Don’t Fear Kefir: Fermented Milk is Here

As more and more people are becoming interested in gut health, fermented foods have quickly risen in popularity. Kefir (pronounced kuh’FEER) is one of the newer fermented foods on the scene, and it touts all the benefits of dairy in addition to being packed with probiotics.

What is Kefir?

Kefir is fermented milk cultured by kefir grains – a probiotic bacteria that dates back thousands of years. It’s a tangy, drinkable food similar to yogurt that has 3 times the number of probiotics as kimchi or kombucha, and one serving contains 30% of your calcium needs.

Kefir’s #DairyAmazing Nutrition

Much like our beloved yogurt, kefir is also naturally rich in calcium and protein. Here are more health benefits behind kefir:

Better Teeth & Gums – Dairy foods are good for your teeth! When paired with fiber-rich fruit, this combo is like a nature-made toothbrush and can stop sugar from sticking to your teeth. Probiotics, the good bacteria in kefir, can also help prevent periodontal disease and promote healthy teeth and gums.

A Healthy Gut – In the same way the probiotics in kefir help your teeth, these bacteria also help keep your gut healthy. Much like those in yogurt, the good bacteria in kefir can help with the digestion of lactose, which can make this a great food for a family member with lactose intolerance

Reenergize Post-Workout – Dairy foods are often the perfect snack after a tough workout. With complex carbs plus high quality protein, this no-spoon-required, portable drink is great after you hit the gym, helping replenish energy stores while encouraging muscle growth.

Kefir in the Kitchen
In addition to drinking it, kefir is also a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It can be used in place of milk, yogurt, and sour cream in most recipes, including baked breads and muffins!

  1. Substitute kefir for buttermilk in your Sunday morning pancakes.
  2. Put it in your homemade creamy salad dressing.
  3. Marinate lean cuts of meat before throwing them on the grill; the acidity will make the meat tender.
  4. Add it smoothies and smoothie bowls to pump up your protein.
  5. Jazz up your whole grains by putting it in your overnight oats.

For more inspiration, check out this post “6 Surprising Ways to Use Kefir” by Toby Amidor, registered dietitian and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. 
 

By Dana Omari, RDN, LDN

Dana Omari is a registered dietitian and believer in preventive nutrition. She is a member of the American and Texas Academies of Nutrition and Dietetics. When she’s not working, Dana volunteers for Homemade Hope and Champagne and Yoga. Learn more about Dana here.

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