Kefir was discovered in ancient times when nomadic shepherds in the Caucasus Mountains of Eastern Europe found that the milk they carried in leather sacks occasionally fermented into a creamy, bubbly drink. Its tart and refreshing flavor is often compared to yogurt. The difference between the two is that Kefir is drinkable and contains much more of the friendly bacteria known as “probiotics.”
Once the accidental process was discovered, this bubbly refresher became popular throughout the known world. Its name is thought to originate from the Turkish word “Keif” meaning “good feeling”, for the sense of well-being experienced after drinking it.
Traditional kefir can only be produced from mammal’s milk. This may be cow, goat, sheep, or any other mammal that produces high fat milk Contrary to what some believe, Kefir cannot be made out of non dairy bases such as water, fruit juices, teas, and coconut water. These products can be used from time to time, however, they do not contain the high fats needed to maintain the kefir grains in the long term. There is no such accepted definition as “dairy-free Kefir.”
So, how does milk become Kefir?
The fermentation or culturing of the dairy is triggered by Kefir “grains,” consisting of various species of symbiotic bacteria and yeast. Bacteria (mostly lactobacteria and streptococci) ferment lactose, the sugar found in milk; yeasts perform alcohol fermentation, producing negligible amounts of alcohol. The resulting drink has a pleasantly tangy taste. Easy to digest, Kefir cleanses the intestines while boosting your immune response to illness.
This is due to the presence of probiotics – friendly bacteria that help cleanse the body’s ecosystem. Research shows probiotics may help to boost immunity, promote better digestion, and add healthy intestinal flora. Due to these factors, kefir may also assist with weight loss, ADD symptoms, lactose-intolerance and regulating the body while taking antibiotics.
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