I’ve talked a little about fermented foods and probiotics on the blog before. Probiotic rich foods are SO important for our health. I strongly believe that they are the “missing link” in today’s common food practices. Probiotic rich foods (also called fermented foods) have been around for thousands of years and used in ancient cultures as a form of daily preventative health. Asian cultures used and still use things like kimchi and fermented bean pastes such as miso, German cultures have sauerkraut, and the Russians use kefir. Kefir is a low-fat cultured dairy food rich in calcium and protein. It is somewhat similar to yogurt in taste and appearance, however, kefir is made with 12 different live & active cultures, and it’s cultured for 14 hours, giving it a higher probiotic count than yogurt and an effervescent, tangy flavor. There are up to 10 billion units per serving!
I’ve recently experimented with incorporating a serving of kefir into my diet daily and have really loved the effect. Just some of the amazing health benefits of kefir are:
- improved digestion
- great for sluggish colons and constipation – especially after antibiotic use or travelling
- increased energy
- improved immune system function
- clearer skin
- recommended after use of antibiotics to restore beneficial bacteria in the colon
- can improve or prevent yeast infections
- excellent for children’s health and expectant mothers
My favorite brands of kefir are Green Valley Organics and The Greek Gods (pictured). Both can be found at your local health food store. I am a little partial to Green Valley Organics since I always strive to use organic animal products. You only need 1 cup per day to keep your system in tip top shape!
You can also make your own kefir, using kefir grains. I’ve got a kit at home but honestly have never used it. I just simply prefer the ease and convenience of store bought!
A note for all you moms out there, kids also love kefir. You can give it to them as an after school snack, add it to their daily smoothies, or serve as a light breakfast. It’s a great way to keep their immune systems strong during cold & flu season.
If you are interested in dairy-free kefir substitutes you can try any of these delicious recipes:
- Almond Milk Kefir
- Coconut Almond Yogurt
- Raw Strawberry Banana Yogurt
- Easy Strawberry Probiotic Shake
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