Kefir, water or milk, is a well-known fermented beverage that comes with some crucial benefits for us. During the time of its existence, kefir has been researched and researches came up with stunning results of it on a human body and digestion system. Since it’s a fermented beverage, some people don’t like the taste of it but the health benefits of kefir can’t be discarded.
In this article, we’re going to mention and talk about scientific evidence about kefir and its proven benefits. If you’re still in doubt whether to drink kefir… well, we might change your opinion after you read this!
Kefir Scientific Evidence
1. Strong Probiotic with Anticancer Properties
Kefir is still a beverage that’s being researched every day. As probiotic beverages attracted the attention of many scientists, kefir is one of those. The researchers from various fields such as pharmacy, industry, and health care concluded that kefir has numerous benefits when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment. On top of that, they also said that almost every probiotic can do the same. Both milk and water kefir are under that umbrella. Since it’s a beverage made of kefir grains and water or milk, it’s a perfect mixture of yeast and bacteria living in the symbiosis.
Antifungal, anti-allergic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects are just some of the health benefits of kefir grains. It’s even indicated that some compounds in kefir, such as peptides and polysaccharides inhibit proliferation of apoptosis in tumor cells. Kefir’s effect can be noticed on malignant T lymphocytes, lung carcinoma, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.
2. Microbiological, Nutritional and Health Benefits
Another research done in 2017 concluded that kefir boasts numerous health, microbiological, and nutritional benefits. Furthermore, scientists discovered that the nutritional composition of kefir depends on the microbiological composition of grains, as well as milk composition. Temperature conditions also played a huge role here. Numerous scientific studies support and promote kefir as a beverage with lots of health benefits, being inexpensive food that’s easily prepared at home. Daily consumption of kefir is associated with the significant antibacterial effect, improved digestion, healing effect, and improved tolerance to lactose.
As mentioned earlier, there are also numerous anti-inflammatory benefits coupled with improved antioxidant activity. Despite being done on animals, this study claims that there’s no need for systematic clinic trials in order to understand the effects on kefir as a part of an everyday diet. That being said, kefir is a great health-improving beverage for both animals and humans, especially when consumed every day.
3. Immunomodulating Capabilities of Kefir
This study dates back to 2005 and is one of the oldest studies on kefir. Here, the scientists focused on the milk kefir, a fermented beverage that’s a byproduct of acetic acid bacteria, yeasts, and lactic acid bacteria encapsulated in a complex matrix of proteins and polysaccharides. Aside from its excellent nutritional value that consists of a substantial amount of proteins and calcium, scientists wanted to focus on its immunomodulating capabilities. The goal of this scientific research was to focus on mucosal immune response in mice in order to prove the importance of cell and dose viability.
The mice were given commercial kefir for as long as 7 consecutive days. In the liver, at the end of each feeding period, the bacterial translocation assay was performed. For the chosen functional doses, cytokines, as well as the number of IgA+ and IgG+ cells were determined. Kefir and pasteurized kefir were able to produce an immunomodulating effect in the mucosal immune system, proving the importance of cell viability.
4. Kefir and Kefiran Extract Healing and Antimicrobial Activity
In a study that was conducted back in 2005, kefir and the polysaccharide inside of it, as well as kefiran were tested for antimicrobial effects on a couple of bacterial species including Candida albicans, with an agar diffusion method. Both the test and the cicatrizing experiments were conducted on Wistar rats by applying 70% of a kefir gel. During the test, both kefiran and kefir showed some activity against the bacterial species. The highest activity was recorded against Streptococcus pyogenes.
After 7 days of applying a 70% kefir gel, scientists saw that the wound-healing effect was noticeable, indicating that kefir is indeed a great antimicrobial compound.
5. Kefir’s Culture Conditions Influence on Anticancer Properties
One of the newest studies on kefir indicates that kefir’s culture conditions can influence cancer. As an ever-growing problem in the world, cancer is a major health problem which treatment can be painful, expensive, and sometimes life-threatening. The conditions in which the kefir is fermented were examined. The room temperature and standard conditions showed screening against 7 cancer cell lines, with colon cancer and chronic myelogenous leukemia cells being most susceptible.
By varying fermentation conditions, time and temperature-wise, as well as kefir-to-milk ratios, scientists can more effectively influence the cancer cells within the body.
6. Effects on Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury
In a study conducted in 2015, scientists came up with the idea to investigate the kefir’s effect on the ischemia-reperfusion injury on rats. For the beginning, the scientists took 24 male rats with around 250 to 350 g weight. Divided into three groups of eight, rats were given the same diet for straight 60 days. First thirty days were without kefir, while another 30 days were with the kefir introduced. In all three groups, rats were sacrificed due to the removal of lung and kidney tissues. Scientists observed biochemical and histopathological changes within these organs. They also determined creatinine, tumor necrosis factor, and serum urea.
At the end of the experiment, kefir managed to reduce some of the crucial substances in the lungs, such as glutathione peroxidase and catalase. This further leads to reduced levels of creatinine, serum urea, and TNF. With the protective effect of kefir in tissue and serum functions, this research can be useful in fighting against ischemia-reperfusion injury by introducing kefir in the diet.
7. Prevention of Excess Fat Accumulation in Obese Mice
This is a pretty important study that’s been done back in 2017. Obesity is one of the most concerning health problems of today. Luckily, a probiotic like kefir has given us a possible solution for this ever-growing health problem. The study was conducted in a way that a high-fat diet has been given to mice, as well as 0.1% and 0.2% kefir powder. As a result, kefir successfully reduced body weight and epididymal fat by decreasing adipocyte diameters. Furthermore, mice had reduced genes related to fatty acid oxidation and lipogenesis.
Kefir also influenced a reduction of total cholesterol as well as LDP (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. That being said, this study proved that kefir indeed has the potential to reduce obesity.
8. Health-Promoting Characteristics of Kefir as Fermented Beverage
Kefir grains are already known for their health-promoting characteristics. However, this study from 2016 indicates that kefir, as a fermented beverage can also help. Created by the symbiotic fermentation of acid bacteria, milk, and yeast, this beverage contains one important protein complex called kefir grain. This beverage is proven to reduce cholesterol, suppress tumors, and increase the speed of wound healing. With its ability to modulate the immune system and mitigate asthma and allergy, kefir, as a fermented beverage is definitely something to consider.
9. Mitigating Stomach Pain and Digestive Problems
As we mentioned earlier, probiotics have a silky smooth effect on our stomachs. Kefir can definitely make your stomach feel much better thanks to various components that help in restoring the balance of friendly bacteria in the stomach. For those who often have diarrhea, it’s recommended that they start consuming kefir. Some of the diseases can also be cured. For example, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers.
10. Low Amount of Lactose in Kefir
Dairy food such as cheese, milk, yogurt, and cream are packed with a significant amount of natural sugar – lactose. This sugar functions differently than the ordinary sugar like polysaccharide and is in a much smaller amount in food. However, many people are intolerant to lactose and they don’t even know it! Most adults are unable to break down and digest this stubborn sugar, which leads to stomach cramps and diarrhea. Milk kefir is a fermented product and as such, the lactose is converted to lactic acid. Lactic acid is much easier to digest which makes kefir efficient for stomach problems.
Kefir, if not made of milk, can be 100% lactose-free. If you drink milk kefir, there will still be some lactose in it. But again, it’s a very small amount which shouldn’t disrupt your peaceful time.
With all these researches in mind, we can conclude that kefir is one of the best-fermented beverages you can get. It can be lactose-free, it doesn’t contain any harmful components, and it’s excellent for your stomach and overall health. The best thing about it is that there aren’t limits. You can drink it every day in an amount you want.
Fermented beverages such as kefir are a rarity at the moment. It’s easy to make at home and won’t cost you a fortune. Why not make yourself one? It’s almost certain that you’ll see health benefits.
- Kefir: a powerful probiotics with anticancer properties – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Milk kefir: nutritional, microbiological and health benefits – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Immunomodulating capacity of kefir – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Antimicrobial and healing activity of kefir and kefiran extract – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Exploring the influence of culture conditions on kefir’s anticancer properties – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Effects of kefir on ischemia-reperfusion injury – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Kefir prevented excess fat accumulation in diet-induced obese mice – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- The Microbiota and Health Promoting Characteristics of the Fermented Beverage Kefir – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
- Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose maldigestion – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed