Looking for a probiotic that is also a balanced, nutrition-dense and “live” food? Check out kefir, a yogurt-like drink… even if you are lactose intolerant, and for helping to reduce lactose intolerance!
Maybe you don’t want to dwell on the idea of how many beneficial microbes are in the human gut - one of the most densely and diversely populated microbial environments on earth - we’re talking Amazon rainforest! These microbes are minding their business, working away digesting our food, enabling our absorption of nutrients, and even producing nutrients. They play a key role with our immune systems as well.
They are not very demanding of us – our part of this symbiosis is very basic. But the balance can be upset by taking antibiotics that kill good guys along with bad guys, or by ingesting chemicals in our food or drink that deplete the herds of the good guys.
So let’s talk about something more appetizing! Even though I don’t like the “buttermilk” taste of drinking unsweetened kefir straight, I think it is absolutely delicious mixed in my nutrition shakes – my favorite is the creamy “orange dreamsicle” taste when I mix it in my orange-flavored shakes.
Kefir is not new, it’s just one of those things we are rediscovering. Kefir is full of friendly bacteria from the fermentation process, and in its unsweetened form, it is a nutritionally balanced food. It is considered by many to be superior to yogurt for colonizing the intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria.
And if you are lactose intolerant, consider kefir for putting dairy back into your diet. Like yogurt, kefir contains lots of bacteria that aid lactose digestion. Both yogurt and kefir are good sources of calcium, potassium and protein, plus kefir contains a broader range of nutrients and a wider array of digestion-boosting bacteria!
I have not started making my own kefir – I am pleased with what I can buy at some grocery stores, but if you would like to look into making your own, let me know. One of my friends is really into it and has offered to share her recipe and tips.