The term probiotic comes from the Greek word “pro” (for) and “biotic” (life-living microorganisms). This means when probiotics are swallowed, they will have a beneficial effect on the human body. Not only do they restore the balance of the intestinal flora that gets damaged from the use of antibiotics, but they also protect our body from allergies and support the body’s defenses. This article is about “Kefir vs Yogurt vs Probiotic pills”, we are going to point out the differences and make detailed comparisons between each of them.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), probiotics that contain one or more cultures of living microorganisms have a beneficial effect on our health. These microorganisms produce lactic acid and belong to the Lactobacillus family, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces yeasts.
Many people consider yogurt and milk kefir to be the same thing. They think that these two milk-based products produced by fermentation. are the same but yogurt and kefir have a couple of differences.
Kefir vs Yogurt: What Are the Differences?
1. There Are Two Types of Kefir
Water and Milk kefir
Kefir has two types, water and milk kefir. Water kefir is attained from the sugar-water solution while the milk kefir is obtained from mesophilic cultures.
Mesophilic and thermophilic cultures compose the yogurt. Room temperature is perfect for mesophilic cultures. Thermophilic cultures require warming and they produce yogurt at about 43 ° C.
2. Propagation Time
Milk and Water Kefir
Similar to yogurt, creamy kefir can be made with the help of self-cultivating culture. However, yogurt is made by separating it with a little liquidity. The liquidity part from the yogurt is used for the making a new one. On the other hand, the kefir is made by using kefir grains.
Kefir grains are cultures that contain many types of bacteria and yeast. Using them you are going to produce water or milk kefir, depending on what grains you are going to use. When creating milk kefir you are going to use different types of milk while water kefir is produced with water kefir grains and sugar-water solution.
Yogurt can be made in two ways. The first is to take some yogurt with one of the “activated” starters and pour it with fresh milk. When the fermentation process is completed, part of this yogurt is used for making a new yogurt. In this mode of production, at least once a week it is necessary to start the procedure again.
Another way is to use starter bacteria in a powder form. These bacterias are thermophilic. Every new process requires new starter cultures.
3. Types of Bacteria in Yogurt and Kefir
Kefir contains many types of bacteria. The difference between water and milk kefir is that there are only 10-15 good bacteria in water kefir, and on the contrary, milk kefir has 30-50 strains of good bacteria. This is simple math but there is also a difference in taste, and also water kefir is dairy free.
The yogurt only has up to 5 good strains of “good” bacteria, but it is also a healthy probiotic drink.
3. Taste and Texture of Kefir and Yogurt
Milk and Water Kefir
Kefir has an acidic taste similar to yogurt, but the yeast can also be felt because the kefir contains healthy types of yeast. The taste of kefir is slightly acidified than yogurt and it is described as something between sour milk and yogurt. The acid of the kefir depends exclusively from the fermentation time. On the other hand, water kefir has a taste of a mild soda, but also water kefir can have many different flavors.
Yogurt has a taste that is familiar to everyone and every yogurt is relatively similar. Different starter cultures can give yogurt a different taste. The texture and density of yogurts can vary from very clear to creamy. However, yogurt is usually slightly denser than kefir.
There are a few differences between consuming water and milk kefir. The only privilege of using water kefir is the absence of Streptococcus thermophilus. Otherwise, except for the abundance of this bacteria, milk kefir contains magnesium and calcium in high amounts, which aren’t contained in water kefir. Also, when using water kefir, we should be more careful with its sweetness, because if it is not properly fermented, it can be a problem for someone who chronically suffers from Candida or diabetes.
There is no flexibility when it comes to yogurt because every yogurt is mostly the same.
Kefir-Yogurt (Fermented Foods) vs Probiotics Pills
We can feel the benefits of the probiotics pills, especially for acute problems. For example, if we are sensitive to diarrhea, constipated or puffed up, in these situations probiotics are showing their excellent effect. Probiotic pills help with the residential bacteria. Allergies and colitis are conditions where probiotics are helping, and there are a lot of studies which proved this.
Fermented food consists of unique strains which are used in various ways. Those strains are transitional and they move through the body. Kefir and yogurt are exceptionally preventative for many diseases. Minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients are more valuable and bio-available for the body. Kefir and yogurt contain probiotics in a form of prebiotic fiber, which feeds the residential bacteria and helps them colonize.
It is unnecessary to talk about the value of fermented products and supplements. People with health issues can take them both. For acute situations maybe it is better to use probiotic pills, because of the speed at which they start to act. Food poisoning is an excellent example. Probiotics are essential when a person is using antibiotics because modern antibiotics are extremely strong, and in some cases harmful. The latest findings have shown that probiotics should be taken four to six months after antibiotic therapy since that period of time is necessary for the intestinal flora to be restored.
Kefir (milk or water), yogurt and other fermented products contain probiotic bacteria, but at a significantly lower concentration than the probiotic pills. In addition, kefir also contains other bacteria that have great benefits for our health.
For fixing our gastrointestinal tract, we can use different probiotics, until we find the perfect match for our body. Experiments with the fermented foods are a great idea and can also give you some satisfaction when consumed. The main goal is to get the good bacteria into your body, whether you choose a probiotic supplement or eating a fermented food.
No matter what you choose, both yogurt and kefir are rich in probiotic cultures, and you can make them at home. It is important to understand that we cannot allow getting some type of acute illness and then immediately start taking care of our health expecting results within days. We must take care of our health, everywhere and anytime!