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The Healing Properties of Kefir

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: BStone • updated: 4/25/2011

Are you looking for ways to improve your health? You may want to consider the health benefits of kefir. From healing urinary tract infections to fighting cancer, kefir is a promising addition to any diet.

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    What Is Kefir?

    In Turkish, kefir means, "feel good". No one knows exactly how kefir originated. Legend has it that it was hand delivered to Mohamed from Allah. Another story suggests it came from Russia. We do know that it did originally come from somewhere around the Caucasus Mountains. According to Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology, kefir was brought to the United States from Russia in 1960.

    Kefir is a fermented food. It is full of healthy bacteria and yeast (which does not feed Candida Albicans) that reproduce in the colon creating a healthy and balanced ecology. It is a yogurt-like drink. It is made from kefir grains which assist in the fermentation of the kefir. In order for kefir, like yogurt, to be beneficial, the cultures must be live. The most reputable brand is Lifeway which can be found in many health food and grocery stores. Kefir grains can also be purchased for making the healing drink at home. One can use raw, cow or goat milk or fresh nut milk to make the kefir drink. It can also be made using organic, pasteurized milk. The fermentation process breaks down the casein, or milk protein and restores many of the enzymes that were destroyed during pasteurization making kefir digestible to those who are lactose intolerant.

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    The Health Benefits of Kefir

    Kefir is a complete protein and is high in minerals and vitamins, especially the B vitamins. Because of the very high amounts of good bacteria and enzymes that kefir contains, it is an indispensable aid to digestion. Kefir has been shown to guard against pathogens as well as protecting against colon cancer.1 It has also been found to guard against infectious disease.

    According to Gabriel Cousens, in his book, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine , "Because of kefir's ability to establish healthy bowel flora, it is beneficial in preventing many gastrointestinal disorders. Some researchers have found that kefir also exudes bacterial inhibitory factors, which prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. In this sense, it actually acts as a natural antibiotic. Some studies show that kefir whey neutralizes most pathogenic bacteria within 24 hours."

    An interesting quality of kefir is that people with anxiety show less symptoms of it when they regularly consume kefir. This may be due to the high content of calcium and magnesium and is also attributed to the tryptophan, which produces seratonin in the brain, that kefir contains. It can also treat diarrhea, eczema, psoriasis, allergies, migraines, candida albicans, colitis, gout, and rheumatic arthritic conditions. Kefir will also assist with moving the bowel because of it's ability to promote a healthy bowel ecology.

    Kefir is very easily digested by the body which makes its nutrients readily available and gives great strength to the immune system. Consuming the health benefits of kefir daily will provide a great boost to the immune system.

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    1. Biotechnol Lett. 2009 Apr;31(4):571-6. Epub 2008 Dec 31

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