In my mind Milk Kefir is the ‘Holy Grail’ of fermented foods. It’s basically milk that has been fermented using kefir grains to feed off the fat and the sugars in the milk producing what tastes like a a slightly sour drinking yogurt. A kefir grain is not a plant derived grain as it sounds like. It is actually an insoluble matrix of bacteria and yeast that, when added to milk, can produce kefir with up to 50 different strains of beneficial of bacteria and yeasts. It has more probiotic power than any other fermented food I’ve come across.
Kefir originated in the Caucasus Mountains thousands of years ago. The name ‘‘kefir’’ is likely derived from the Turkish word‘‘ keyif’’ which means ‘‘good feeling’’. It has been used for many years to promote good health and has been touted anecdotally for its curative properties. Many people who cannot tolerate dairy products find that they can drink kefir because most of the lactose in the milk gets broken down in the fermentation process.
Kefir has been shown to strengthen the immune system by stimulating immune cell activity as well as help prevent allergies. Although scientists have tried to replicate it in a lab they haven’t been very successful in producing kefir grains without using other grains. So, amazingly, every kefir grain in the world has descended from those original grains thousands of years ago!
Scientists have, however, managed to isolate various strains of bacteria from the kefir and found that some showed resistance to pathogenic bacteria like, Giardia, E. coli, H. Pylori, Salmonella, and Listeria. I personally always bring my kefir grains with us when we go travelling to countries where food and waterborne pathogens are common. It’s so super easy to make and helps prevent us from getting tummy bugs.
We as a family drink milk kefir everyday usually in the form of a smoothie or in an ice lollie. Though myself and DD2 love it straight up. Hope you love it as much as we do!