I tried the sour concoction for 30 days to see if the purported health benefits are true.
What is kefir?
Unlike yogurt that is made through the fermentation of bacteria in milk, kefir is made with both bacteria and yeast. The drink has a similar consistency to yogurt and contains more probiotics, but the taste is far more tart.
Benefits of kefir
It’s definitely an acquired taste but advocates find the health benefits irresistible. The high probiotic content is said to regulate bowel movements, treat digestive conditions, and improve the immune system.
Additionally, kefir is said to lower cholesterol, improve lactose tolerance, help stomach health, improve mood, boost energy, as well as aid in weight control. It is a source of nutrients including calcium, protein, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamins A, B2, B12, K and D. On top of that, some say kefir can promote skin healing and regulate blood sugar levels.
As a food lover who doesn’t do portion control, I often feel bloated, so I wanted to see if kefir could really make a difference to my digestive health. Reducing hormonal rashes and getting leaner wouldn’t hurt too.
Lucky for me, my mum makes kefir daily. Yes, kefir can be made at home – all you need are the kefir grains and milk. Harvesting the kefir grains from scratch can be tricky, so you can opt to buy it or borrow it from a friend who has some. Place the grains in a glass container, pour in some milk and leave it to sit for 12 to 24 hours before refrigerating it for consumption.
I’m not a fan of the taste at all but duty calls, so I began this journey of drinking half a glass of plain kefir every day for 30 days. (Note: It’s been two months and I haven’t stopped.)
Regular bowel movements
I drank it every night during dinner so the taste would not linger for long. I’m not sure if it is the timing or the quick laxative effects of the drink, but I started having very regular bowel movements in the morning. I did not suffer from constipation prior to this experiment, but I felt that the kefir made my loo trips a lot more predictable. A week in, the taste didn’t seem so bad anymore, and I continued drinking it and reaping results.
(Also read: 6 Probiotic-Rich Foods to Start Eating Now)
I’m not sure if this is solely due to the kefir, but my skin seemed to look brighter. I have relatively clear skin, but I do get bumps during that time of the month. When I was on kefir, I had a few hormonal bumps here and there, but nothing more than that. Do note that this might not work on everybody as some people get breakouts from large doses of dairy.
I love eating, so I try to go for healthier options to allow myself to consume more without packing on fat. However, I can still end up feeling slightly bloated. With kefir, I felt satiated after meals without feeling stuffed. This happened during all my meals even though I took my kefir at night. Due to the lack of bloating, my waist looked much smaller than normal!
A great byproduct of this experiment was the slight weight loss – and I dropped an inch off the waist thanks to less bloating. When I started drinking kefir in the morning, I felt full and did not feel the urge to snack unnecessarily before lunch. I felt lighter as well when my digestion improved.
The bottom line
Though I started off not liking kefir, I’m now a convert. The benefits are showing up inside and out. The great thing about kefir is its suitability for even the lactose-intolerant. But if you’re extra sensitive, kefir can also be made with non-dairy alternatives.
(Also read: Eat These Foods For A Healthier Gut)