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KEFIR, An Ancient Answer to better Health
“Grains of the Prophet Mohammed” more popularly known as kefir, is a fermented, enzyme-rich beverage that originally hails from Russia. It is a cultured drink that is very similar with yogurt. Kefir grains are packed with billions of probiotics that are very beneficial to our health.
Along with probiotics, kefir also contains different strains of yeast in the matrix of water soluble polysaccharide, known as kefiran, lipids and proteins which make the grains cauliflower-like appearance and imparts a rope-like texture in the mouth. Not only that, kefir contains micro- and macro-nutrients, essential vitamins and minerals like proteins, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, and calcium.
There are a lot of stories spreading on how kefir was discovered. The most popular folklore says that kefir grains were given by Prophet Mohammed to the Orthodox Christians and prohibited them to disseminate to anyone because the prophet claimed that they will lose their magical powers if they did. And so, for centuries, it was held secret. This may be the reason why only a few people know about kefir until now.
Kefir history started thousands of years ago when shepherds and townsmen of the Caucasus Mountains discovered “kefir grains”. These “grains” are actually not grains but is a delicate combination of beneficial yeast and bacteria.
The shepherds accidentally discovered this magical food when they kept raw milk in their leather pouches which fermented into a effervescent, carbonated drink.At first, they did not know anything about this new food. They just realized that they felt more energetic, healthier and were freed from diseases after taking it. What used to be fresh milk turned into a cultured beverage, which the shepherds later discovered to have numerous health benefits.
During the 1800’s, the doctors of the former Soviet Union heard the magical remedy of kefir. They persuaded the most popular dairy farmers in Russia for its discovery in the Caucasus Mountains. The Moscow dairy brothers took on the task to monopolize to be the only kefir producers in the region.
They sent a beautiful lady named Irina Sakhavarova to convince the prince of Caucasus Mountains to give her kefir grains with the recipe. Although the prince was captivated by the beautiful lady, he was afraid of being punished for giving the “Prophet Grains”, hence he refused. Irina, on her way back to the Soviet Union, was kidnapped by mountain tribesmen and was brought back to the Prince. It was a local practice “to steal a bride” so when Irina was brought back, she was forced to marry the Prince.
An investigation was done by the Moscow brothers and saved her from the forced marriage. The supreme rulers of the Caucasus Mountains heard of the ordeal, ordered the Prince to give the beautiful lady the grains to make up for the embarrassment he had caused her.
The very first medical benefit was proven by Russians wherein they said that kefir can cure lung disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Russian doctors of the Victoria era used kefir to treat tuberculosis and intestinal problems. They truly believed that kefir was magically miraculous and very beneficial to one’s health. After several years of following and research, it was discovered that kefir can treat many other more diseases namely atherosclerosis, allergies, cancer, other respiratory disorders, constipation, diabetes and more. Soon, kefir has become a popular health food among the Caucasus, Southwestern Asia, Western Europe and Russia.
Kefir Nutrition Facts
Kefir is a fermented milk product that tastes like a drinkable yogurt. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria meaning yogurt PROVIDES food for your good gut bacteria and keeps your intestines clean. Kefir is different in that it can actually COLONIZE your intestines with good bacterias, something yogurt cannot do. Kefir can be made from MILK or WATER.
Kefir is a great source of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.
Great news for your nervous system, as Kefir has a calming, stress-busting effect on you.
Because of kefir’s unique set of nutrients it has been show to benefit the body in many ways:
1. Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease
2. Boost Immunity
3. Build Bone Density
4. Fight Allergies
5. Improve Lactose Digestion
6. Healthy weight
7. Support Detoxification
8. Fights Cancer
Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product that is one of the most probiotic rich foods on the planet and has incredible medicinal benefits for healing issues like leaky gut. Its unique name comes from the Turkish work “keif”, which means “good feeling”.
Kefir has many amazing health benefits. This food is rich in Lactobacillus and other beneficial organisms. In fact, the cocktail of probiotics, micro- and macronutrients, vitamins and minerals with kefir makes it one (if not the most) of the most powerful foods in the universe.
1.HEAL INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE
One awesome benefits of kefir is known for promoting bowel movement, to promote bile production and improves liver and gallbladder functions. Kefir is also known to regulate metabolism through improved digestion and to alleviate intestinal disorders.
A study published in a Canadian medical journal found that kefir can help heal IBS and reduce bowel inflammation.
2. BOOST IMMUNITY
It boosts our immune system, eliminates bad bacteria, flushes pathogens and has antifungal properties which is why it is sometimes called as the natural antibiotic. Kefir strengthens the kidneys, improves blood circulation and regulates sugar and cholesterol diseases. It also promotes healing of various skin disorders.
What is good about this magical food is that it can be taken by all generations, from young to old; male or female; pregnant or non-pregnant; sick or immuno compromised and healthy. It is not only curative but also preventive which means you don’t have to be sick to drink it.
It is safe to drink it everyday. This food is a must have for those who wishes to be healthy and has generally no kefir side effects. (Although some complains of stomach cramps and constipation)
3. BUILD BONE DENSITY
A 2014 study published in the journal of Osteoporosis International found that consuming kefir benefits bone density and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The researchers found kefir works by increasing the absorption of bone building minerals of calcium and magnesium.
The probiotics in kefir improve nutrient absorption and the dairy itself contains all of the most important nutrients for improving bone density including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2.
4. FIGHT ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA
Allergies happen when the organism has inflammatory reaction on foreign substance which is usually harmless. Although some allergies are caused by genetic components, researchers also estimate that increased usage of antibiotics and disinfection products decrease the organism resistance. In order to reestablish resistance it is needed to renew the good bacteria which protect us and this is why probiotics are used for and this is why kefir is great for fighting allergies.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Immunology, kefir was found to have both positive effects on allergies and asthma. The researchers stated that kefir has strong anti-inflammatory properties that could prove useful in the prevention of asthma.
5. IMPROVE LACTOSE DIGESTION
If you struggle with lactose problems, you may want to try adding kefir to your diet in small amounts because a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that, “Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose malabsorption.”
6. HEALTHY WEIGHT
Kefir is high in protein, which increases satiety and reduces hunger cravings throughout the day.
7. SUPPORT DETOXIFICATION
Kefir helps in detoxification is such way it ties with mutagenic agents which may change our DNA. An example for this is aflatoxin, toxin from fungi which attacks cereals. The lactic acid from kefir kills aflatoxins and many other toxins origination from fungi.
The ability of kefir to help digestion is also very beneficial in the process of detoxification.
8. PROTECTS FROM CANCER
Studies have shown that probiotics have inhibiting effect on the growth of tumor and that it protects from cancer. Till now it is proven that it decreases the number of cells related to colon cancer, breast cancer and leukemia. Although it is not still clear in which way the probiotics work against cancer it is considered that they strengthen the immune system and in that way decrease the development of carcinogenic compounds.
Kefir is known as the "ancient elixir of longevity," When lathered on skin, this silky substance delivers anti-aging and skin-brightening benefits that Cleopatra—who attributed her flawless skin to soaking in milk baths—would envy. Similar to fruit-derived enzymes, kefir milk contains alphahydroxy acid (AHAs) in the form of lactic acid. This means cleansing, scrubbing and moisturizing with the "mysterious magic milk" will gently remove dead skin cells, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fading age spots and freckles.
Kefir is real food
Remember that it is better to consume the right food instead of pills and supplements. You can take probiotics in the form of pills but it is always recommended to import them through nutrition such as kefir. Probiotic pills don’t contain proteins, calcium and vitamin B.
KEFIR CAN BE MADE AT HOME VERY EASILY
You will need:
2. Active kefir grains
3. Glass jar
5. Plastic/wooden spatula
PROCESS OF PREPARATION:
Put milk in clean glass jar and then add kefir grains.
Seal the jar.
Leave it on room temperature, on dark spot for 8 – 24 hrs.
It is ready when it becomes a bit thicker and it has sour taste. Then drain the content of the jar and keep the grains on the strainer. When it is ready you may consume it right away or leave it in the fridge.
The used grains are then put in fresh milk and repeat the whole process.