Kefir is a fermented food that adds healthy bowel flora to our intestines, stabilizes digestive function, and has an extensive range of other healh benefits. Making kefir requires special “grains” known as “kefir grains” which aid in the fermentation process.
The “kefir grains” are actually a culture of healthy bacteria and yeast, which can live indefinitely. The process of making kefir involves creating an environment with a base such as nut or seed mylk (traditionally raw milk), in which the healthy bacteria and yeast can proliferate. When consumed in the form of a drink, known as “kefir”, these healthy bacteria and yeast have tremendous healing power and benefits the body in many ways. The kefir creates a healthy mucous living in the colon, which acts as a good medium to support the growth of beneficial bowel flora. Kefir helps to prevent parasitic infections and cancer, as well as constipation.
Because of kefir’s ability to establish healthy bowel flora, it is beneficial in preventing many gastrointestinal disorders. Some researches have found that kefir also exudes bacterial inhibitory factors, which prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. In this sense, it actually acts as a natural antibiotic. Some studies show that kefir whey neutralizes most pathogenic bacteria within 24 hours. Various medical reports suggest that kefir has been helpful in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, allergies, migraines, gout, rheumatic arthritic conditions, candidiasis, and colitis. The world health organization has even reported that kefir has been used effectively in the treatment of tuberculosis and typhoid fever. Additional studies suggest that diarrhea caused by E. coli bacteria in newborn infants has been successfully controlled with kefir. Other studies show that kefir helps to heal urinary tract infections and even prostate problems. Kefir may also be important in the alleviation of anxiety. Interestingly enough, those put on kefir diet consistently have less anxiety. This may be because the fermentation process produces high levels of tryptophan, which converts into serotonin in the brain, thus producing a relaxing effect.
The Kefir grains produce righ- rotating L(+) lactic acid, which is an important constituent of the human body. It is particularly important in the prevention of cancer and has been used experimentally with success in the treatment of cancer. In addition, right- rotating lactic acid may help maintain healthy functioning of the heart. According to some researchers, the cell of the heart muscle obtains their energy primarily from right-rotating lactic acid.
Although many people are concerned about acidity, my experience is that many people are actually too alkaline. Acidity from healthy lactic acid helps bing their PH back to normal range needed for optimal health. The acidity of kefir is as low as a ph of 3, consisting of 8.5 – 1.5% lactic acid. The normal healthy human PH for optimal brain function as discussed earlier is 7.46. If people have Ph of 7.5 – 7.65 kefir helps to bring the Ph back into the normal range.
Kefir has many nutritional benefits as well. Kefir is a complete protein and rich in many vitamins. The fermentation process actually increases the amount of vitamins, especially the B vitamins. Kefir is and excellent source of B12 and is high in vitamin B1 and B6.
Kefir creates what are known as “ferments”, which act as super metabolizers that assist with nutrient assimilation as well as digestion. The traditional term “ferment” refers more specifically to enzymes. Kefir actually creates many enzymes that can be absorbed as healing process. As discussed earlier, enzymes are the key to building and maintaining good health. These enzymes are actually vortexes of energy that help with many aspects of our metabolism. Since, in my experience, many people become enzyme-deficient as they age, I consider fermented foods, and especially kefir, an essential part of my total health program.
The exact origin of kefir is unknown. Some believe it may have come from Russia, while others suggest Turkey. We can say, however, that kefir originated somewhere in the northern Caucasus Mountains. Legend has it that the prophet Mohammed received kefir grains directly from Allah. According to The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, kefir was brought to the States from Russia.
Kefir is traditionally made from raw milk. I use kefir in nut or seed mylk such as almond, sesame, and sunflower mylks, which turns out perfectly fine.In addition there is some evidence to suggest that kefir made from diary products may block the absorption of vitamin C. When one is talking high amounts of vitamin C for therapeutic reason its probably best to eat less diary- based Kefir. Because kefir bacteria produce and acid condition in the mouth it is good to brush your teeth after drinking kefir.
Kefir provided a sour taste, which is very balancing from both the chinese and Ayurvedic perspective. Kefir is also cooling and is good for calming pitta during the summer. Unlike seed cheese and rejuvelac, kefir is a controlled fermentation process in which a specific culture is introduced; therefore unfriendly bacteria are not encouraged to grow.
Hi – quality kefir grains contain:
1. Steptococcus lacti, which produces lactic acid, aids digestion, ingibits harmful microorganisms, and produces bacteriolysins.
2. Lactobacillus plantaturum, which mkes lactic acid, fights against Listria monocytogenes, and makes plantaricin that inhibits microorganisms which cause spilage.
3. Streptococcus cremoris, which has similar properties to S.lactis.
4. Lactobacillus casei, which produces large quantities o L (+) lactic acid, colonizes well in the gastrointestinal tract, creates a favorable medium for other healthy bacteria to grow, inhibits putrefaction, increases immune function, and inhibits pathogenic bacteria and helps protect against bacterial infection.
5. Steptococcus diacetrylactis, which produces CO2 in the kefir, makes diacetryl, which gives the kefir its characteristic odor and has general properties similar to S. lactic.
6. The yeasts: Sacharonyces florentinus and leuconostc cremoris, which do not cause candida.
Please see a variety of kefir recipes in this section bellow. Hope you enjoy these recipes and reap the many wonderful benefits of kefir.
Kefir preparation process
1. First, make any seed or nut mylk with warm water. Follow the instruction how to make nut will on any raw food website. It is best to use plain, unseasoned mylk made with water to begin the kefir process.
2. Follow the instruction provided with the kefir starter grains that you purchase.
3. Kefir may also be made by adding ¼ -1/2 cup of previously made kefir to the seed mylk. AL thought this is and easy and efficient way to make kefir, it is not recommended for those with candida.
You can experiment by adding any of you favorite spices to the finished defer, or by adding flavoring such as peppermint and vanilla extracts. You may want to sweeten the kefir with stevia. In order to preserve the integrity of the culture, do not blend for more then 30 seconds.
Cayenne Almond Kefir
4 cups almond kefir
pinch of cayenne
Cinnamon Almond Kefir
4 C almond kefir
2 tssp cinnamon
Mint sunflower kefir
4 Cups sunflower kefir
dash of peppermint oil
or ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
blend for 30 sec and serve
Vanilla Almond Kefir
4 cups of almond kefir
1tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla sunfrower kefir
4 cups sunflower kefir
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp licorice root powder
Warming almond kefir
4 cups almond kefir
1 tsp ginger powder