthy hair growth is influenced by blood flow to the scalp and nutrients in the blood. Unhealthy blood waste products can prevent the growth of healthy hair. Kefir's ability to control the digestive environment and enhance metabolism should help you retain healthy and shiny hair.
How To Eat Kefir?
Kefir is characterised by its refreshing acidity and tangy carbonated taste. If you don't like its unique flavour, you can try incorporating it into sauces and dressings or adding sweetness. Otherwise, you can eat it just as is.
- Add honey: If you think the sour flavour is too intense, you might try adding honey, which naturally tastes sweet. Honey is beneficial for those who wish to further enhance their intestinal environment because it contains gluconic acid, a nutrient that aids in the growth of bifidobacteria.
- Try hummus: Hummus is a healthy dish originating from the Middle East that is made by mixing boiled chickpeas with grated sesame seeds and oil to form a paste. You may have a thick, creamy hummus with a cool flavour by mixing it with kefir. Chickpeas are an excellent source of dietary fibre and vitamin B6, both of which are good for skin health.
Nowadays, you can easily enjoy original kefir at home from powdered kefir grains, so you can mix it into smoothies or use it as a substitute for yogurt or cream cheese. Kefir is a fermented food, so the humidity and temperature of the environment will affect how the fermentation progresses. Food poisoning can result from improper fermentation conditions and cleanliness when producing homemade kefir.
Kefir can be consumed every day; 200ml or 1 cup is the recommended amount. It can be consumed naturally, blended with fruit, or as a shake or drink. Despite its benefits, excessive use might be uncomfortable because it involves consuming a lot of microorganisms all at once. It is advised to begin with a modest dosage and raise it gradually.
Points To Remember
- Kefir should always be grown in thoroughly sterile glass jars and containers. Plastic containers are readily polluted, so avoid growing in them.
- Kefir grains should not be handled with metal objects. The risk of infection can be significantly decreased by preferably using a plastic or wooden strainer and spoon, and if at all possible, by having a special utensil for use with kefir.
- Kefir grains should never be heated because high temperatures can destroy yeast and bacteria. The fermentation process may take less than 48 hours if the temperature is high.
- If you need to take a break from growing, for example, due to a vacation, you can store it in a cloth-covered container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Then strain (discard the liquid) and resume the normal culturing process. Note that it may take a few days for fermentation to become active again. If you're bored and want to take a "break" from making yogurt, you can freeze yogurt grains for up to a year.
- You will know that the kefir is working when the milk thickens after fermentation and takes on a yogurt-like consistency.
- It's common for milk and whey to occasionally separate throughout the fermenting process, so don't freak out. Combine all ingredients and filter as usual.
- Although white is the typical grain colour, discard any darker or brownish-coloured grains you detect.
- Kefir with an odd flavour or smell should never be consumed. It's okay to have a slightly sour flavour, but it shouldn't taste or smell awful.
- Keep some of the extra kefir in the freezer. Restart and give away what's left!
- It is not necessary to wash the grain after each crop, but it is recommended to wash it once a week or once a week. Once sifted, wash the grains with filtered water and restart the process.
- It is common to notice some viscosity when straining kefir; this is called the "alloy" that is extracted from kefir by scientists. Kefiran has anti-cancer characteristics and is highly useful. Don't wash it every time!
- For every litre of milk, we advise using two to four tablespoons of kefir grains. Increasing the amount will hasten the fermentation process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding Kefire
Is it possible to make kefir with homemade whey or kefir?
Yes, it is possible. Fermented foods have been passed down in this way all over the world. However, the air is home to a variety of germs. It seems that when you continue to produce more seeds, the final product will frequently have an entirely different flavour and aroma from the ones produced from the initial starter. It is not advised to do this since it could spread bacteria.
What makes kefir different from yoghurt?
Kefir and yoghurt differ from one another in terms of flavour, temperature at which they solidify, and the kinds of bacteria that are engaged in fermentation. Kefir has a frothy texture and is smoother and more refreshing than yoghurt.
Does alcohol exist in kefir?
Alcohol is fermented by yeast found in kefir, but sugar is necessary for this process. Because unsweetened milk ferments symbiotically with lactic acid bacteria, it has less sugar, which is less necessary for alcoholic fermentation. the alcohol concentration is low at less than 1%.
What is meant by "kefir"?
Yeast and lactic acid bacteria are two of the many bacteria that form kefir, a traditional fermented milk from the Caucasus region. This yoghurt isn't so much yogurt as foam. The most widely accepted explanation states that the term "kefir" is derived from either the Arabic word "keyf" or the Turkish word "Keyif." These terms convey concepts like "taste," "health," and "tipsy."
Can I Make it well at home?
If the room temperature is 25℃ or higher, such as in the summer, fermentation for 24 hours may cause over-fermentation (fermentation progresses too much and the sour taste becomes strong or separation occurs). In that case, please adjust by reducing the fermentation time to around 20 hours. In colder months, like winter, if you are unable to create it correctly (the finished product is loose, etc.), we advise keeping it warm for an additional two to three hours while monitoring the situation.
Can I use any type of milk to make it?
By experimenting with different kinds of milk, you can find the kefir yoghurt flavour that suits you best. Select one with a low-fat content if you enjoy a refreshing taste, and a high-fat content if you prefer a rich taste. Additionally, when creating kefir yoghurt, milk beverages like calcium-fortified milk have a tendency to separate, which makes them inappropriate.
Does it feel soft?
You can eat kefir yoghurt with confidence because it has a softer texture than yoghurt that is sold in stores. Kefir yoghurt does not contain any additives, such as thickeners or coagulants; it is only solidified by the action of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. Enjoy the smoothness and texture of the original yoghurt.
When and how much should I eat during the day? What is the calorie count?
A Lab suggests drinking 200–250 millilitres daily. You can enjoy it at any time. It is okay to have it divided several times a day. Seed bacteria contain only a small amount of calories. Seed bacteria contain only a small amount of calories. Please consider the calorie content of the milk you use.
How to make kefir?
To make kefir, add kefir grains to milk, leave at room temperature for 12-48 hours, then strain the grains from the liquid to enjoy homemade kefir.
What is kefir called in India?
Kefir is known as "kephir" or "kishk" in India.
How to make kefir in Hindi?
To make kefir in Hindi, add "kefir grains" and "doodh" (milk) together, then let it ferment for 12-48 hours before filtering.
What are kefir grains?
Kefir grains are cultures of yeast and bacteria held together in a polysaccharide matrix, resembling cauliflower, used to ferment milk into kefir.
How to make kefir grains?
Kefir grains are not made, but are living cultures consisting of lactic acid bacteria and yeast that multiply during the fermentation process.
What is kefir called in Hindi?
Kefir is often referred to as "केफ़ीर" in Hindi.
Are my kefir grains dead?
If your kefir grains stop fermenting, have an unusual odour, or turn discoloured, they might be dead. Revive them by following specific revival techniques.
Can you have kefir when pregnant?
Consuming kefir during pregnancy can be beneficial as it is a good source of probiotics, but it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice.