Kefir: An Ancient Beverage with Modern Benefits

As the healthful benefits of fermented foods and drinks gain ever more recognition, kefir stands out for its ability to promote overall wellness.

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by AdobeStock/expressiovisual

Fizzy fermented drinks, such as kombucha, are gaining popularity, and rightfully so — the friendly bacteria that thrive in the fermentation process mean better health for those who drink them. In this kombucha craze, however, one important drink has been left behind: kefir. Made from milk or water fermented with live grains, kefir is a powerful probiotic containing a diverse system of healthy microbes. By helping consumers reestablish a balanced gut ecosystem, kefir strengthens the digestive and immune systems. This can result in lowered blood pressure and blood sugar, the alleviation of acid reflux, and a calmer nervous system.

Better yet, kefir is simple to make right on your kitchen counter, which promises quality ingredients and no industrial preservatives while saving you money. The fermentation process only takes a day or two, requires few ingredients (kefir grains, sugar, and water or milk), and the resulting beverage is totally customizable. With the proper care, you can reuse your kefir grains over and over again, providing you and your household with plenty of appealing, convenient, and healthy drinks to enjoy.

A few reliable, eco-friendly sources from which to purchase your first set of kefir grains are Kombucha Kamp, Cultures for Health, and Organic Cultures. Or, for a kefir-sharing option that promotes a healthy, kefir-making community, check out Kefirhood.

Alex Lewin and Raquel Guajardo teamed up to share their fermenting knowledge through the written word. This is excerpted from their book Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond (Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group).