Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts that resemble cauliflower. Kefir grains contain a water-soluble polysacccharides known as kefiran, which imparts a rope-like texture and feeling in the mouth. The grains range in color from white to yellow, and may grow to the size of walnuts.
The composition of kefir depends greatly on kefir grains added to the type of milk [or substrate] fermented. During the fermentation, changes in composition of nutrients and other ingredients have also been shown to occur. Lactic acid is the organic acid in highest concentrations after fermentation. Research has shown, however, that lactose maldigestion or lactase non-persistence is not a reliable indicator of lactose intolerance because most individuals with lactase non-persistence can tolerate moderate amounts of lactose without discomfort and so they are able to tolerate kefir. It is believed that the bacteria in the kefir matrix is protected by the buffering effect of the Kefir. It has also been shown that fermented milk products have a slower transit time than milk, which may further improve lactose digestion
Production of traditional kefir requires a starter community of kefir grains which are added to the milk or liquid to ferment. Kefir grains cannot be produced from scratch, but the grains grow during fermentation that additional grains are produced. These grains can be used for another production.
The traditional method of making kefir is achieved by directly adding kefir grains (2–10%) to milk in a loosely covered acid proof container which is traditionally agitated once or more times a day. It is not filled to capacity, allowing room for some expansion as the kefiran and carbon dioxide gas produced causes the liquid level to rise.
If the container is not light proof it should be stored in the dark to prevent degradation of vitamins and inhibition of the culture. After a period of fermentation lasting around 24 hours, ideally at 20–25 °C (68–77 °F), the grains are removed from the liquid by sieving and reserved as the starter for a fresh amount of liquid. The temperature during fermentation is not critical as long as it is not above one that will kill the culture (about 40 °C / 104 °F), or much below 4 °C (39 °F) where the process will stop.
Kefir Keeps Your Intestinal Flora Healthy and Fights Harmful Bacteria.
Kefir contains more than 30 probiotic cultures that can alleviate and treat many intestinal conditions, such as candidiasis, diarrhea, constipation, as well as restore the intestinal flora of people who have been seriously sick or have been cured with antibiotics.
The milk or fermented liquid may now be consumed as a beverage, used in recipes, or kept aside for several days to undergo a slower secondary fermentation which further thickens and sours the liquid. Without refrigeration, the shelf life is up to thirty days. The grains will enlarge in the process of kefir production, and eventually split. Grains can be dried at room temperature, freeze-dried or frozen.
The Kefran in kefir has been shown in one study to suppress an increase in blode pressure and reduce serum cholesterol levels in rats.
Kefir Can Help You Relax and Reduce Anxiety
Kefir is rich in vitamins A, B1, B12, D and K, tryptophan and biotin. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and may relieve symptoms of anxiety and benefit people who have sleeping problems. It also has positive effects on depression, as well as on ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Vitamin B12 contained in kefir is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system, and reduces anxiety.
Rejuvenate Your Skin with Kefir
Kefir is a natural antioxidant that contains alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), a form of lactic acid known to rejuvenate skin by weakening and dissolving the chemical bonds between lipids that keep our dead skin cells tightly packed together.