In recent years, the search for a more natural, healthy and balanced diet has risen. Body care and well-being are increasingly commented on and shared among people who do not necessarily participate in the medium of nutrition – such as sportspeople, nutritionists or models.
Seeking to serve this public engaged in the benefits to the body, the industry also invests in functional products (those that are good for the body).
It has been easier to find these foods in stores and markets. However, people’s interest in more natural products has also risen. The result is that several foods that already participate in the dietary traditions of some people have become popular for their functional properties.
Teas, fruits and substances that have been part of some cultures for decades, are now beginning to be intensively studied and added to the nutritional habits of people interested in strengthening meals and improving organic conditioning.
Among these foods that have just arrived in the diet (but which have nothing new) is kefir. A product that promises to bring significant changes to the quality of life and the functioning of the body.
- 1 What is kefir?
- 2 Historical
- 3 What are kefir grains?
- 4 What are the properties of kefir?
- 5 Benefits of kefir
- 5.1 Improves bowel health
- 5.2 Increases immunity
- 5.3 Strengthens bones
- 5.4 Helps in the control of intestinal diseases
- 5.5 Protein digestion made easy
- 5.6 Antibacterial properties
- 5.7 May reduce lactose intolerance
- 5.8 May have antioxidant action on the skin
- 5.9 Assists in gastric function
- 5.10 Anti-cancer properties
- 5.11 Combat harmful agents
- 5.12 Can lower cholesterol rates
- 5.13 Assists in vagina health
- 5.14 Improves mental health and well-being
- 5.15 Assists in blood glucose regulation
- 5.16 Facilitates weight reduction
- 5.17 Improves allergies and asthma
- 5.18 For skin beauty
- 5.19 For hair
- 6 Adverse effects
- 7 Who should not consume?
- 8 What is the difference between milk and water kefir?
- 9 How to cultivate?
- 10 What is the fermentation time?
- 11 What does the grain look and be like?
- 12 I think my kefir died or spoiled
- 13 Is kefir yogurt?
- 14 How much and when to consume?
- 15 Recipes with kefir
- 16 How to use kefir in aesthetics?
- 17 What if I don’t want to produce more kefir drink?
- 18 Do you just need a kefir?
- 19 Common questions
- 19.1 Can I ingest the kefir grains?
- 19.2 What is the ideal container to store kefir?
- 19.3 Can I use any animal’s milk to ferment kefir?
- 19.4 Can I use lactose-free milk to produce kefir?
- 19.5 Do I need to wash the beans before the next fermentation?
- 19.6 Can I shake the container during fermentation?
- 19.7 Can I exchange water for milk or milk for water?
- 19.8 Can pregnant consume kefir?
- 19.9 Sweeten kefir with sweeteners inactive the properties?
- 19.10 Is there a coconut water kefir?
- 19.11 Can lactose intolerants consume kefir?
To have a healthy gut, you need to take care of your diet. Especially people who have constipation problems or constipation probably have heard suggestions to include probiotics in routine.
Probiotic foods contain live microorganisms that act beneficially in the body (called good bacteria), helping mainly in the regulation and balance of intestinal flora.
In Brazil, the most popular source of good bacteria products are fermented milks and yoghurts enriched with lactobacilli. But to escape the industrialized options, kefir appears as a more economical and natural alternative to add probiotics to the diet.
Also known as kefir, Tibetan mushrooms, yogurt plants, yogurt mushrooms, kephir, kiaphur, kefer, knapon, kepiand and kippi, kefir is a fermented drink from elements popularly called kefir grains.
These grains, in fact, are a microbial set or a set of varied microorganisms responsible for the fermentation of the liquid. They can be found in 2 types, the water and milk kefir set.
Among the proven benefits of consuming the drink, due to the probiotic action, are the improvement of intestinal function, improvements in digestive functions, rebalancing of intestinal flora, aid to the immune system and combating pathogens, such as harmful bacteria.
But other studies are underway suggesting several other benefits to the body.
The kefir can be grown at home, just by adding the grains to the corresponding liquid. Initially, the microbiotic group increases its size and, subsequently, it is subdivided maintaining the balance of its composition (that is, no nutrients are lost in this process and there is a multiplication of your kefir bugs).
With fermentation, the result is a very nutritious liquid, rich in vitamins , minerals and amino acids.
The term derives from the word keif, of Turkish origin, which refers to “well-being” or “well-living”. Just by the etymology of the name, you can already imagine that kefir can provide several benefits to the organism.
Although water and milk kefir have very similar functional effects (probiotic), they are very distinct microbiotic cultures and have a different history as well. Check the probable origin and consolidation process of the products:
According to researchers of the product, kefir was already known in antiquity, being even called “drink of the prophet”. Originated in the Caucasus Mountains, there are two stories for the discovery of food.
The first is a little more mythical and points out that the kefir grains were delivered by Allah to the prophet Muhammad, who then passed the product on to the Caucasians. Thus, Muhammad’s grains were passed from generation to generation, constituting a food tradition.
The other version points out that Caucasians carried fresh milk in leather bags and noticed that some factors caused changes in appearance and taste. Gradually, fermented milk started to be consumed and became established in the food tradition.
The product started to become popular among the continents of Central Europe and later it also became known in other regions.
According to research, kefir is already widely known and commercialized in countries like Russia, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Romania, where there is the commercial and homemade cultivation of the drink. In Brazil, on the other hand, the product is still restricted to homemade production, being often mistaken for a yogurt or curd.
The water kefir, also called tibico, has a little-known history, but, according to research, it is known that grains were already part of the eating habits of several peoples in antiquity.
Some researchers point out that the probable origin of the water kefir is Mexico, around 1899, when ML. Lutz observed and reported the presence of the grains. On record, it appears that the water was rich in sugar, due to contact with Cactus of Ountia and, with the presence of kefir grains, it was possible to verify the fermentation of the liquid.
Currently, the places where the product is most consumed and grown are mainly Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, Colombia and India.
Kefir grains are a set of microorganisms with a similar appearance to cauliflower. With a gelatinous appearance, the lumps are between 3mm and 35mm in diameter and have a whitish or slightly yellow color.
The water kefir can still present a more transparent color, tending to yellow.
Between milk and water kefir, there is little visual difference, and it is mainly the color and size of the lumps that make the distinction more evident.
The grains present an association mainly of acidic lactic bacteria, acidocetic bacteria and yeasts, surrounded by polysaccharides (called kefiran). On average, milk clumps increase in size by 5% per day, while those in water show an increase of up to 45% per day.
In general, the products formed during the fermentation of the liquid are lactic acid, CO2 and alcohol, which can vary the quantities and concentrations according to external factors (such as the origin of the grains, place of cultivation, climate and quantity of used grains).
The set of microorganisms present in milk kefir feeds on lactose, which is the sugar naturally present in milk, resulting in a slightly acidic or sour fermented milk.
The water kefir, on the other hand, has a microbiotic set that feeds on carbohydrates . But, as water does not have an energy source to promote the proliferation of bacteria, it is necessary that the liquid be added with other substances, such as sugar, brown sugar and fruits (as they contain sucrose).
The result is an effervescent and slightly acidic liquid, which can also be savored with fruit juices or used in food preparations.
The nutrients and components present in the drink will depend on the type of kefir – water or milk -, in addition to the use of other products (for example, fruits, sugar, molasses or the type of milk).
The main properties are:
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help the intestinal tract, favor digestion and improve the health of the body as a whole. In addition, these bacteria can assist in the synthesis of some vitamins, such as B12 and K, improving the nutritional use of food.
In kefir, the microorganisms present are quite varied, but it is known that Lactobacillus make up most of the grains.
In studies carried out on the composition of Brazilian kefir, researchers have identified several species of microorganism, in which about 60.5% are lactic bacteria, 30.6% yeasts and 8.9% are acetic acid bacteria.
The bacteria identified and attributed to the kefir microbiotic set are divided into 4 groups:
- Lactococci: Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis;
- Enterococci: Enterococcus durans, Leuconostocs, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Leuconostoc sp.;
- Acetic acid bacteria: Acetobacter aceti; Acetobacter lovaniensis; Acetobacter pasteurianus; Acetobacter sp .;
- Other bacteria: Bacillus sp. , Bacillus subtilis , Escherichia coli , Micrococcus sp .
The yeasts identified in the product are divided into 4 major groups, which are:
- Candida: Candida friedrichii white Holmii white inconspicuous, Candida kefyr, Candida lambica white sea white pseudotropicalis white tannotelerans white fine white valid;
- Saccharomyces: Saccharomyces carlbergensis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces dairensis, Saccharomyces delbrueckii, Saccharomyces exiguus, Saccharomyces sp., Saccharomyces turicensis, Saccharomyces unisporus;
- Kluyveromyces: Kluyveromyces lactis, Kluyveromyces marxianus;
- Outras leveduras: Torulaspora delbrueckii, Brettanomyces anomalus, Issatchenkia occidentalis, Kazachstania aerobia, Lachancea meyersii, Pichia fermentans.
In addition to the probiotic effects, which improve gastrointestinal functions, kefir has other nutrients capable of acting beneficially in the body.
The studies on the properties of the product are even more detailed in the milk kefir. The presence of vitamins B12, B1, K, calcium and proteins are higher (or exclusive) in the type fermented in dairy products due to the nutritional properties of the milk itself.
According to nutritional tables prepared by researchers, a glass (200mL) of milk kefir has approximately:
- 104 calories
- 6g of lipids;
- 25mg of cholesterol;
- 70mg of sodium;
- 7g of carbohydrates;
- 6g of protein;
- 187m of calcium;
- 148mc of phosphorus;
- 0.1mg of iron.
In addition, the drink can offer the body vitamins A, B12, B7, B1, C and D. According to some analyzes carried out in 2003, the 100g of milk kefir showed:
- 4g de lactose;
- 0.12g of potassium;
- 0.05g of sodium;
- 0.05g of tryptophan;
- 0.34g of leucine;
- 0.27g of lysine;
- 0,22g de valina;
- 0.6mcg of vitamin A;
- 0.4mcg of vitamin B1;
- 0.17mg of vitamin B2;
- 0.5mcg of vitamin B6;
- 0.33mcg of vitamin B12;
- 1mg of vitamin C;
- 0.08mg of vitamin D;
- 0.11mg of vitamin E.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, that is, the body is not able to produce it, and it is necessary to resort to food to supply its intake.
The substance has important functions in the body, such as participation in protein synthesis, regulation of physiological mechanisms and aid in the growth and development of the body.
Tryptophan acts with other substances, such as vitamin B3 and magnesium, promoting the action of serotonin (that hormone responsible for pleasure and well-being). Therefore, the amino acid can have beneficial effects in the treatment and prevention of depression , insomnia and in the regulation of mood.
Regular intake of kefir can bring relaxing effects to the person, stabilizing or improving mental health and well-being.
The drink has been consumed for centuries due to its health and well-being benefits. But, until a few years ago, knowledge about the substance was based on popular traditions and observations.
With the popularization of kefir, studies on real properties and effects on the body have increased, proving the product’s action.
The research carried out to date has already classified kefir as a functional food. That is, capable of bringing benefits, promoting the proper functioning and health of the body. Among the effects of liquid consumption are:
Improves bowel health
Do you know that precious tip of drinking yogurt or fermented milk to help the lazy intestine? If yogurt is replaced with kefir, the benefits are even greater.
This is because the drink has higher concentrations of bacteria favorable to the intestine, capable of reorganizing the intestinal flora and reducing constipation.
A guided study with rats, in 2005, points out that animals that received dosages of kefir presented a greater stimulus of peristalsis (bowel movements), improving the functioning and the evacuation process.
By consuming kefir, you help to restore intestinal organization and, as a consequence, reduce the risk of other diseases arising from it.
The immune system is also favored with the consumption of kefir, because millions of bacteria make up the intestinal flora and are closely related to the immune system and the proper functioning of other body activities.
After all, you can only enjoy your meal, in nutritional aspects, if the intestine is able to properly absorb nutrients. Several factors can interfere with the microbiotic balance of the intestine, such as chronic diseases, infections, and use of medications.
If the intestinal flora is well balanced and working effectively, the nutrients will be better absorbed and, thus, avoiding various dysfunctions and increasing immunity.
The risks of osteoporosis are reduced with the consumption of kefir. That’s because, according to a study published in the medical journal Osteoporosis International, in 2014, the drink improves bone density due to increased absorption of minerals (such as calcium and magnesium).
Helps in the control of intestinal diseases
A study developed by Wroclaw Medical University, indicates that the high concentration of probiotics in kefir can have beneficial effects in cases of inflamed intestine.
According to the researchers, there seems to be a direct cause of the imbalance of intestinal flora and gastrointestinal changes, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory and necrotizing enterocolitis or cases of diarrhea.
The study points out that these conditions can, in general, benefit from the use of probiotics to recover and rebalance the organ. The result is that patients have the best responses to treatment and alleviated symptoms.
The application of the drink for gastrointestinal improvements is not recent, as it has already been widely used in hospitals in the former Soviet Union, making up the diet of patients with gastrointestinal diseases.
Protein digestion made easy
A study conducted with rats, in the late 1990s, points out that kefir has protein characteristics superior to those of milk. This is because, during lactic fermentation, some proteins break down, leaving them in smaller and easier to digest units.
In addition to facilitating the process of nutritional degradation (that is, promoting easier digestion), the breakdown can improve the absorption of nutrients by the body.
Drinking can help fight pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, Helicobacter Pylori and E. Coli . In addition, the drink minimizes the symptoms resulting from infections and intestinal diseases.
May reduce lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance is an increasingly common condition. About 37% of the Brazilian population suffers from some degree of inability to digest lactose and, if we consider the global indices, the numbers rise to 70% of the population. That is, if you have no intolerance, surely someone close to you does.
Milk kefir is essentially used in liquids of animal origin, such as cow or buffalo milk. For lactose intolerants, this intake could be very harmful, causing great gastrointestinal discomfort.
However, there are studies that point to kefir as able to consume these patients as well. This is because, during the fermentation process, bacteria and yeasts consume milk sugar (ie lactose).
More than that, the food has a substance called B-galactosidase or, more simply, the enzyme lactase . Yes, the one that is absent in patients with intolerance.
According to a nutritional study conducted in 2007, patients with milk intolerance are able to ingest up to 200mL of skimmed or whole milk kefirated for 24 hours.
It is also suggested that consumption of the drink may facilitate the digestion of lactose from other foods. That is, if your sensitivity to milk is moderate or low, kefir can help when you want to have an ice cream.
However, it should be noted that not all organisms behave in the same way and there are varying degrees of intolerance. While there are patients extremely sensitive to protein, others are able to consume and process very small doses of lactose.
May have antioxidant action on the skin
A study published in 2003, in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, carried out with rats pointed out the kefir’s ability to preserve the structure of the skin. To evaluate the action of the substance, two groups of animals were used.
While the first group received kefir ointments, the second used products enriched with vitamin E , which has recognized properties capable of improving the health and appearance of the skin.
The results show that kefir has antioxidant actions similar to those of vitamin E, but with potentially greater results, preserving the skin’s structures and minimizing the signs of premature aging.
Assists in gastric function
People who suffer from excessive stomach acidity, reflux, gastritis and ulcers may have their symptoms minimized by ingesting kefir. This is because the drink helps in the regulation of acidity, reducing the aggression to the mucous membranes of the stomach.
Animal studies indicate the anticancer action of kefir, in which up to 81% of the mice that received kefir water showed, at the end of the research, a reduction or inhibition of tumor growth.
However, a later study failed to replicate the results. Some researchers point out that the antitumor action may be related to the type of cancer .
Another analysis published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, in 2007, suggests that kefir has properties possibly capable of inhibiting the growth and proliferation of breast cancer , being an auxiliary agent in the treatment of the disease.
Combat harmful agents
A study carried out in 2005 tested the kefir’s antimicrobial action, that is, its ability to combat agents harmful to health. After developing a kefir-based ointment, the product was used in rats that had a wound infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause pneumonia and meningitis , for example).
The result showed that the animals that used the ointment had a 70% better recovery than the rats treated with antibiotic- based ointments .
In addition, studies indicate that the product has an effective action in combating the agents Pseudomonas aeruginosa (responsible for otitis ) , Candida albicans (responsible for candidiasis ) , Salmonella typhimurium (responsible for salmonella) , Listeria monocytogenes (responsible for gastric infections) and Escherichia coli (responsible for gastrointestinal infections, sinusitis and meningitis) .
Can lower cholesterol rates
Probiotics can promote an increase in short-chain fatty acids in the body, resulting in decreased blood cholesterol rates.
The process can occur by two mechanisms: the liver synthesizes less cholesterol or there is a better and more balanced distribution of the substance between the plasma and the liver. Along with this process, bile acids are less absorbed and, therefore, destined for excretion in the faeces.
Assists in vagina health
In general, symptoms of burning, discharge, itching and odor are caused by infections that occur when the intimate pH is unregulated. That is, when the bacteria naturally present in the vagina are out of balance.
According to a study published in the journal Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases, in 2008, eating probiotic foods can prevent infections and changes in the vaginal flora, reducing cases of candidiasis, for example.
Beneficial microorganisms are able, according to the study, to reach the intimate region alive and assist in microbial regulation.
In addition, kefir can assist in strengthening the immune system as a whole, making the body able to combat agents harmful to health.
Improves mental health and well-being
The drink is rich in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin. The substance is related to feelings of well-being, relaxation and happiness. Patients report the best mental disposition with the consumption of kefir.
Assists in blood glucose regulation
The consumption of kefir can decrease the absorption of glucose and, consequently, avoid spikes of insulin in the body. Patients with type 2 diabetes can benefit, as there is a greater stabilization of glycemic rates.
Facilitates weight reduction
As kefir can promote greater glycemic stability, those who want to reduce some measures have benefits with consumption.
When blood sugar rises too quickly, the body produces high amounts of insulin, the hormone that lowers the glycemic rate.
However, spikes in sugar and after insulin cause the sugar to run out quickly and the feeling of hunger to return. That is, the greater the variation in your blood glucose, the greater the hunger.
As kefir helps to stabilize and regulate blood glucose, the tendency is for meals to be more moderate and food satiety to be prolonged.
Improves allergies and asthma
A study conducted with rats and published in the medical journal Immunobiology, in 2007, pointed out the action of kefir on allergic processes in the respiratory and asthmatic pathways. In the research, the clinical picture of rats that received kefir was compared with those that received antiasthmatic remedies.
At the end of the study, it was observed that the group of animals treated with kefir had a more marked reduction in total inflammatory cells, in addition, asthma- related agents ( eosinophils and interleukin, IL-13 and IgE) were also stabilized.
Another study, published in the Journal of Dairy Science, showed similar results on the drink, pointing out the drink’s anti-inflammatory action.
For skin beauty
The use of kefir on the skin can be a great alternative to promote hydration, strengthen the tissue and give a healthy appearance to the skin tissues. The product can be applied to the body and face, improving collagen action, stimulating the recovery of scars, attenuating spots and wrinkles, in addition to reducing acne.
As kefir can promote an antifungal action, the threads and the scalp are greatly benefited.
When using the product, flaking (dandruff) and dryness can be minimized and the nutritional properties give more strength and resistance to the hair, reducing the fall and the fragile aspect.
In addition, if you want to moisturize your hair with natural products, kefir can be an excellent option, as you can use it as a moisturizing mask .
Despite the positive actions in the body, the consumption of kefir may not be tolerated by all people.
In addition to sensitivity to the product, as well as any substance, however natural and beneficial it may be, excessive intake can have side effects or damage to the proper organic functioning.
Among the side symptoms seen by some people are:
People who have a digestive disorder, such as a high frequency of bowel movements or food sensitivity, may experience gas , abdominal discomfort and bloating. This occurs due to the prebiotic effect, which promotes greater intestinal movement (peristalsis).
Headaches and stomach irritation are seen by some people, probably caused by the body’s sensitivity to the action or properties of kefir.
Heartburn and stomach pains can arise, especially if fermentation is inadequate (leaving the liquid in contact with the grains too long or too short, or adding too little liquid).
Patients with some degree of lactose intolerance should be aware of the consumption of milk kefir. Although many people tolerate intake well due to reduced lactose in fermentation, not all lactose molecules are broken down, which can cause adverse effects.
The consumption of probiotics in general can cause an increase in histamine. The substance is produced by the body when probiotic bacteria reach the digestive tract.
Despite being beneficial microorganisms, the body does not make the distinction and tries to fight them, raising the level of histamine. One of the possible adverse effects is tissue irritation.
Histamine release promotes blood vessel dilation so that the infected region receives more blood and fights potentially harmful agents more quickly. In that case, red patches may appear on the skin, itching and irritation.
The condition may be more aggravated if the patient is sensitive to histamine.
The condition is rare, but approximately 1 case of yeast infection can occur for every million people using unfermented probiotics, and 1 for every 5.6 million people who ingest fermented products.
In general, they are patients with a weakened immune system and, therefore, susceptible to infections and contamination.
Intake of kefir is not recommended for children under 2 years of age, hospitalized patients or those with serious impairment of the immune system, people with high intestinal mobility function or sensitive to probiotics.
Patients being treated with antibiotics or who make recurrent use of alcoholic substances should also not consume.
People who are lactose intolerant may be tested with milk kefir. If there is high sensitivity or symptoms are observed, you can choose to use water kefir.
The grains of water and milk kefir differ by the microorganisms present, after all, each type needs to ferment in different liquids.
If you’ve tried to change your kefir’s fermentable drink, you probably know that the change doesn’t work, as the properties of milk are quite different from the properties of water.
In addition to the difference of bacteria and yeasts present in the grains, what distinguishes kefirs, basically, is the nutritional property.
While milk is a probiotic food rich in proteins and fats, water is just a food rich in good bacteria.
The first thing to know before you want to consume kefir is: you will not find it in stores. And it is not just the fermented and ready-to-drink beverage that cannot yet be purchased in Brazil, as kefir grains are also not available in stores or shops.
So, if you are planning to insert the drink in the routine, you need to find a donor, that is, someone who does the cultivation and gives you a quantity of the culture.
There are sites that register donors and indicate those closest to the location of those looking for them. In addition, social networks have several groups of exchanges, donations and product information.
After purchasing your beans, it is time to start home cultivation.
The materials needed for this are a glass container, a light cloth or gauze, a sieve, another container to put the kefired liquid and the milk or water with some sugar.
Some basic tips for both crops – water or milk:
- Do not use metal or steel materials (containers, strainers, sieves or spoons);
- Sanitize and dry the containers before starting production (wash with hot water and allow to dry well);
- If possible, separate the equipment used only to prepare the kefir (this will reduce the risk of contamination from other products and the kefir itself);
- Prefer milk and water at room temperature so that the fermentation time is not changed (low temperatures or using cold liquids make the fermentation be slower);
- Never heat the beans or put them in hot water or milk;
- Once strained, you can store the liquid for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
Growing water kefir
Water does not have fermentable properties, so it is necessary to add some component to it. In general, sugar (white, brown or organic), fruit, brown sugar or molasses are used.
To start, heat about 250mL of mineral water and add 1/4 cup of the chosen sugar or fermentable food (about 4 spoons). Stir well to dissolve and then add another 750mL of unheated water.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the liquid to the glass container and add the kefir grains, measuring 2 to 4 spoons for each liter of water.
As you produce and test the flavor, you can change that amount (the more grains of kefir, the more acid, sour and accentuated the flavor).
Cover the container with gauze or light fabric (so that it is not completely sealed), securing it with an elastic band.
The warmer the environment, the faster the fermentation. In regions with an average temperature of 22º, the fermentation time is between 24 hours and 72 hours.
Remember to store the container in a place protected from light and sudden changes in temperature.
After this period, strain the liquid and store it in a jar or tightly capped container in the refrigerator.
The drink will have a variable color, depending on the sugar or fermentable product (brown sugar will make the drink darker than white sugar), but the result is usually a tea-like drink and always slightly fizzy or fizzy. .
The strained grains must be returned to a new container with fermentable water, starting the process again.
Which sugars to use in the fermentation of water kefir?
The most recommended sugars to add to the water are:
- Organic sugar;
- Raw sugar;
- Brown sugar;
- Refined sugar;
- Crystal Sugar;
In addition to these products, it is possible to use fruits, honey or molasses to provoke fermentation.
However, some nutritionists and researchers point out that these components can alter the fermentation process of the drink, resulting in a less probiotic, less nutritious and therefore less functional liquid.
On the other hand, even if the fermentation is less, using these variations of sugars, you give different flavors to the drink.
Growing milk kefir
The preparation of the drink is very close to the water kefir process, but it is not necessary to heat the milk beforehand. In addition, there is no need to add any other product to the liquid, as the lactose itself undergoes fermentation.
Place 1 liter of milk at room temperature in a glass container and add between 2 and 4 tablespoons of kefir.
Cover with gauze or a light fabric, securing it with an elastic band. The glass must be stored in a dry place, protected from light and temperature variation.
It is worth remembering that if you want to opt for vegetable milks (either due to lactose intolerance, vegan diets or the taste), it is necessary to use the water kefir. Since vegetable milks do not contain lactose, the milk grains will die.
During fermentation, you may notice a division between the whey and the milk. The process is natural and you only need to stir it a little so that they mix again. When straining, you will notice that the milk has a thicker consistency, similar to that of yogurt.
The fermentation time is variable and can last between 12 and 72 hours in general. Factors such as the temperature of the region, the amount of liquid and grains, in addition to the particularities of the colony of microorganisms will influence the consistency, flavor and speed of fermentation of the kefired liquid.
As you grow your own, you will realize which time suits your taste best. In general, the longer the fermentation, the more acidic the drink becomes.
In addition, some researchers suggest that the actions in the body are:
- 12-hour fermentation: laxative action;
- 36-hour fermentation: assists in the restoration and stabilization of the intestinal flora;
- 48-hour fermentation: reduces diarrhea and intestinal irritation.
To know when the product is ready for consumption, just check the consistency, as kefired milk is denser. If there is liquid and thin milk at the bottom of the container, you need to leave more time.
Remember that kefir culture is a living component, so it is natural that it exhibits variations in behavior. There is no point in buying the beans from your cultivation with those you see on the internet, as this may cause doubts about the functionality of the fermentation.
If you follow the storage recommendations correctly, everything is likely to be all right and they are healthy. In general, the grains, after being strained, may appear in a cluster, as a more compact mass or with loose lumps.
- They can be more or less viscous, as if covered by a gelatinous film;
- They may appear more spongy or airy;
- They can become looser, like grains of rice;
During fermentation, some may float in the liquid while others may not;
In addition, their growth is quite variable. The cultivation process is gradual and, in general, it can take up to 30 days after the first activation (first fermentation) to start growing.
You will notice the body’s increase in grains, so it is necessary to donate them as they increase (otherwise, you will soon have a fridge full of kefirs).
It is possible that your kefir has died if the beans have a very strong and unpleasant smell, with a change in color. The product must have a whitish color for milk, or a yellowish transparent color for water.
If the crop has greenish, brown or darkened tones, it is recommended that you discard kefir and purchase another crop.
Both milk kefir and yogurt are fermented dairy products. The main difference is in the amount of microorganisms in each product: while yogurts generally have 3 or 4 groups of bacteria, kefir can have approximately 35 distinct groups.
In cultivation, the main difference is that yogurt uses a sample of the product itself to be fermented. That is, if you make yogurt at home, you need to add some of it to the milk to start fermentation.
The kefir, on the other hand, uses only the kefir grains, without having to keep a sample of the kefir liquid.
As for the flavor, although close, the yogurt is softer and, in general, more tolerated (due to the lower acidity).
In Brazil and other countries, only yoghurts are produced commercially, while kefir needs to be produced homemade. In addition, markets invest in various yogurt flavors and consistencies, making it easier to purchase and consume.
What is the best?
There is no decisive answer. The best product is one that meets your needs.
In general, it can be said that kefir is healthier when compared to industrialized yoghurts or fermented milks, as it does not have chemicals (such as stabilizers, acidulants or flavorings), sugars or fats added (as in the case of flavored yogurts) .
In general, there is not a correct amount of kefir consumption. Of course, any excess will have adverse effects, especially probiotic foods, which can have intense effects on the intestine.
Kefir adherents generally consume between 200mL and 500mL per day, but this will depend on a number of factors, such as your dietary routine, consumption of other probiotics, the functioning of your intestines and your affinity for flavor. .
Nutritionists indicate that, more than the amount, it is necessary to pay attention to the regularity of the intake. That is, there is no point in consuming 1 liter of the drink in a day and then neglecting to ingest it, as the effects will not be effective.
Initially, the ideal is to start with lower amounts, about 200mL or less daily. If there is a need to increase the effects on the body, the intake can be increased gradually.
In addition, the best times to use the drink are in the morning or evening. It is not a rule, and you should consume it at the time that best suits your routine. However, the use of probiotics on an empty stomach or before bedtime is, in general, more effective.
After straining the liquid, you can consume it immediately or store it in the refrigerator. The options for increasing food are quite varied – after all, the juice of kefir is similar to that of yogurt, and can be used in recipes as well, such as sauces and cakes.
If the sour taste of the product is pleasant to your palate, it is possible to ingest it pure. Otherwise, it can be mixed with fruits, beat in a blender (as a vitamin), eat with granolas and cereals or use in juices.
In addition, you can desorph kefired milk (remove the whey), changing its consistency. Using a cloth strainer or a paper filter (like coffee), you transform your fermented drink into a product similar to Greek yogurt or even cheese, depending on the weather.
To do this, let the kefir milk be filtered in the refrigerator for 12 hours. The longer the serum withdrawal process, the firmer the separated mass will be.
Remember that it is only the kefired liquid that you should consume. Grains are used to ferment a new liquid and there are no studies that prove the effectiveness or benefit of ingesting them.
You can use the liquid to prepare recipes that use yogurt, but remember that when you heat the drink, some nutritional and microbiotic properties may be lost, but that does not prevent you from using it for cooking.
Below you will find some practical tips for using the kefir drink and getting more health:
Vitamin with kefir milk
To reinforce the breakfast with more fruits, the vitamin with kefir is an easy and practical option. Enough:
- 250ml of kefir milk;
- 5 strawberries (or other fruit of your choice);
- Sweetener to taste.
Mix all ingredients in a blender. In order not to change the properties of the kefir, you can beat the fruit with a small amount of the liquid and, after well crushed, mix the rest of the milk.
Greek kefir yogurt
Prepare 1 liter of kefir milk as usual. Line a sieve or funnel with a clean dish towel or strainer, put the kefir milk and refrigerate, allowing it to desorption for about 16 hours or until it acquires the desired consistency.
You can mix fruit jelly with yogurt, giving it more flavor.
Let the milk ferment for 48 hours and strain the kefir normally. Line a sieve or funnel with a clean dish towel or strainer, pour the milk to desorption and keep in the refrigerator.
In general, it takes 48 hours for the whey to drain well and get that harder cheese, like ricotta.
If you prefer, you can add salt, oregano or other spices to the milk, before draining.
Pate with olives and kefir
To make the pate you will need:
- 5 large black pitted olives;
- 1/2 cup of milk kefir;
- 1 coffee spoon of dehydrated garlic;
- 1 shallow coffee spoon of dehydrated chives;
- 1 drizzle of olive oil;
- Salt to taste.
The preparation is quite simple, just beat all the ingredients in the blender until the mixture is homogeneous. Then place the paste in a closed container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Orange cake with kefir
For the recipe you need:
- 1 cup of wheat flour;
- 1 cup of fine oatmeal;
- 1 tablespoon of quinoa flour;
- 1/3 cup kefired milk;
- 1/3 cup orange juice;
- 1 shallow tablespoon of grated orange peel;
- 1/3 cup unsalted margarine;
- 1/3 cup brown sugar;
- 3 tablespoons of honey;
- 3 eggs;
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
In the mixer, put the sugar, honey and margarine, beating until it forms a homogeneous paste. Add the eggs one by one without turning off the mixer.
In a few minutes, the mixture will form small bubbles of air, becoming slightly foamed. Add the kefir milk and orange juice, beating until the mixture is uniform.
Slow down the mixer and add the orange zest, quinoa, flour and oats gradually. When all the ingredients are incorporated into the mixture, turn off the mixer and add the yeast, stirring manually to mix.
Pour the dough into a greased and floured form with wheat, take to bake for 40 minutes at 200º degrees.
Passion fruit flan with kefir
For this light and simple dessert to make, you need:
- 1 cup of milk kefir;
- 1 cup of concentrated natural passion fruit juice;
- 7 tablespoons of brown sugar;
- 1 colorless flavorless gelatin envelope;
- 1/2 cup filtered water for gelatin.
And, for the syrup, the ingredients are:
- 1/3 cup of passion fruit pulp with seeds;
- 1/3 cup filtered water;
- 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Start by moisturizing the gelatin in ½ cup of hot water and set it aside. In a blender, place the kefired milk, passion fruit juice and brown sugar, beating for 3 minutes. Then add the hydrated gelatin and beat for another 3 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
Pour the liquid into a baking dish or container of your choice and refrigerate until it acquires a firm consistency (about 3 hours).
For the syrup, place the passion fruit pulp with the seeds, water and sugar in a saucepan, bring to the heat until it thickens and turn off the heat.
After unmolding the flan, serve the cold syrup on top.
The benefits of kefir are not restricted to food, so it can also be used in aesthetic treatments, helping in the health and beauty of skin and hair.
Check out some recipes that you can make with kefir:
To strengthen and moisturize hair
To use kefir on your hair, you will need to separate the whey from the milk kefir. In this case, when draining the liquid, it is the serum that will be used in the recipe.
To do this, just let the drink strain for approximately 2 hours (put in a coffee filter or dish towel and let it drain until the serum is separated).
You will need 1 cup of whey kefir and 1 cup of the water kefir grains.
Beat the ingredients in a blender for approximately 5 minutes, until the product acquires the consistency of a gel.
After washing your hair normally, you should apply the gel from root to tip and leave it for 10 to 30 minutes. Then rinse the wires.
Mix 1 cup of milk kefir whey with 1 cup of the water kefir grains. Beat in the blender for approximately 5 minutes, until it acquires the consistency of gel.
Wash your face thoroughly with mild soap and apply kefir gel all over your face. Leave on for about 1 hour and then wash off with warm water.
The mask helps in hydration and skin recovery. Age signs and expression marks can be soothed with frequent application (use, on average, once a week).
Whitening face mask
Leave the kefir milk to desorption for 24 hours (place in a clean coffee strainer or dish towel until the whey drains) and apply the white paste to the clean, dry face. In this case, the serum is discarded and it is not necessary to mix any other product with the desorbed kefir.
Let it act for at least 30 minutes. The result is a renewed skin, with gradual reduction of blemishes, hydrated and rejuvenated.
Kefir mask for oily skin
You will need:
- 1 teaspoon of prepared mint (can be sachet or fresh leaves);
- 2 tablespoons of kefir yogurt;
- 1 spoon of cucumber juice (to facilitate obtaining the juice, grate a slice of cucumber and squeeze the contents into a sieve);
- 1 or 2 tablespoons of oat bran.
Prepare the mint tea and let it warm. Mix all the ingredients and stir well.
Oats will give the mask the desired consistency, so the more bran you put in, the firmer and drier it will be.
Before applying the mask, wash your face thoroughly with mild soap and apply the mask. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then rinse your face.
If you do not want to produce more fermented drink or you are unable to donate and need to store the beans, a simple suggestion is to freeze them.
By doing this, you prevent the grains from dying or from multiplying.
You should normally strain the liquid and separate the amount to be frozen into well-sealed individual jars. Remember to freeze in the amount of use (2 to 4 spoons), as it facilitates the reactivation process.
The jars go to the freezer and can be stored for up to 1 year. To use the beans again, just defrost the container at room temperature.
No attempt to speed up defrosting by adding warm or warm milk or water. The process must be natural.
After thawing, the beans can be used normally, adding them to the respective drinks (water or milk).
If you just want to suspend the use for a few days (for example, you will be traveling during the week), the ideal is to make the beans fall asleep.
To do this, just add them to a container and cover with a little milk, about 1 or 2 fingers of the drink. Then add mineral water (about 150mL to 200mL) and place in the refrigerator.
By adding water, you dilute the amount of lactose in the milk, making the fermentation low.
To wake up the grains, that is, to use them again, it is necessary to strain and discard the liquid used to make the kefir fall asleep, restarting the fermentation process normally.
It is not a must, but it is highly recommended. That’s because, when you start growing, your fridge will have a large amount of kefir in a short time.
In order not to kill the colonies, you can donate (and help those who want to start cultivating and consuming too).
There are several websites, portals, blogs, communities on specific social networks for the exchange and donation of kefir. Just find one and register or announce your interest in donating.
The whole process is taught, because aiming at the safety and comfort of the members, each group may request different forms of delivery.
In fact, there is only one consensus among kefir consumers: there is no commercialization. That is, you cannot sell, just donate or exchange.
Can I ingest the kefir grains?
No . The consumption of kefir must be through the fermented liquid. After cultivation, the beans must be separated from the drink.
There are no studies that indicate the greatest benefits of consuming culture. Therefore, direct intake of kefir grain can even be harmful to health.
What is the ideal container to store kefir?
Use glass containers, as they are easier to sanitize and do not alter the properties of the drink. In addition, stainless steel and steel materials can inactivate fermentation.
Can I use any animal’s milk to ferment kefir?
For milk kefir, yes, as long as they are of animal origin, as the drink needs to contain lactose. For vegetable milks, water kefir should be used.
Can I use lactose-free milk to produce kefir?
The recommendation is that milk kefir is used in animal milk (vegetables naturally do not contain lactose to ferment). Beverages of animal origin without lactose have the enzyme lactase added.
As the cultures are living and varied microorganisms, there are reports that fermentation did not occur in zero lactose cow milks and others that it was possible to produce kefired milk, but with a marked change in flavor.
The recommendation is that, in cases of preference for drinks without lactose, use the water kefir.
Do I need to wash the beans before the next fermentation?
No . In addition to being unnecessary, washing can interfere with the microbiotic composition due to the chlorine in the water, or even reduce fermentation, making the probiotic action of the drink less.
Can I shake the container during fermentation?
-Yeah . In fact, it is highly recommended that you shake, as the movement promotes a mixture of the content and accelerates the fermentation. It is as if you are waking up the bacteria.
Can I exchange water for milk or milk for water?
No . If you want to change the fermentable liquid, you need to change the kefir grains as well. This is because each microbiotic culture is capable of fermenting in a specific environment. Since milk and water have different characteristics, when you change the liquid incorrectly, your kefir grains will die.
Can pregnant consume kefir?
Only pregnancy or lactation are not impaired or altered by kefir, except in cases where the doctor recommends suspension of intake.
There are no contraindications for moderate consumption of the drink, except for children under 2 years of age, patients with severe immune reduction or who are undergoing chronic treatments.
Sweeten kefir with sweeteners inactive the properties?
No . After fermentation, you can use the drink just as you would consume a yogurt. The use of synthetic or natural sweeteners does not interfere with their properties.
What can occur is a nutritional change, due to the addition of carbohydrates, fats, calories or other nutrients.
Is there a coconut water kefir?
No . It is an adaptation of the water kefir grains. Instead of using sugar or molasses, you can use coconut water which, because it contains fructose, generates fermentation.
Can lactose intolerants consume kefir?
In general, patients who have some degree of lactose intolerance are able to consume up to 200mL of milk kefir per day without experiencing reactions.
This is because, during fermentation, lactose proteins are degraded.
It is worth remembering that if you have very high sensitivity, symptoms may appear, and it is more recommended to prefer the water kefir.
If your lactose intolerance is high or moderate, it is still ideal that the fermentation time be longer. In general, the longer the fermentation, the greater the lactose breakdown of the drink (leave for at least 36 hours).
The search for functional foods has increased recently, causing several products that have been present in some cultures for years to be rediscovered and reinserted in the diet.
It is observed that this behavior stimulates the consumption of less industrialized foods and, as a reflex, studies on the nutritional properties of these foods increase.
Kefir, which has been known for centuries in different cultures, has gained an important place today. The health benefits of good bacteria are widely publicized and research suggests that kefir may have even broader effects than just intestinal regulation.
To learn more about the news of food and well-being, keep an eye on the Healthy Minute!