Kefir is considered one of the most useful fermented milk products because it is produced by natural milk squeezing and contains a lot of substances necessary for man. Numerous studies have found that this drink contains a unique set of chemical elements that have a beneficial effect on the body and provide it with essential support. At the same time, it should be taken into account that not all manufacturers use natural environmentally friendly products as raw materials. Namely, the quality of milk and yeast directly affects the composition and the useful properties of kefir. Therefore, we can only speak about the benefits if the drink is made in full compliance with the technology.
Composition and benefits
The main useful properties of kefir are due to the presence of two types of microorganisms:
- probiotics, which are a combination of strains of yeast and bacteria that normalize the microflora and ensure proper gastrointestinal function;
- prebiotics – carbohydrates in the form of digestible dietary fibres that serve as food for probiotics and promote their growth.
In this process of fermentation, which occurs during squash of kefir, significantly reduces the amount of anti-nutrients – substances contained in milk and prevent the absorption of nutrients from food.
In addition, the sour-milk drink contains an excellent complex of vitamins, primarily group B, including:
- Cyanocobalamin (B12) is the main “hematopoietic” vitamin, which promotes the development of red blood cells and also participates in the formation of nerve fibers;
- choline (B4) – accelerates the regeneration of liver cells after toxin damage, protects the liver from obesity, prevents CNS disorders;
- niacin (B3) – promotes cell respiration, catalyzes metabolism, arranges brain functions, improves the condition of visual organs;
- riboflavin (B2) – increases the energy level, eliminates the effects of stress, arranges the splitting of BR, participates in enzymatic reactions.
Also in the kefir there are a number of other vitamins important for man:
- C – is involved in the synthesis of collagen (a protein that forms the basis of all tissues), enhances protection against infection, normalizes cholesterol levels;
- D – stabilizes the nervous system, supports bone health, improves the structure of the skin, eliminates insomnia;
- A – fights free radicals, reduces the risk of cancer and accelerates its treatment, normalizes vision, protects brain cells, strengthens the heart and blood vessels.
Of the minerals in the fermented milk beverage, the largest amount is contained:
- potassium – participates in the mechanism of reduction and relaxation of muscle fibers (including myocardium), increases the strength and elasticity of the vascular walls;
- calcium – forms bone tissue, activates metabolism, is useful for the health of the cardiovascular system, reduces blood pressure;
- phosphorus – supports the strength of bones and teeth, improves breathing processes, participates in the formation of nervous system cells;
- sodium – restores water-salt balance, stabilizes the nervous and muscular system, improves kidney function.
In addition to these macro elements, the kefir contains chlorine, sulfur, fluorine, magnesium and other minerals. Other useful components of the drink include disaccharides and polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 and -6).
In kefir there is a small amount of alcohol (no more than 0.06%). When consumed in reasonable quantities, its presence is not felt even by the child’s body, as it will require a drink of at least 2 liters at a time.
Kefir is produced with different degrees of fat content, on which its caloric value depends:
- 0% – 38 kcal;
- 1% to 40 kcal;
- 2.5% – 52 kcal;
- 3.2% – 60 kcal.
This percentage of fat is in any case 3 g of proteins and 4 g of carbohydrates. The most useful kefir is considered to be not completely degreased, but also not too fatty, containing 1-2.5% fat.
Beneficial effects on the body
When regularly consumed in moderate amounts (2 glasses a day) kefir has a pronounced beneficial effect on the body, restoring the natural balance through a variety of beneficial actions, including:
- to stabilize the nervous system, eliminate insomnia;
- activation of metabolic processes;
- normalization of metabolism disturbed due to lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle;
- increasing the digestibility of nutrients from other foods;
- recovery of intestinal microflora, improvement of gastrointestinal function;
- strengthening muscle and bone tissue;
- immune defense stimulation.
There is an opinion that probiotics contained in kefir suppress growth of malignant tumors, destroying carcinogenic compounds and stimulating own forces of organism on struggle against them.
In general, the beneficial effect of kefir can be called universal. Regular use helps to improve bowel function, increase immunity, improve general health, eliminate excessive irritability or emotionality. In addition, this product is one of the most effective components of a diet and promotes weight loss. Against the background of all these useful properties kefir well eliminates hunger and at the same time contains few calories, so it helps to lose weight easily and quickly.
It is impossible to cure an existing disease with the help of kefir alone, but due to its useful properties it is possible to significantly reduce the consumption of drugs and accelerate the recovery process. Taking this drink for therapeutic purposes is recommended in such pathologies:
- dysbacteriosis, constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders – to improve microflora, digestion and peristalsis activation;
- diabetes mellitus to normalize pancreatic function;
- cardiovascular failure – to neutralize “bad” cholesterol, prevent clogged blood vessels, reduce the load on the heart;
- allergies – to remove allergens from the body.
If there are no contraindications, then useful and delicious kefir should be included in the diet in any state of health. After all, first of all, it normalizes the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, and a healthy intestine is the most important condition for the correct functioning of the whole body.
Tips for use
To increase the effectiveness of kefir application, it is recommended to follow the following rules:
- in case of dysbacteriosis or constipation – eat 50 ml before each meal;
- for slimming down, one glass instead of breakfast and dinner;
- to improve the quality of sleep and digestion – 1 glass before bed.
It should be considered that only fresh kefir has laxative properties (no more than 3 days). The “older” the drink, the stronger its hardening properties, and after 2 weeks it can cause food poisoning.
It is not recommended to drink kefir in case of high acidity and stomach ulcer, pancreatitis, propensity for gas formation, diarrhea. An unpleasant effect can occur when such a drink is consumed excessively, even when there are no contraindications. Most often it’s flatulence and diarrhea. An allergic reaction is possible with the use of a skimmed drink, since lactose remains in the drink despite fermentation.