When strolling down the dairy aisle have you noticed kefir, a cousin of yogurt? Kefir (pronounced “kuh-FEER”) is a dairy beverage made by adding kefir “grains”, which are pellets of yeast bacteria, to milk and heating it to produce a drink. It is like a “drinkable yogurt” with a similar taste, but with a much higher probiotic content! In fact, it contains 10 to 20 different probiotic strains whereas yogurt has only a few.
Today, we will learn more about this product and do a general comparison between yogurt and kefir. To begin, it is important to note that probiotics are the “good bacteria” that when consumed in the right amounts may lead to health benefits. However, probiotic research is still in it’s infancy and there appears to be dose and strain specific criteria reap specific benefits. Stay tuned as the research continues to evolve!
|Fermented Milk product||Yes||Yes|
|Consistency||Thinner, sold as a beverage||Thicker, more like pudding|
|Protein (per ½ cup)||5 grams||6 grams|
|Taste||Tart & slightly sour, effervescent||Tart & slightly sour,|
|Probiotics||3X probiotic content of yogurt . Estimated 40 billion probiotic organisms per half cup||Probiotic yogurts contain roughly one billion per serving. Content varies depending on type of yogurt|
It is readily available in grocery stores and in health food stores.
With a consistency slightly thinner than yogurt, there are many ways to eat/drink kefir:
Next time you are in the dairy aisle, take a second look at kefir, a fermented milk product that contains more probiotics than yogurt. Probiotic research continues to evolve to become more specific on amounts we need to consume, types of strains and the health benefits. When buying kefir or yogurt, check the nutrition label for the sugar amounts. Find out how to interpret the sugar on food labels here.