Kefir is an acidic fermented milk beverage that originated from the Caucasus region, thousands of years ago. It is produced from kefir grains, which are a cluster of active microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) held together in a white gelatinous matrix that look like small cauliflowers. Kefir has a uniform creamy consistence, it is slightly carbonated and it presents a small amount of alcohol, produced by the yeasts.
Kefir is actually considered an example of probiotic mixture of bacteria and yeasts. Today, traditional authentic kefir can be prepared by culturing pasteurized milk with kefir starters at home. The main species of bacteria found in kefir belong to the genera of Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc and Acetobacter, while yeasts are mainly Kluyveromyces marxianus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
A vast variety of different species of good microorganisms are found in kefir. This is why it is actually so healthy. Because kefir is such a balanced and nourishing food, it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from different disorders.
Kefir is easily digested and it provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, many bioactive ingredients or nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and complete and partially digested proteins as well; which give it unique health benefits. Kefir is reported to have various health benefits such as anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic (inhibiting or preventing the development of abnormal biological tissue or organ) and pro-digestive effects. It has been shown to control several cellular types of cancer.
The regular use of kefir can help relieve intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system. Its excellent nutritional content offers healing and health-maintenance benefits to people in every type of condition.
All the different microorganisms found in kefir participate together to the elaboration of a fresh, thirsty, active and delectable fermented milk, every species delivering a specific characteristic or flavor, contributing to the unique aspect of kefir.