Water kefir is a beverage favored for both its fizzy flavor and impressive health benefits.
Besides packing a powerful punch of probiotics, this tasty drink has also been shown to amp up immunity, slow cancer cell growth and improve overall health.
Best of all, it can be made at home using just a few simple ingredients.
This article reviews the benefits and uses of water kefir and how to make your own.
Water kefir is a fermented, carbonated beverage that is produced using water kefir grains.
Also known as tibicos, California bees, Japanese water crystals and other names, water kefir is thought to have originated in the late 1800s.
Unlike regular kefir, which is made from cow, sheep or goat milk, water kefir is made by combining sugar water with water kefir grains — a type of grain-like culture of bacteria and yeast.
The mixture is then typically fermented for 24–48 hours, producing a probiotic beverage rich in beneficial bacteria.
Water kefir is not only delicious and easy to enjoy but also packed with health benefits and can be an excellent addition to a well-rounded, nutritious diet.
It’s simple to prepare and easily tailored to your taste buds.
Water kefir is a beverage produced by combining sugar water with water kefir grains and allowing it to ferment for 24–48 hours.
One of the most significant benefits of water kefir is its probiotic content.
Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria found in your gut that play an integral role in almost every aspect of health, from cancer prevention to immune function and beyond (
While yogurt may be the most well-known source of probiotics in the modern diet, kefir is actually considered a better source, as it provides a diverse range of bacteria and yeast (
In fact, some research shows that kefir grains may contain up to 56 different bacterial and yeast strains (
Some of the most common families of beneficial bacteria found in kefir include Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Streptococcus and Leuconostoc (
Water kefir is rich in probiotics and contains a good mix of beneficial bacteria and yeast.
While current research is limited to test-tube studies, some research suggests that water kefir could help decrease the growth of certain types of cancer.
One study found that kefir extract was effective at blocking the growth of breast cancer cells (
Meanwhile, other studies show that kefir could be beneficial against colon and blood cancer as well (
Because it’s rich in probiotics, it could also help boost immune function to potentially aid cancer prevention (
However, more research is needed to evaluate how water kefir may impact the growth and development of cancer cells in humans.
Test-tube studies show that kefir extract may help decrease the growth of certain types of cancer. Its probiotic content may also enhance immune function to potentially aid cancer prevention.
Thanks to its high concentration of beneficial bacteria, adding water kefir to your daily diet could give your immune system a hearty boost.
Studies show that certain strains of probiotics could help reduce your risk of intestinal infections, prevent the recurrence of urinary tract infections in women and even keep respiratory infections at bay (
In animal studies, kefir has also been shown to help suppress inflammatory responses triggered by issues like asthma (
Plus, one small six-week study in 18 people found that consuming kefir daily was able to control inflammation and optimize levels of immune cells in the body (
Water kefir may help reduce inflammation and alter levels of immune cells to enhance immune function. Due to its probiotic content, it may aid in reducing your risk of certain infections as well.
Traditionally, kefir is made using cow’s or goat’s milk combined with kefir grains to produce a thick, probiotic-rich beverage.
However, since water kefir is made using sugar water, it’s a good option for those who choose to avoid dairy, either due to health concerns, dietary restrictions or personal reasons.
Particularly for those following a dairy-free or vegan diet, it’s perfect for bumping up probiotic consumption and boosting gut health while minimizing consumption of animal products.
Unlike traditional kefir, water kefir is made using sugar water, making it dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
For most people, water kefir can safely be enjoyed with minimal risk of adverse symptoms.
Like other probiotic-rich foods, the most common side effects include digestive issues like bloating, nausea, constipation and cramps (
These side effects tend to decrease with continued consumption.
You may want to check with your doctor before drinking water kefir if you have any condition that weakens your immune system, such as AIDS.
Though studies generally show that probiotics are safe for these individuals, some case reports suggest that probiotics may be associated with a higher risk of infection (
Water kefir may cause digestive issues in some people. Concerns have also been raised about probiotic use in people with weakened immune function, though evidence is mixed.
Water kefir is incredibly flavorful, making it easy to take advantage of the multitude of health benefits this beverage provides.
The taste can vary based on many factors but is often described as slightly sweet with a bit of a flat aftertaste.
To make it yourself, combine 1/2 cup (118 ml) of hot water with 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar in a jar and swirl the mixture together to dissolve.
Next, add about 3 cups (710 ml) of room-temperature water to the jar, along with your water kefir grains.
Cover and place the jar in a warm area with a temperature around 68–85°F (20–30°C) and let it ferment for 24–48 hours.
The water kefir grains can then be separated from the mixture and added to a new batch of sugar water, while the completed product is ready for you to enjoy.
You can drink water kefir as is or experiment with different flavorings like vanilla extract, fruit juice, frozen fruit or mint leaves for a refreshing and tasty treat.
Water kefir is easy to make at home and can be flavored with a variety of ingredients.
Water kefir is a probiotic beverage linked to various health benefits, including improved immunity and even protection against certain types of cancer.
Dairy-free and vegan-friendly, this tasty beverage offers beneficial bacteria and yeast and can easily be made at home from sugar water and water kefir grains.
If you want to add more probiotics to your diet and improve your overall health, consider giving water kefir a try.
Fitacular 2022 with Planet Fitness – ABC27
Get Fitacular in 2022 with help from Planet Fitness! With several locations in our area it’s easy to get into better habits and make the right choices for your physical and mental health.
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WEST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The moment the roof collapsed into a York County skating rink was caught on camera Sunday night in West Manchester Township.
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Jadakiss Explains Why Living “Healthy Is Gangsta” – Vibe
“There’s nothing corny about wanting to live.”
By DeMicia Inman
Staff Writer, News
Jadakiss offered his definition of a gangster during an episode of the Facebook Watch series The Pull Up. In a clip shared on the rapper’s social media, he explains how his lifestyle choices has made being healthy the cool thing to do, and why everyone should take a similar route.
“I think healthy is gangsta,” the 46-year-old rapper exclaimed.
He continued, “Everybody want to be tough guys and this and that, and rich. If you not healthy, you can’t be alive to spend your money. If you not healthy, you can’t enjoy the party, you can’t enjoy the perks of life, you won’t be here to see your kids graduate, to see ’em score they first touchdown, to see things like that. So health is more important than anything.”
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He continued to share how his fellow members of The Lox all maintain a health-conscious lifestyle.
“My brothers, Styles, and Sheek… Sheek been working out forever. Styles been on us to eat right and live right. So it’s a collective lifestyle that you gotta live and there’s nothing corny about wanting to live.”
The rappers not only encourage healthy habits among each other but have created space for others to do the same. In February, Styles P discussed the importance of why he decided to open Juices For Life in the Bronx with Good Morning America.
“It is important that you take care of the forgotten. Obviously, this started with us being because we’re from a Black and brown community,” said Styles. “We’re from a poverty community, but why does that mean we don’t have to eat right?”
He continued, “It’s not about being a vegan, it’s not about being plant-based, that’s not what I’m pushing on people, we push balance and health,” said Styles. “It’s about the people.”
View the full episode of Pull Up with Jadakiss featuring Lil Cease below.
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What Is Kefir? Types, Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Recipe – Everyday Health
Sick of Greek yogurt? Then it’s time to give kefir a shot. The superfood (slash super drink) is a cross between yogurt and milk in terms of thickness. And just like its dairy-aisle relatives, it’s an excellent source of calcium.
But kefir has even more going for it. It’s a fermented beverage, which means it’s loaded with good-for-your-gut probiotics.
Here, learn more about kefir, its history, how it became a trendy item, and the health benefits it may offer.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that can be made from any type of milk — goat, cow, coconut, rice, soy, sheep, you name it. It’s traditionally made by culturing milk with kefir grains, which are a mixture of bacteria and yeasts. (1) You’ll find kefir in the dairy aisle, likely near the yogurt, or maybe in the refrigerated portion of the natural foods section. In fact, it’s pretty similar to yogurt, but it’s not quite as thick. Think of kefir as a drinkable yogurt with a tangy, slightly acidic flavor.
You may have heard of kefir for the first time in recent years, but it’s not new. Kefir originated thousands of years ago in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, and it has a long history in Eastern European countries. The word “kefir” comes from a Turkish word that means “good feeling.” (1,2) Kefir grains also have a history in Muslim culture and were considered gifts from Allah.
Kefir has become increasingly popular as researchers have studied the health benefits of the drink. It’s loaded with probiotics (and can have more than 50 different types!), which have been a buzzword in the nutrition world in recent years. (1,3)
Probiotics are bacteria that are added to existing bacteria in the gut. Oftentimes, kefir is enriched with vitamins and minerals that up its healthy quotient. (1) And good news if you’re lactose intolerant: A small study found that kefir improved the way people with lactose issues tolerated and digested lactose. In fact, because it’s fermented, kefir itself is about 99 percent lactose-free. (The good bacteria eat up the lactose, which is milk sugar.) So don’t consider it off-limits just because it’s considered a dairy product. (1)
The nutrition found in kefir can change based on the milk used to create it and if there are flavors added to it. Fat-free or low-fat kefir are the best options for boosting your health, as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate guidelines.
Here is the nutritional info for 1 cup of low-fat cow’s milk kefir with no added sugar, for example: (4)
Calcium is important for so much more than just bone health. Get a primer on the various health benefits of this essential nutrient — and find out whether it’s possible to get too much!
Kefir offers a number of possible health benefits.
Kefir grains, which are needed to make traditional versions of kefir, aren’t the type of grain you’re thinking of if wheat or oats have come to mind. Rather, kefir grains are a white or yellowish jellylike substance that looks like cauliflower or cottage cheese. They range in size from 0.3 to 3 centimeters in diameter, and they contain bacteria, yeast, milk proteins, and complex sugar. (2) The grains join with milk and ferment the milk to create kefir. (11,14)
There are many different versions of kefir. (11) There’s nonfat, low-fat, and full-fat kefir, as well as some varieties made from nondairy milk. You’ll also find flavored types of kefir, such as strawberry or chocolate.
You might hear kefir referred to as kefir milk or kefir yogurt, but kefir is neither milk nor yogurt — it’s somewhere in between.
There is, however, a beverage called water kefir. Like regular kefir, it starts with kefir grains (or a water kefir starter kit). But instead of milk, it’s mixed with water, sugar, and usually some type of flavoring.
Bacteria have a bad rap. Bacteria are actually crucial to keeping the body working the way it’s supposed to. There are many, many strains of good bacteria that occur naturally within the gut and make up the body’s microbiome. These bacteria help the body do things like digest food and produce vitamins. (15)
Not all strains of bacteria are good, though. The state of your gut health could change quickly, maybe even over the course of a day, mostly based on what you’re eating. Taking in probiotics from outside food sources can help keep the gut balanced. Oftentimes, the probiotics you find in probiotic-rich foods are the same good ones that already exist in the body.
The general idea is that probiotics help keep the gut bacteria happy by pushing out or minimizing the effect of bad bacteria and returning the intestines to a healthy place if things get out of balance. (15)
There’s a difference between yogurt and kefir in terms of consistency, but you can use the two in similar ways, such as in smoothies or mixed with fruit. They have very similar nutritional profiles, too, and pack a similar number of calories. Kefir beats out yogurt when it comes to probiotics, however. (16)
There are other ways to source probiotics through food, such as by eating sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and miso. Kefir is generally considered one of the greatest source of probiotics, but it’s hard to say which one is best for you since taste and your body’s reaction should be considered. After all, the probiotics won’t do you much good if you find the food too hard to stomach!
While whole foods are a great source of probiotics, you can also promote good gut bacteria by reaching for probiotic pills and capsules. Here are five options to consider!
All in all, kefir seems to be a trendy superfood that’s worthy of the hype. It’s considered safe and healthy enough to consume every day.
There are some things to be cautious about, though. First, the calorie count can differ depending on the type of milk used, so keep that in mind if weight loss is a goal of yours. One cup of kefir made with fat-free milk may have slightly over 100 calories, while kefir made with whole milk could reach 200 calories. The whole-milk versions also contain higher amounts of saturated fat, which you should be careful not to get too much of, especially if you’re keeping an eye on your cholesterol or heart health. One serving of whole-milk kefir has 5 g of saturated fat, which is 25 percent of the maximum an average healthy person should take in in a day. (18)
Take a peek at the added sugars when you’re in the dairy aisle choosing which brand or variety of kefir is best. You’ll probably notice that the flavored varieties have significantly more added sugars, usually about 8 g of added sugars per serving. The best choice is a plain variety of kefir or one with a label that indicates there's no added sugar. Note that even plain kefir will contain some sugar from the naturally occurring lactose in milk.
Some people report experiencing some negative digestive side effects, such as gas, after drinking kefir. (15) These side effects will likely go away over time as your body gets used to it.
People with weakened immune systems, such as someone who has an autoimmune disease or has recently had surgery, should consult a doctor before loading up on probiotics because it’s possible that the probiotics will increase the risk of infection. (15)
Before choosing which kefir option is best for you, be sure to check the amount of added sugar. Some brands sneakily pack it in. And look for the words “live active cultures” or “live cultures” on the label, which refer to the probiotics in the product. To maintain freshness, always store kefir in your refrigerator.
You can also make kefir yourself. To get started, you’ll need to purchase a kefir grain starter kit, which you can buy once and then reuse forever. Like kefir you’d find at the store, kefir grains should also be kept in a cool, refrigerated environment.
Plenty of blogs and YouTube videos can guide you through the process of making kefir at home.
Here are the usual steps: (18)
You can reuse the kefir grains, which will expand by about 5 to 7 percent each time you make kefir. (2) Store the grains in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to make your next drink. (2)
Because kefir is a perishable product, most of the Amazon best sellers are starter kits for kefir grains.
Here are the top five most popular products:
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