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7 Reasons I Have Kefir Every Day

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kefir grains and milkLots of articles are popping up about reasons you should have kefir, but few of the people writing the articles have actually drunk kefir every day for 14 years. This post is specifically talking about milk kefir and not water kefir.  My reasons for drinking kefir are very personal and specific to me. But here is what I’ve noticed through the many years of drinking kefir: whatever  your ailment, kefir seems to address the problem on an individual basis. When people write to me and say,  “I no longer need my inhaler for asthma since drinking kefir” or “Kefir improved my kidney function. My liver was damaged from hepatitis C and kefir repaired it” I am constantly amazed. I was in awe for many years at the many things kefir could do; but as the years have continued, I am a believer that kefir is not just a food, but rather a healer.  Kefir is a combination of microbes that, through the magic of fermentation, adds more vitamins and special properties to an ordinary substance, healing so many who consume it. So each day as I stand in my kitchen and make kefir for myself and my family, I am grateful. Grateful for what it has done for me and continues to do. Thankful that it’s so easy and inexpensive and has helped so many individuals. It makes my cup runneth over . . . every day. I sure love my friend kefir.

smoothie two

Kefir lowers blood pressure

This is the first thing kefir did for me so many years ago. It dropped my blood pressure when it was high and it made me stop and take notice. What was this drink that was having such an impact on me? And from that day to this, I continued drinking kefir to keep my numbers normal and my body happy. Kefir was found to work on an enzyme in the stomach much like an ACE inhibitor drug will do, to lower blood pressure naturally in one out of three people.1 It also reduces inflammation throughout the body. And more and more studies are finding that probiotic-fermented milk has blood-pressure-lowering effects in pre-hypertensive and hypertensive people.2

Kefir lowers blood sugar

This was the second thing that happened to me when I started drinking kefir 14 years ago. It normalized my high blood sugars and I have been drinking it ever since. Many studies are confirming that altered gut flora are present in humans and animals with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and hypertension. Growing research suggests that people who are obese, and resistant to insulin, have microbes in their gut that are different from the microbes of healthy people. There is evidence that feeding probiotics and prebiotics to those with diabetes-related obesity and metabolic disorders can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, restore glucose sensitivity, and lower blood pressure and weight by altering their gut flora and encouraging the right kind of microbes to thrive and grow.3

summer kefir Kefir and acid reflux

This was the third thing I noticed, and this came from my husband who had terrible acid reflux. Not only did it stop his acid reflux so he wouldn’t have to take antacids every day, but it also normalized and restored balance to his gut. Many, many people have experienced the same thing. They will often share with me how they got off their prescription medications with kefir and how grateful they are that they found the remedy in a food and not a drug. People are unaware that many antibiotics destroy certain bacteria we need to keep acid reflux in check. It’s becoming quite common, and more and more people are getting reflux due to this particular bacteria being destroyed. Martin J. Blaser, M.D., talks more about this in his book Missing Microbes.4 We don’t realize how we affect the inner workings of so many functions in the body by destroying needed microbes with antibiotics. Kefir helps correct this.

Kefir and hay fever

For over 40 years I’ve had seasonal allergies. But as long as I change my diet and have lots of kefir (at least two cups a day) and stay away from inflammatory foods, those allergies don’t flare up. When you have hay fever, your immune system is overreacting to a substance it shouldn’t overreact to. Our immune system must distinguish between “allies” that can be beneficial to our health and “enemies” that can have harmful effects.  The trillions of bacteria that live in our gut help to determine this recognition. When it fails, an immune response occurs. Restoring beneficial bacteria strains to the gut allows the body to function as it should.5 A study was done with  60 hay fever sufferers who were given daily drinks containing Lactobacillus casei (this is found in kefir). Those who received the probiotic drink saw changes in allergic inflammation in their nasal lining, as well as changes in their blood, that are associated with immune responses. I have found many things influence your seasonal allergies and it has as much to do with what you shouldn’t eat as well as what you should be adding to your diet. Staying away from inflammatory foods is crucial. Here is more on this subject. How I cured my seasonal allergies.

kefir grains Kefir detoxes and keeps balance

Kefir boosts the immune system but it is also a very powerful detoxifier. With more than 50 good strains of microbes, it will colonize the body, remove pathogens, and re-establish the proper balance of strains of microbes throughout the body. This includes keeping the Candida yeast in its proper place. One of the fastest ways to get a yeast overgrowth is by taking an antibiotic. The connection between healthy gut flora and allergies was directly shown in a study by immunologist Gary Huffnagle and his colleagues at the University of Michigan. In this experiment, a group of mice were given antibiotics in an effort to disturb the natural bacteria levels in their systems. After the bacteria were killed off, the scientists threw off the balance of the microbiome even more by feeding the mice the yeast Candida albicans. The resulting low bacteria-high yeast ratio approximates the conditions of having a yeast infection, which is a sure sign of a gut imbalance.This group of mice and a control group were then exposed to spores of the mold Aspergillus fumigatus and to egg white protein—two substances known to cause allergic reactions. The mice in the control group, whose gut bacteria were undisturbed, had a much milder reaction to the allergens than those that had been treated with antibiotics, which was severe. Having lots of kefir will help you keep everything in its proper place. Kefir also helps with liver function by assisting the liver in detoxification.6

Kefir lowers cholesterol

 I had several close friends tell me that their cholesterol started improving when they began to eat fermented foods. In fact, their good cholesterol rose quite significantly and they were really surprised how good their numbers were. It’s a very interesting thing to understand how all this works.7,8 Beneficial microbes bring down cholesterol levels as they grow in the intestinal tract, they then consume some of the cholesterol that is present, incorporating it into their own cells. This means the cholesterol becomes unavailable for absorption from the intestine into the blood stream, naturally lowering total cholesterol.

Kefir’s calming effect on the central nervous system

This is another one of the miracles that I have found kefir performs for me. When I’m super stressed, two to three cups of kefir, spread throughout the day, will calm me down and chill me out. Kefir contains many vitamins, minerals, and enzymes – calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folic Acid, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin D. Two cups of kefir has all the B12 you need in a day. Kefir has lots of amino acids. Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, and is known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system.9 These complete proteins in kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Because kefir also has an abundance of calcium and magnesium, and also has  important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves. I can testify to that!

These are just a few of the many things kefir has done for me. I’m not just spouting facts and studies, I’ve lived these experiences and love to tell others about them. When you make kefir, just know that it is so much more than you can imagine. Billions of microbes in a glass of kefir that are just waiting to help you. They can only do this if you give them the A-Okay. Now, don’t you think it’s time?

Would you like to see all the helpers in kefir? It’s pretty impressive.

Bacteria in Kefir
Species Lactobacillus Species Streptococcus
Lb. acidophilus St. thermophilus
Lb. brevis [Possibly now Lb. kefiri] St. paracitrovorus
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus Species Lactococcus
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei Lc. lactis subsp. lactis
Lb. fermentum Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Lb. cellobiosus Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis Species Enterococcus
Lb. fructivorans Ent. durans
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. hilgardii Species Leuconostoc
Lb. helveticus Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Lb. kefiri Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum Leuc. dextranicum
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
Lb. parakefiri Acetobacter
Lb. plantarum Acetobacter aceti
Acetobacter rasens
Yeasts C. maris
Dekkera anomala / Brettanomyces anomalus Cryptococcus humicolus
Kluyveromyces marxianus / Candida kefyr Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis
Pichia fermentans / C. firmetaria Kluyv. bulgaricus
Yarrowia lipolytica / C. lipolytica Kluyv. lodderae
Debaryomyces hansenii / C. famata Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
Issatchenkia orientalis / C. krusei Sacc. pastorianus
Galactomyces geotrichum / Geotrichum candidum Sacc. humaticus
C. friedrichii Sacc. unisporus
C. rancens Sacc. exiguus
C. tenuis Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
C. humilis Torulaspora delbrueckii
C. inconspicua Zygosaccharomyces rouxii

References:

  1. Y. Hata et al., “A Placebo-Controlled Study of the Effect of Sour Milk on Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, no. 5 (November 1996): 767–71: ajcn.nutrition.org/content/64/5/767.full.pdf
  2. J.Y. Dong et al., “Effect of Probiotic Fermented Milk on Blood Pressure: A Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials,” British Journal of Nutrition 110, no. 7 (October 2013): 1188-1194: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23823502
  3. A. Everard et al., “Cross-Talk Between Akkermansia muciniphila and Intestinal Epithelium Controls Diet-Induced Obesity,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 22 (May 28, 2013): 9066–71: www.pnas.org/content/110/22/9066.full
  4. Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser
  5. Oral Delivery of a Probiotic Induced Changes
  6. Rodrigues, K. L., Caputo, L. R. G., Carvalho, J. C. T., Evangelista, J., & Schneedorf, J. M. (2005). Antimicrobial and healing activity of kefir and kefiran extract. International journal of antimicrobial agents, 25(5), 404-408
  7. Medrano, M., Racedo, S. M., Rolny, I. S., Abraham, A. G., & Pérez, P. F. (2011). Oral administration of kefiran induces changes in the balance of immune cells in a murine model. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 59(10), 5299-5304
  8. Furuno, T., & Nakanishi, M. (2012). Kefiran Suppresses Antigen-Induced Mast Cell Activation. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 35(2), 178-183
  9. The effect of kefir consumption on human immune system: a cytokine study
49 Responses to "7 Reasons I Have Kefir Every Day"
  1. I love this article! I have been making/eating/drinking kefir, kombucha and cultured veggies since February and wow what a difference to so many different issues. I even have my dad, mom and sister and her family hooked on all things fermented. I have both of your books and they are like my Bibles, and I haven’t even gotten to the creative recipes or uses yet.

    Quick question, I love this chart that you list the bacteria and yeast in kefir, do you happen to have something similar for kombucha and cultured veggies? I am one of those people that needs to understand the hows and whys and love learning everything I can. You tell a lot in your books, but this chart is amazing to see everything lined out.

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work and sharing it with all of us, you have been a lifesaver for me and my family!

  2. Hi Donna,
    I’m really loving your website. I recently purchased Kefir grains from you and have been making Kefir daily. My question is in regards to its consistency. Pours more like milk and I can’t say that it is overly sour after the 24 hour fermentation. I had been drinking Kefir from the store but it is nothing like the homemade so I don’t know how to judge whether it is as it should be. Also, if I place my kefir grains in the fridge in milk for a few days, (so far I’m the only one drinking it) when I pour off the milk, do I consider that to be Kefir to drink or do I just pour it out and add fresh milk for a new batch? Thank you for your wonderful site and products. I’m so looking forward to getting your book. Cheryl

    • It should be thicker than milk but it should be quite tart and sour. You might not be fermenting it long enough or using more milk than you need for the amount of grains. This all depends on temperature in your home as well. If you need more help send us and email at support@culturedfoodlife.com

      You can drink the milk you store the grains in or discard it although its not really fully kefir. If your grains are in the fridge a lot it does take them a little longer to make kefir the next time.

  3. Great article. I have made my own kifer a few years back. I have low blood sugar. Do you still suggest drinking kifer?

  4. Donna
    My husband got gout when he drank beer and or wine so he is hesitant to use fermented foods. He asked the Dr. And he said that the fermentation was definitely the cause. I wonder if kefir or kombucha would cause his gout to flare.

    • While all cultured foods are fermented, not all fermented foods are raw or lacto-fermented the old fashioned way, which infuses them with probiotics. Foods like beer and wine are heated, killing the probiotics and have high alcohol and acidity levels. This is not the case with probiotic foods that are alkaline and healing.

  5. I would like to know if there’s any difference in the good bacteria of kefir made with raw milk and kefir made with store-bought pasteurized/homogenized milk. Am I still getting plenty of beneficial bacteria and nutrients with store milk? While I would prefer raw milk, it’s just not feasible right now.

    • Raw milk has a lot of its own bacteria which competes a little bit with the kefir cultures. Pasteurized milk doesn’t have any of its own bacteria so there is less competition. You will gets tons of benefits from both milks so don’t worry if you can’t afford it right now.

  6. Thank you for your article. I have a question regarding using kefir in a smoothie.
    I put it in a blender with berries and honey but am worried that the blender will kill the cultures? Please advise if this is ok?

  7. I don’t have time to dedicate to making kefir at home but is store-bought just as good for my guts? It’s still better to have store bought than none at all. Drink kefir however you can.

  8. I am new to kefir. I bought freeze dried Kefir grains and rehydrated them. I’ve had them for three months now. My kefir is tart and sour and creamy but I wouldn’t say smooth. I have kept them going day after day and use the kefir in smoothies and strain it with homemade yogurt. I don’t enjoy the taste and don’t see how anybody could drink a straight glass of it. I have tried second fermenting and love the lemon in it, but still cannot handle it straight out of a glass. Is it supposed to be this way? Any suggestions? I would love my husband and kids to drink it, but since it doesn’t taste good to me I haven’t pushed it with them…

    • Are you sweetened it with honey or stevia or another type of sweetener? Fruit helps too but often you need to add another type of sweetner and we like stevia.

  9. Hi I Live is South Africa Durban and cannot seem to find the Kefir Grain or any other product of the Kefir range any idea as to where and how I can get hold of it

  10. Absolutely great article and website, Donna. I had no idea kefir had so many varieties of friendly microbes. I have been inspired to consume the trilogy for a year and see a decrease in allergic reactions. I still have major fungal overgrowth (and indigestion), which required me to give up all sugars, grains and starches. I also had amalgam fillings for years. I have been told that heavy metals in the body prevent beneficial bacteria from flourishing, and rather encourage fungal overgrowth. If you have any studies on this, Donna, I would appreciate it. I would like to enjoy all the benefits of cultured foods!

  11. I recently started making kefir, I drink it as smoothies adding raspberries blueberries and a bit of honey, alternate with puréed pumpkin and honey and cinnamon. Thank you for all the great tips.
    My question is when do I split the grain? I noticed in a week they have grown/multiplied.
    And also does it harm the kefir bacteria benefits if I use a blender with a metal blade to make the smoothie?

  12. Hi Donna, I don’t eat any animal products but was wondering if you know if kefir made with the alternate liquids and dates have the same variety of microbes as the dairy version? In other words would it be worth it or not to make it that way, or would it just be a pale likeness? I make my own yogurt and eat a lot of other ferments, but haven’t tried kefir. TIA!

  13. I really appreciate your science and your underlying love for this very basic tool of the cultured food trade: good ol’ milk kefir!!

    I am not sure how I even bumped into kefir in my life, but ever since I did, we have made it. Almost every day for the last six years, we’ve had kefir in the house. All four of us in our family love kefir, and drink it a lot.

    But truth be told — we are not very consistent. It’s like we let the treasure sometimes get buried.

    I think we just feel like other foods will fill us up and we better be “full” as we go out to our busy days. So maybe we all need to be more intentional about it? Hmm. This makes me want to do an experiment and see what would happen if I intentionally chose to eat kefir *every day*.

    How about you? How much milk kefir do you drink every day? And how much kombucha? How much cultured vegetables?

    I would love to see: A week from Donna’s meal journal!

    Thank you again for your inspiration. I will let you know how my experiment goes!

    • I drink at least two cups of kefir a day. I’ve up it from the blog below as I found I needed more. About 1/2 cup of veggies and sixteen ounces of kombucha. It makes all the differences in the world when you do it daily. Kefir is what it’s top priority in my life. It’s has been life changing many times, and it has taught me to have it. Without it I struggle and suffer and I’ve learned many lessons from this. Donna needs kefir to stay happy, healthy and strong and without it I’m not who I want to be. Lessons I live by. https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-cultured-foodie/

  14. Love your articles and kefir! The grains I originally started with produced yummy, thick kefir. Then life happened and I didn’t make kefir for over a year. The grains I’m now using produce a good kefir taste but it doesn’t become thick and creamy in consistency as before. Any suggestions/ideas??? Thank you!

  15. Water kefir is not as good then for acid reflux as milk kefir? I have hiatus hernia and thought that is the reason I have acid reflux. If you can’t get fresh cows milk is pasturized whole milk ok to use for milk kefir? Does milk kefir taste sour?
    Thanks for all your help.

    • I don’t recommend water kefir for acid reflux. Often it’s not fermented properly to remove the sugars and this can aggravate reflux.

      You can use pasteurized milk and kefir transforms the milk. It does taste sour and tart like yogurt but this means the microbes have eaten the sugars out of the milk and made them into probiotics just for you.

  16. Does kefir help with acid reflux caused by a weak muscle connecting the stomach to the oesophagus? I don’t have pylori. I am trying to get off PPI’s because I have osteoporosis and read that these drugs are bad for bones.

  17. Thanks for the wonderful info. I have been making Kefir from your grains with canned coconut milk. Does it have the same vitamin B and C and long list of microbes as dairy Kefir?

    • It has different vitamins and minerals specific to coconut milk and also other benefits that dairy doesn’t have. But it has tons of probiotics!

  18. I go back and forth eating this delicious kefir, then I believe the comments about dairy is meant for baby calves, not adults and produces mucous, etc. in the body. What do you make of this info?

    • It healed me and thousands of others so it has made me a believer in its power. Kefir is a completely different food than regular pasteurized dairy. Through the process of fermentation the milk is infused with Vitamin C and B vitamins plus billions of probiotics and minerals. You can’t really compare the two since kefir becomes a completely different food due to fermentation. If you’re concerned, kefir can also be made with non dairy milk as well.

  19. I had the same benefits re: blood pressure, cholesterol, and especially seasonally allergies. After 70 years of spring and fall seasonal reactions, I no longer use OTC meds. The real change is at night I can finally breath thru my nose all night. I eat my cereal and berries with home made kefir every day now. It took some time for these changes to occur (say 6 months). Note I recently started to make and use fermented veggies, too.

  20. Are all theses benefits from milk kefir? I have started drinking coconut water kefir daily instead of milk. Will the benefits be as good? I’ve been drinking milk kefir daily for about 2 years and have had acid reflux off and on for a long time. Thru blood test, I was recently diagnosed with H Pyloria. I’m am currently on 2 antibiotics for ten days and will be re-tested in a few months. Do you use grass fed milk and is it 2% or whole?

    • Yes these benefits are from milk kefir and you need to read my book Cultured Food For Health that relates to H Pyloria and acid reflux. This is directly related to why you have acid reflux. I use grass fed whole milk to make kefir and raw milk a well.

  21. Hello Donna… I see this list, but how do you get the guarantee that these species are in the particular kefir chosen? There are premade kefirs in the stores, and lots of people who sell packets.. do all the packets have the SAME species? thanks, amy

    • Easy Kefir ( which I sell in my store) has these specific specie,s since they’re made from actual kefir grains. I have seen other products that do not have this many species but are different strains in smaller amounts that are specific to kefir.

  22. Donna, Thank You!!!!!! for sharing. I’ve had a serious gut problem for years. I’m a Pro Member too.
    However, I have not had the healing of my gut using Kefir and fermented veggies. I’m trying Precious Water, a silver ion solution sold by Harry Watson (93yrs old) with continuing to use the homemade kefir and fermented veggies. Drink a lot of Kefir each day. A pint for sure. Tremendous gas!!! Backed off some. Still believe in kefir and fermentation. Any words from you would be greatly appreciated

    • Is the product you’re drinking killing off bacteria? It might be killing the good bacteria as well as the harmful and causing the good bacteria not to thrive and grow and causing a lot of stomach distress as well.

  23. Thanks for this article Donna. We drink our daily kefir thanks to your inspiration that got me started making it!

  24. What kind of Kefir is best? I will have to purchase it.
    Many thanks and have a rainbow day!
    Jennifer ?

    • Homemade kefir is the best kefir and has 10 tens the benefits of store bought kefir. You can sign up for my free ebook to learn how easy it is to make.

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