Water Kefir is a super drink rich in probiotics that have benefited the bellies for hundreds of years but is finding a new life with a modern interest in natural well-being.
In addition to containing a powerful punch of probiotics, this tasty beverage has also been shown to improve immunity, slow the growth of cancer cells and improve overall health.
Before mass-produced soft drinks became the sugary villains they are today, soft drinks were consumed regularly for reasons of health and pleasure: the sources of soft drinks were located right inside the pharmacies.
These days, hand-made sodas can still be good for you. Some sodas, such as those made from water kefir grains, even contain probiotics that can help healthy digestion.
(It seems good to me: I know I’d prefer to get my probiotics from fermented foods and beverages naturally than from a pill)
Best of all, Water Kefir can be made at home with a few simple ingredients.
What Is Water Kefir?
Water kefir is a fermented carbonated beverage that is produced using water kefir grains.
Unlike regular kefir, which is made with cow, sheep or goat milk, water kefir is obtained by combining sugar water with water, kefir grains, a type of bacteria culture and yeast similar to a grain.
Although basic water kefir is drinkable, it becomes much tastier when you turn it into a flavored soft drink.
Improve kefir with tea, juice or fruit; Let the carbonation accumulate for a day or three and you will have a refreshing, soda pop filled with healthy probiotics.
The sky is the limit, so feel free to be creative with your aromas. Some of my favorites are lemon balm tea, grapefruit, sage and prickly pear.
Water kefir is not only delicious and easy to enjoy, it is also full of health benefits and can be an excellent addition to a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
The benefits of Kefir water
1. Kefir can colonize the gut
Experts say that if probiotics do not get through stomach acid into the gastrointestinal tract, they will not be able to provide health effects.
It is believed that the base of kefir milk reduces the acidity of the stomach and allows beneficial bacteria to be transported to the large intestine.
The test tube studies have subjected probiotics in kefir to acid with a pH similar to that of stomach acid, and the probiotics survived.
It has even been shown that the microbes in kefir stick to cells similar to those in the walls of the intestine, therefore colonize it and help protect against harmful bacteria.
2. Kefir can protect against infection
Although antibiotics kill bacteria that cause infections, they can also kill beneficial bacteria.
This can cause an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the intestine and a possible excessive growth of unhealthy bacteria and yeasts.
Some of the bacteria in kefir, including Lactobacillus kefiri found in milk kefir, can fight infection.
Research indicates that this bacterium can slow the growth of harmful pathogens, such as Helicobacter Pylori, Salmonella and E. coli, which can often cause food poisoning.
One study even found that the topical application of kefir helped prevent infections and encouraged wound healing.
This activity may be partly due to kefiran, a type of sugar found in kefir.
3. Kefir can calm the digestive system
Fermented milk products containing lactic acid bacteria favorably alter the microbiota of the intestine.
Sometimes, kefir is known as a functional food. This means that it has a positive outcome on your health afar basic nutrition.
Along with its other health benefits, kefir can help treat diarrhea. Certain factors, such as taking antibiotics, can hinder the fight against pathogens by the immune system.
Probiotics help to restore the balance of flora and healthy mucosa in the intestine that optimize digestion.
Yeasts found in kefir can reduce diarrhea caused by certain bacteria, antibiotics, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Probiotics in kefir have also been found to treat Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and digestive problems caused by H. pylori, a bacterium that is related to cancer.
4. Kefir can protect you from cancer
Cancer is caused by the body’s cells that mutate and grow uncontrollably. A tumor is an example of this.
Studies show that good bacteria found in kefir can prevent the growth of tumors.
Probiotics can reduce the speed of enzymes that convert certain compounds into carcinogens in the body.
Kefir can also act as an antioxidant and protect the immune system. Kefir has been researched for its role in protecting against colorectal cancer.
In test tube studies, it has been found to stimulate the destruction of tumor cells.
It was also discovered that Kefir helps stimulate the death of cancer cells in the investigation of leukemia.
Another study compared the potential effects of kefir cancer prevention with those of yogurt.
The study concluded that kefir extract was much more effective in reducing the number of breast cancer cells.
However, some studies reviled that kefir did not lessen the ability of cancer cells to mobilize and penetrate the body.
However, kefir has antioxidant effects, which can help reduce the risk of cancer.
5. Kefir can improve the symptoms of lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance occurs when your body can not properly digest certain milk sugars.
Kefir has no problem breaking down the sugar in the milk. In fact, kefir grains “eat” the lactose in the milk, turning it into lactic acid.
This results in a drink that contains less lactose than milk. The enzymes found in kefir can further help the body process the sugars in milk.
The research had found that when people consumed yogurt, they experienced less gas than when they drank milk.
Those that drink kefir tends to experience better results than the group that ate yogurt.
If you are lactose intolerant, you can benefit from the properties that improve milk health by fermenting it with kefir grains.
You can also make kefir without dairy by preparing it with non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk or other nut milk.
Kefir can even become a frozen treat similar to ice cream.
6. Kefir can improve the symptoms of allergies and asthma
Asthma is caused by inflammation and allergens.
In fact, many allergic reactions are caused by inflammation due to an overactive immune system.
Some studies in animals have found that kefir reduces the inflammation associated with allergies and asthma.
It was found that kefir significantly suppressed the inflammatory markers of interleukin-4, helper T cells, and IgE immunoglobulins.
This, in turn, had an anti-inflammatory effect.
7. Kefir helps preserve food
This is an indirect health benefit. Food fermentation tends to prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria.
As in the intestine, if good bacteria grow in fermented foods, bad bacteria have trouble thriving. Fermentation has been used for eras to help preserve food (58).
Kefir cannot kill salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. However, breads made with kefir instead of yeast stay fresh longer.
It may cause side effects in some people
For most people, water kefir can be enjoyed safely with minimal risk of adverse symptoms.
Like other foods rich in probiotics, the most common side effects include digestive problems such as bloating, nausea, constipation, and cramping.
These side effects are likely to decrease with continued use.
You may want to check with your doctor before taking kefir if you have any condition that weakens your immune system, such as AIDS.
Although studies generally show that probiotics are safe for these individuals, some case reports suggest that probiotics may be associated with an increased risk of infection.
Water Kefir Recipes
- ½ cup water kefir grains
- 8 cups of divided water
- ½ cup of sugar (divided) from organic cane, coconut or a mixture (this will be metabolized by kefir grains, so it will NOT end up in the finished beverage.)
- ½ lemon
- 2 prunes
- Three 2-quart mason jars,
- Plastic lids,
- Kitchen towel
- 1 to 2 cups of fresh fruit or fruit juice.
- Optional additions – ginger, whole spices, herbs.
- Fill two half-gallon mason jars with 4 cups of cold water in each.
- Add ¼ cup of sugar in each, stirring to dissolve mostly.
- Add ¼ cup of kefir grains to each jar.
- Add ¼ kefir water to each jar (optional, obviously, you can only do this after your first batch of kefir, so just leave it out for the first batch).
- Add ¼ of a slice of lemon to each jar.
- Add 1 plum to each jar.
Cover both jars with a fine kitchen towel and leave them on the counter for 2 to 4 days. 2 days if it is hot, 3-4 days if it is cold.
This period of 2 to 4 days allows the beans to “eat” the sugar, so most of the sugar will be metabolized and will not end up in the drink.
You want the water to reach the point where it is no longer sweet, but it tastes a little strong. So try it before moving on to the next step.
If it tastes sweet, it’s not ready. When it’s cold this takes more time.
- After 2 or 3 days, the kefir will have slightly fermented, with an acid or slightly sour taste, but there is one more step that gives it flavor and makes it effervescent and bubbly.
- Prepare your third jar and place 1 1 1/2 cups of fresh and ripe fruit on it, such as fresh berries, peaches, mango, pineapple, plums, concord grapes, apples, pears; I mix them a little to release their juices. Add a few thin slices of ginger or whole spices if desired. Or add 1 cup of fruit juice, especially nice in winter when fresh fruit is limited.
- Filter the two bottles of fermenting kefir water into the third clean jar with the fresh fruit in it, filtering the kefir grains (set them aside) by filling the clean jar (with the fruit in it) half an inch from the top . Then, cover it well with a metal lid and leave it on the counter for another 24 hours, allowing the pressure to accumulate even more, belching (releasing the pressure), approximately every 8 hours, especially if it is hot.
I will warn you that using metal caps have their pros and cons. They allow pressure to build up, creating an effervescent bubbling kefir, but they can explode if the pressure is not released occasionally. The plastic caps are “self-belching”, that if you are away from home for more than 8 hours, I would recommend using them. The downside is that the plastic caps do not allow the pressure to grow enough in my opinion, so the kefir is not so bubbly. Sometimes I change between the two, depending on whether I’m planning to leave.
- To reiterate: during the 2nd phase, the water kefir creates gas and increases the pressure, what you want it to do.
This makes it nice and bubbly, but with the metal lids, you should let some of the pressure out, “burp” it Every 6-8 hours or so, so the lid does not bend or snap open (yes, this happened to me my). With a plastic lid, it stays well, burps, but is less bubbly.
- After 24 hours, the fruit will float to the surface and it is time to refrigerate it. Burp it, place it in the fridge. Once it’s cold, try it. You can strain it and put it in a different container to pour, or simply strain it while pouring it, leaving the fruit for a maximum infusion. It’s up to you.
- The kefir grains that you took out before should be stored in a smaller bottle, in the additional kefir water that you will have after joining the two jars in one. You can refrigerate and feed them with a teaspoon or two of sugar, every week, or if you try to grow more grains to give away, keep the jar on the counter and feed it every other day. They grow faster at room temperature and grow more slowly in the refrigerator. They are happiest when they are actually making water kefir, so I usually make a jar a week.
Water kefir is a probiotic beverage linked to various health benefits, which includes better immunity and even protection against certain types of cancer.
Dairy-free and friendly to vegans, this tasty beverage offers beneficial bacteria and yeast and can be easily prepared at home with sugar water and water with kefir grains.
If you want to add more probiotics to your diet and improve your overall health, consider trying water kefir.