What is Water Kefir?
Kefir grains are cultures of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeasts which are held together in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. The symbiotic relationship of the microbes produces a stable growing culture. The microbes feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide, yielding a fermented carbonated beverage. The alcohol content in kefir varies with the fermentation time, and is usually less than 1% .
While some people have successfully converted milk kefir grains to culture in sugar water, water kefir grains are different from milk kefir grains. Milk grains are white and look like cottage cheese or cauliflower florets. They are squishy, kind of slimy, and rubbery in texture. Water kefir grains are translucent white and break easily under light pressure. They more closely resemble irregular crystals. To the tongue, water kefir grains have a very mild taste and remind me of eating hominy. Milk kefir is quite chewy and tough. Both kinds of grains are safe to eat or put into smoothies.
Water kefir grains are sometimes called tibicos, tibi, or Japanese water crystals. Kefir grain cultures may vary in numbers and types of microbes. Typically Water Kefir grains have a mixture of healthy (friendly) strains such as : Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus , Lactobacillus alactosus, Lactobacillus casei casei, Lactobacillus pseudoplantarum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Streptococcus lactis, Streptococcus cremeris, Leuconostoc mesenteroide, Saccharomyces florentinus, Saccharomyces pretoriensis, Kloeckera apiculata, Candida lambica, Candida valida and possibly others. Lactobacillus brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide matrix that forms the grains.
There is considered to be a probiotic benefit from the many varied microbes. Water kefir provides this benefit without the use of dairy products. It can be a healthy and valuable substitute for sugar soda products. Sugar is added to the kefir recipes because that is what the kefir eats; however, there is far less sugar in the finished kefir beverage. Stevia or chemical sugar substitutes will not support kefir fermentation and growth. Honey is not recommended either.
Kefir drink has been known to help in the cure of back pain, neck pain and diverticulitis. It is also believed to help in the detoxification of the intestinal and removal of intestinal parasites. The healthy drink is also known to lower the blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of cardiac arrest by over 30% in mid aged folks.
The drink has been used by athletes to tone their bodies using the folic acid contained in the mixture to improve their circulation and blood pressure. The kefir diet is also used by Yoga trainers and it is also known as the Yoga Masters diet, Jesus diet, vegans diet and marathoners diet. It is true that many people that are serious in their health have used or still continue to use kefir drink as their number one choice in refreshment and healthy drinks.
Kefir, the miracle food, is known as a superb probiotic source. With rich probiotic content, it automatically has a positive effect on our bodies. Kefir and Kefir grains have been around for centuries and centuries back, and all for a good reason.
Here are some of the known kefir health benefits:
- Strongest natural remedy against any allergy
- Strongest natural antibiotic without side effects
- Treats liver disease
- Treats gallbladder, dissolves gall bladder stones
- Clears the body of salts, heavy metals, radionuclides, and alcoholic products
- Cleans the body of chemical antibiotics
- Treats kidney stones
- Good bacteria in kefir are able to fight off pathogenic microorganisms
- Lowers level of LDL cholesterol
- Cleans the gastrointestinal tract
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Treats gastritis
- Treats pancreatitis
- Treats ulcers
- Prevents and treats colon cancer
- Improves digestion
- Improves the body functions
- Improves the human immune system
- Cures Candida
- Cures hypertension
- Stops growth of cancer cells
- Speeds up healing process
- Treats psoriasis
- Treats eczema
- Treats inflammatory diseases
- Reduces size of tumors
- Treats heart disease
- Reverses calcination of blood vessels
- Clears the blood vessels
- Boosts the bodies energy
- Natural “feel good” food
- Treats lung infections
- Normalizes metabolism thereby can be used as for weight loss
- Cures acne
- Has anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties
- Nourishes hair
- Treats the gum disease parodontosis
- Lessens effects of medicines
- Replenishes body of good bacteria after antibiotic
- Balances the microflora of the body’s digestive system
- Regulates blood pressure
- Lowers blood sugar
- Lowers blood lipid levels or cholesterol and fatty acids
- Treats diarrhea
- Treats constipation
- Promotes bowel movement
- Anti-stress properties
- Treats sleeping disorders
- Treats depression
- Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Improves the brains neuro functions like reflexes, memory retention, attention, the five senses
- Reduces flatulence
- Lactic acid fermentation enhances the digestibility of milk based foods. People who cannot otherwise digest milk, can enjoy the vital calcium rich Kefir.
- Treats yeast infection
- Eliminates vaginal odors
- Cures wrinkles
- Treats arthritis
- Treats colitis
- Treats gout
- Cures migranes
- Treats rheumatism
- Treats other stomach disorders
- Detoxifies the body
- Enhances absorption and digestion
- Good bacteria manufacture B vitamins such as B3, B6 and folic acid.
- Aids in treating tuberculosis
- Treats stomach cramps
- Treats chronic intestine infections
- Treats liver infections
- Treats asthma
- Treats bronchitis
- Treats sclerosis
- Treats anemia
- Treats hepatitis
- Healing effects on catarrh, digestive nodes, astral nodes, bilious complaints
- Treats leaky gut syndrome
- Prevents metastasis
- Cures bad morning breath
These are but some of the known kefir health benefits.
It just so happens that plants also contain an enzyme called phytase. Phytase will break down phytic acid if given the chance. Nature is awesome like that. Humans also produce phytase if we have healthy gut flora. Another huge benefit of drinking kombucha and water kefir. Unfortunately, if you aren’t eating a diet high in fermented foods or if you’ve ever taken antibiotics, your gut flora is likely out of whack, meaning the grains need help breaking down the phytic acid.
To activate the phytase, soaking, sprouting, or souring is required. Different plants contain different ratios of phytase to phytic acid. This means that some grains and beans are easier to digest than others. Roasting at low temperatures can also help break down phytic acid in some grains and nuts.
Wheat and rye contain very high levels of phytase so it is easy to get rid of the phytic acid with a simple soak. Other grains, including corn, millet, oats and brown rice have a low level of phytase and often retain phytic acid after a soak or sprout. It is important to keep this in mind when considering how much you consume on a daily basis.