Yogurt has had a huge surge in popularity in recent years. That’s probably because most people know that yogurt offers live cultures of beneficial microcrobes that boost digestion and overall health. But few people realize is that there is a better bacteria-booster in town. The typical yogurt contains only two to three strains of probiotic cultures, if it contains any live cultures at all. Additionally some yogurt contains more sugar than doughnuts.
Kefir (pronounced ke-FEER) is similar to a drinkable form of yogurt but is so much healthier. Adapted from my new book, The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out, here are a few reasons why you should consider adding kefir to your diet:
It offers a bigger beneficial bacterial boost. Kefir typically has three times the overall number of probiotics than yogurt. Additionally it contains ten to twenty different strains of probiotics while yogurt usually contains only two or three.
It gives you a B-vitamin and energy boost. Kefir naturally contains several B-complex vitamins, known as the energy vitamins because they are needed for energy production in the body. Some of the B-vitamins you’ll find in kefir include: thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin, and biotin. And, while many people continue to believe the myth that vitamin B12 is only found in meat, kefir is actually a good source of this valuable and essential nutrient.
It improves digestion. Many people who have trouble digesting dairy products report being able to digest kefir. That is due to kefir’s ability to improve dairy digestibility. During the fermentation process the milk sugars (lactose) are used as food by probiotics.
It regulates blood sugar and cholesterol. According to research published in the medical journal, Biofactors, kefir has even been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar, and prevent blood sugar spikes.
While kefir is typically found as a dairy-based beverage in the refrigerator section of most health food stores, it can also be make with non-dairy beverages such as coconut milk, rice milk and juices. Learn more about the health benefits of kefir in “What You Need to Know about Kefir.”
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*Image of “kefir” via Emerson Posadas/Flickr