Healthy Recipes: 3 Ways To Make Dairy-Free Kefir

Kefir, a must-have for the health-conscious. (Image:  pixabay /  CC0 1.0)
Kefir, a must-have for the health-conscious. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Kefir is fast becoming a must-have for the health-conscious. Though yogurt is the most well-known probiotic, kefir is actually more potent since it can contain up to 61 strains of yeasts and bacteria that are good for health. One of the most popular kefir varieties is milk kefir. However, this may not be suitable for someone who is lactose intolerant or vegan. In such situations, dairy-free kefir is your only option.

Dairy-free kefirs

Water kefir: This usually has a light, sweet and sour taste, which makes it popular. To make water kefir, you need to first dissolve sugar into the water. Add in the kefir grains. Once fermentation is complete, you can start consuming. Water kefir has a carbonated nature that can help you cut down the consumption of soft drinks. Instead of plain water, you can use coconut water or fruit juices to add a richer flavor to the kefir.

Coconut milk kefir: Some people use coconut milk instead of just water for preparing kefir. You need to first place the milk kefir grains in coconut milk and thoroughly stir the mixture. Cover it with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Let the culture develop at a room temperature of about 68° to 85°F. Once 12 hours have passed, keep checking the mix once every few hours. After 24 hours, remove the milk kefir grains. The coconut milk kefir is now ready for consumption.

Nut or seed milk kefir:  Instead of coconut milk, you can use milk derived from nuts and seeds. When using nuts, you have to blend the soaked nuts with water and strain out the tiny bits to get the milk. Usually, soaking the nuts overnight should be good enough. Some of the popular nut milk kefirs include almonds, peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. As far as seeds are concerned, you can use sunflower, chia, flax, quinoa, or pumpkin seeds. Never use seeds with a strong flavor, like sesame seeds for instance.

Coconut kefir is a nourishing fermented beverage made with coconut milk. (Image: malmriv via wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0)

Benefits of kefir

Kefir is an excellent source of nutrients. A 175 ml kefir serving can contain up to 4 grams of protein, 10 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium, 12 percent RDI of Vitamin B12, 15 percent RDI of phosphorus, 3 percent RDI of magnesium, and 10 percent RDI of riboflavin. Bioactive compounds like peptides and organic acids are also present in kefir.  

Kefir has anti-cancer properties. One study concluded that its “findings suggest that kefir extracts contain constituents that specifically inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells, which might eventually be useful in the prevention or treatment of breast cancer.” Kefir was found to have cut down the number of human breast cancer cells by 56 percent. In comparison, yogurt could only reduce cancer cells by 14 percent.

Kefir is an excellent source of nutrients. (Image: liveeatlearn.com)

Kefir is an excellent source of nutrients. (Image: liveeatlearn.com)

When a person gets older, the risk of osteoporosis sets in. The bone tissue starts deteriorating and the risk of fractures gets higher, especially among women. The calcium and vitamin K2 present in kefir can aid calcium metabolism in the body. Research conducted on animals has found that kefir can increase calcium absorption in bone cells, improving the density of bones that eventually helps to avoid fractures.

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