We all are familiar with the variety our favorite dairy foods bring to the dairy case in terms of milk, cheese and yogurt – but have you tried kefir? I’m breaking down the reasons to eat this delightfully tangy product!
What is Kefir?
Pronounced either “kee-fur” or “kuh-feer” depending on where you’re from, this dairy food is actually fermented milk. Think of it as a drinkable version of yogurt. And while this may be a new product to your family, kefir is actually centuries old. Years before our time, nomadic shepherds would carry their milk in leather pouches. The warm conditions were perfect for fermenting, and thus a tangy drink resulted. Today, kefir is made with a starter grain and incubated for several hours in a food-safe environment, allowing friendly bacteria to grow (yes, believe it or not, not all bacteria is bad).
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 to 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 in yogurt, the probiotics in kefir can help with the digestion of lactose, which can make this a great food for a family member with lactose intolerance. Curious to know more about probiotics? Check out this article.
- 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
If the tanginess of kefir just isn’t your thing, don’t worry – you’re not limited to just pouring a tall glass of it! You can also use kefir in many of your favorite recipes.
- Substitute kefir for buttermilk in your Sunday morning pancakes
- Put it in your homemade salad dressing
- Marinate lean cuts of meat before throwing it on the grill; the acidity will make it tender
- Add it to frozen goodies like popsicles, smoothies and homemade ice creams
- Jazz up your whole grains by putting it in your overnight oats
How do you use kefir at home? Comment with your suggestions below!