4 Benefits of Milk Kefir That Could Change Your Life
Dairy can be problem, for adults and children alike. But do you need to completely remove it from your diet?
Not so fast.
High-quality dairy foods are packed with macronutrients (like protein and fat), as well as micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals). When you ferment raw dairy, you end up with a probiotic-rich food and a solid source of energy.
Milk kefir is the perfect probiotic superfood for everyone! Homemade fermented milk kefir is easy to make with the Kefir Starter.
Milk kefir is a true superfood.
Athletes, children, and pregnant mothers will especially benefit from the spectrum of nutrients found in milk kefir. In addition to probiotics, this includes B vitamins, biotin, folic acid, and vitamin K.1
But let’s get specific.
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The Top 4 Benefits of Milk Kefir
There are four very good reasons to include milk kefir in your diet, once your gut has healed:
1. Milk Kefir Is Predigested.
If your small intestine no longer makes the enzyme lactase, needed to break down milk sugars, dairy will be difficult to digest. Also, when someone has a permeable, leaky gut lining, the proteins in dairy leak through and cause an immune response against these proteins — specifically, casein and whey protein. These proteins are found in cow, goat, and sheep’s milk.
This is why dairy foods are not on Phase 1 of The Body Ecology Diet.
But as you move into Phase 2 of The Diet, many people can introduce dairy foods into their diet, especially if they are reintroduced slowly. Donna recommends mixing 3 ounces of homemade fermented milk kefir with 3 ounces InnergyBiotic or CocoBiotic. Drink this for a week and then slowly increase the amount of milk kefir you drink.
We have found that the medicinal/probiotic benefits of milk kefir can be obtained with just 4 ounces of kefir per day. Mixing in the CocoBiotic or InnergyBiotic helps with the digestion of the casein. Body Ecology’s Assist Dairy & Protein is also excellent to take at this time.
Milk kefir is predigested. This means that the beneficial microbes (bacteria and yeast) in milk kefir have broken down the milk proteins and also consumed most of the milk sugars. The finished product is a creamy, tart beverage that is easy to absorb and supports your overall wellbeing.
2. Milk Kefir May Help You Breathe Easier.
In 2007, researchers studied the effect of milk kefir on asthmatic mice. They found that kefir was able to significantly control asthma and the inflammatory response that happens in the respiratory tract.2 Kefir also reduced the production of mucus.
Indeed, researchers found that kefir was more effective than common anti-asthmatic drugs.
However, Donna cautions that milk is mucus-forming. It is supposed to be. Remember, milk is a newborn baby’s first food. The milk forms a sticky barrier for the beneficial bacteria. They then colonize and create a healthy inner ecosystem.
Donna does not recommend milk if you have a condition where mucus is produced, such as a cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, etc. Once the condition improves, fermented milk kefir is a better choice than milk — after the sugar is consumed by the beneficial microbes, it becomes far less mucus-forming.
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3. Milk Kefir Protects Against Infection.
Specifically, milk kefir protects against intestinal bugs that cause diarrhea.
This is big. Because while a gut infection can be exhausting for an adult, it can be deadly for a child.3 Babies, children, the elderly, and those with a poor immune system are at the greatest risk for infection.4
Research shows that milk kefir can protect against the bacterial infections that lead to diarrhea — such as Salmonella, Helicobacter, Shigella, Staphylococcus, and Escherichia coli.5 Kefir also fights some parasitic infections, like Giardia.6
Kefir not only fights infection — it protects you by activating arms of the immune system that are down-regulated during an infection.
4. Milk Kefir Supports a Healthy Pregnancy and Beyond.
If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s good to know that milk kefir can be a very nourishing food for you and your baby.
Milk kefir provides protein, minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids that nourish you and your baby during pregnancy. It also helps create a healthy inner ecosystem in your birth canal before the baby is born. This matters because your baby will then inherit this beneficial bacteria and yeast, creating an inner ecosystem in her digestive tract that will help digest your milk while building a stronger immune system.
Bottom line: Milk kefir is essential for pregnant women and nursing mothers; babies can begin enjoying milk kefir (diluted with water) at four months to build their delicate immunity; kids can drink milk kefir as a healthy meal in the morning when they head off to school.
Kefir also supports oral health.7
This has to do with the good bacteria in kefir, which stop the formation of dental plaque and overgrowth of bacteria.8 What many pregnant women don’t realize is that poor oral health is linked to preterm delivery.9 In 2006, the Oral Conditions and Pregnancy Study found that mothers with periodontal disease were at an increased risk for preterm delivery.10
Ultimately, preterm birth is the result of inflammation and sometimes infection.11
In need of one-on-one help with your health? Consider a private Body Ecology consultation.
A Note About Quality
When making kefir at home, choose your dairy wisely.
Research shows that where you get your dairy and how it’s processed matters. Things like diet and feeding practices affect the nutrients available in milk. You’ll also find that the nutrient profile in milk changes — depending on the species and breed of the animal that the milk belonged to.12,13
Raw milk contains enzymes. These enzymes assist with digestion and may even support the immune system.14,15
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Believe it or not, dairy is not a food that you have to avoid completely. Fermented dairy enjoyed as milk kefir is a true superfood that can benefit the elderly, pregnant women, children, and bodybuilders with a wide spectrum of nutrients.
Research shows that there are four reasons why milk kefir can transform your health:
- Milk kefir is predigested. Dairy can be hard to digest if your small intestine no longer produces enzymes that break down milk sugars. Milk kefir is predigested and full of healthy microbes that will do your body good. Milk kefir can be best enjoyed daily with InnergyBiotic or CocoBiotic and Assist Dairy & Protein.
- Milk kefir may improve breathing. Researchers found that milk kefir can help to control asthma and inflammation and reduce mucus production; kefir was observed to be more effective than common anti-asthmatic drugs.
- Milk kefir protects against infection. Milk kefir can guard against intestinal microbes that cause diarrhea, warding off gut infection that can be deadly to the immunocompromised, babies, children, and the elderly.
- Milk kefir supports a healthy pregnancy and baby. Milk kefir nourishes a healthy immune system and inner ecosystem. It is considered vital for pregnant women and nursing mothers who support new life!
- Otles, S., & Cagindi, O. (2003). Kefir: a probiotic dairy-composition, nutritional and therapeutic aspects. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 2(2), 54-59.
- Lee, M. Y., Ahn, K. S., Kwon, O. K., Kim, M. J., Kim, M. K., Lee, I. Y., … & Lee, H. K. (2007). Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of kefir in a mouse asthma model. Immunobiology, 212(8), 647-654.
- Glass, R. I., Lew, J. F., Gangarosa, R. E., LeBaron, C. W., & Ho, M. S. (1991). Estimates of morbidity and mortality rates for diarrheal diseases in American children. The Journal of pediatrics, 118(4), S27-S33.
- Farthing, M. J. G. (2000). Diarrhoea: a significant worldwide problem. International journal of antimicrobial agents, 14(1), 65-69.
- 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.
- Franco, M. C., Golowczyc, M. A., De Antoni, G. L., Pérez, P. F., Humen, M., & de los Angeles Serradell, M. (2013). Administration of kefir-fermented milk protects mice against Giardia intestinalis infection. Journal of medical microbiology, 62(Pt 12), 1815-1822.
- Caglar, E., Kargul, B., & Tanboga, I. (2005). Bacteriotherapy and probiotics’ role on oral health. Oral diseases, 11(3), 131-137.
- Babaji, P., Keswani, K., Lau, H., Lau, M., Sharma, N., & Punga, R. (2012). Role of probiotics in oral health: A review of the literature. Journal of Education and Ethics in Dentistry, 2(2), 52.
- Goldenberg, R. L., Culhane, J. F., Iams, J. D., & Romero, R. (2008). Epidemiology and causes of preterm birth. The lancet, 371(9606), 75-84.
- Reid, G., & Bocking, A. (2003). The potential for probiotics to prevent bacterial vaginosis and preterm labor. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 189(4), 1202-1208.
- Offenbacher, S., Boggess, K. A., Murtha, A. P., Jared, H. L., Lieff, S., McKaig, R. G., … & Beck, J. D. (2006). Progressive periodontal disease and risk of very preterm delivery. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 107(1), 29-36.
- Auldist, M. J., Walsh, B. J. and Thomson, N. A. (1998). Seasonal and lactational influences on bovine milk composition in New Zealand. Dairy Res. 65: 401- 411.
- Lock, A. L. and Bauman, D. E. (2004). Modifying milk fat composition of dairy cows to enhance fatty acids beneficial to human health. Lipids 39: 1197-1206.
- Isaacs, C. E. The antimicrobial function of milk lipids, in: Advances in Nutritional Research, Vol 10, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publ, New York, 2001, pp. 271-285.
- German, J. B. and Dillard, C. J. (2006). Composition, structure and absorption of milk lipids: A source of energy, fat-soluble nutrients and bioactive molecules. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 46: 57-92.