Did you know that around 83% of our immunity is located in the intestinal wall, and research has shown that nearly all disease can be traced back to a damaged or an abnormal intestinal flora?!

Most modern diets include food that has been pasteurised, irradiated and processed to within an inch of it’s life and certainly enough to kill off any good bacteria. This, coupled with our tendancy toward poor sleep, stress and an over reliance on antibiotics, is bad news for our guts in more ways than one, if you know what I mean 🙁

Kefir, meet digestive tract. Digestive tract, meet kefir.

Kefir, or kee-fer as it’s pronounced, means ‘good life’ in Turkish, and is a fermented milk drink made with kefir ‘grains’ (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter culture) which has it’s origins in the north Caucasus Mountains and the shepherds that used to inhabit them 100’s of years ago.

NO WAIT, don’t run away, as this little treasure is literally bursting with billions of naturally occuring probiotics, and is a unique living food containing live enzymes, yeasts and multiple strains of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei to name but a few. It is rich in antioxidants, antibodies, metabolites, and essential vitamins and minerals that not only benefit the digestive tract, but also impact positively on your general wellbeing.

The good bacteria (which are all natural and organic) develop during the natural fermentation process when you introduce the kefir grains to organic cow, goat or sheep milk. This process takes about 24 hours but transforms the milk into kefir, making it superior to regular whole milk, as it’s much easier for the body to digest and absorb.  As a result of the fermentation, very little lactose remains in kefir, so those with lactose intolerance (like me) are mostly able to tolerate kefir, providing the number of live bacteria present is high enough (i.e. fermentation has taken place for an adequate time). It has also been shown that fermented milk products such as kefir, have a slower transit time than regular whole milk, which may further improve lactose digestion.

Using kefir on a regular basis supports both the balance of your intestinal flora and healthy bowel movements, and improves your resistance towards disease by boosting your immunity. It is also claimed that kefir can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, when used as part of a balanced diet, and in some studies, has shown to be effective in the management of Crohns disease and other IBD. Always consult with your GP before commencing probiotics if you suffer from a chronic condition.

If you’re not a fan of milk products, you can ferment the kefir with water (filtered and chlorine free) or coconut milk if you prefer, but make sure you purchase the correct type of grains for this.

So, if you have a budget for nutrition & well-being items, aside from your regular food shop, why not invest in some inexpensive kefir grains and start making your own probiotics as opposed to buying expensive supplements? I buy my grains and the fermenting kit from http://happykombucha.co.uk who will send you all the instructions on how to look after these little beauties, but be mindful, you will need to tend to them everyday, so it’s also an investment in time, but the benefits far outweigh the Tamagotchi style maintenance.

Happy fermenting 

🙂

I’ll be posting more about gut issues in a future musing – lucky you 😉