Decoding Kefir: Does It Really Reduce Bloating & Improve Health?

If you are exhausted, your skin is breaking out and you’re the buttons of your jeans are popping off, perhaps you would like to commit to kefir and test the results for yourself. Experts believe that gut health is the gateway to good skin, sleep and moods, and a glass of probiotic kefir a day, kind of a tart yoghurt milk, is the magic elixir that could be missing from your routine. A rich source of calcium, protein, vitamin B and probiotics, it is the newfound hero for digestion and gut health.

 • What makes kefir one of the most potent probiotic?Kefir is a kind of tart yogurt, often milky in texture. “It is a combination of yeast and bacteria, called “kefir grain”, which is gluten-free. Milk or coconut water is combined with the kefir grains and stored in a warm area to “culture”, producing the kefir beverage. You can make new kefir from the pre-made kefir culture. You can make multiple batches of kefir with the same culture of bacteria,” explains Nisha Bajaj, Nutritionist at Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi. Kefir gives multiple benefits because it’s a probiotic and has nutrient-dense qualities. “It also helps to control blood glucose, cholesterol and weight. It plays a great role in curing & healing IBS, IBD & SIBO symptoms. Kefir’s antifungal & antibacterial properties are also beneficial against gastroenteritis, vaginal infections, and yeast infections.”

Placing it in historical context, Aakanksha Patel, Cofounder of Kefir Culture shares, this magical milk was discovered over 5,000 years ago before it was commercialized in 1930. “Called the champagne of dairy, it is closely attributed to numerous health benefits, but what most don’t know is that KËFIR can also take several forms, from milk to water, yogurt, ghee and butter – all made from the root ingredient kefir grains.” Kefir grains are a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture that contain bacteria and yeast mixture clumped together with casein and complex sugars, further explains Patel. “These grains release approximately 30 – 40 strains essential probiotics when fermented, including essential bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium – making it one of the most potent sources of probiotics in the world.” Since Kefir is low in cholesterol, sugar, fat and calories – it is often deemed healthier than any fruit juice.

Gut health and skin is closely connected, and Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, founder and medical director at ISAAC recommends one glass a day. “Kefir grains actually don’t look like wheat, but close to cauliflower and is actually home to yeast, lactic acid.”

 • How is it made?

Patel, explains that the process to create Kefir is fairly simple and similar to yogurt. “It starts with transferring active Kefir Grains into a jar of fresh, organic cow’s milk. The jar is then covered and left to culture for about 24-48 hours, until the product thickens. The active grains are then removed and reused. What is left behind is the Milk Kefir filled with probiotic goodness.”

 • So, how is kefir different from yogurt?

“The main difference between kefir and kefir yogurt is that kefir yogurt is without any whey. It’s the same difference between yogurt and Greek yogurt,” states Patel. “Kefir contains triple the strains and strength of probiotics as compared to yogurt,” says Bajaj. The active yeast of kefir has more potent benefits as compared to yogurt, agrees Abhishek Kulshreshtha – Sous Chef – Atmantan Wellness Centre, Near Pune. “Kefir has more fat, more proteins and more probiotic than yogurt. Its thinner in consistency and can be used as a drink. Kefir ferments at room temperature while yogurt needs a warm temperature.” It helps maintain a healthy intestinal tract and because of its fermentation process, is even accepted by those who are lactose-intolerant.  “For those who are vegan, kefir water is a dairy free option. Water kefir is a fermented, carbonated probiotic beverage made by combining sweetened water with kefir grains,” says Kulshreshtha.

 It’s all about that Gut Feeling

Inflammation is considered the root cause of all health ailments, whether it is redness of the skin or endocrine disorders. A healthy ecosystem of microbiomes in the gut keeps inflammation in check and enhances immune system, obesity, and even help in the better mind-body connect. That gut feeling is real afterall, if the gut is clear, the brain fog, mental exhaustion and confusion is lesser. Gut management reduces acidity, prevents bloating, prevents diarrhoea and also prevents constipation.

That’s why inti-inflammatory and probiotic drinks which keep the gut in ship shape are ruling the health counters today. And kefir is definitely shining. “Kefir is used for all symptoms related to the digestive system like indigestion, upset stomach, constipation, lactose intolerance, diarrhea caused by antibiotics, etc. It can be also helpful to treat H-pylori bacteria & reduce chronic acidity. Kefir’s antifungal and antibacterial properties are also beneficial against gastroenteritis, vaginal infections, and yeast infections,” adds Bajaj. Research has shown that some of the bacteria present in kefir may play a role in weight loss. “The protein present in kefir helps you to feel satiated and suppresses hunger, which in turn helps in weight loss,” she adds.

This article was first published in Grazia


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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