It’s not quite milk and it’s not quite yogurt.
You wouldn’t think so many fermented foods would be both tasty and good for you, but I guess the human body is a bit of a silly place sometimes. With the ever-growing love of probiotics in the modern world, fermented stuff has never been more popular, which has facilitated the growing western popularity of one of the world’s oldest fermented beverages: kefir.
Kefir is a fermented dairy drink, kind of like drinkable yogurt. According to historians, this stuff has been around for over 2,000 years! Apparently, it was a favorite of both Marco Polo and Cleopatra. Kefir has a strong, subtly sour flavor, again not unlike yogurt, and you can either drink it straight or add to smoothies for some gut-diversifying goodness.
Speaking of your gut, kefir is chock full of the good bacteria your stomach needs to stay strong and healthy. Due to its particular fermentation process, some people who are lactose intolerant and can’t eat stuff like milk or cheese may have an easier time tolerating kefir. Kefir has many of the same health benefits as whole milk, such as calcium for stronger bones and a rainbow of important vitamins and minerals.
Studies have also shown that those who consume kefir on a regular basis exhibit lessened frequency of inflammation and better glycemic control, so it’s a good snack beverage for those who are tangling with diabetes. Also, the stimulation of good bacteria that occurs in your gut when you drink kefir has been shown to have mood-boosting properties. Positive neurotransmitters like serotonin are produced in the gut, so when your gut is in good condition, your brain gets happier!
As I mentioned, kefir is great in a smoothie or on its own, though if you wanna get creative, try substituting the mayonnaise or sour cream in your favorite dips with some kefir. You may be surprised by how similar the taste is!