Milk Kefir

There is growing interest in fermented foods and beverages, especially kombucha tea and kefir. While research is still emerging, fermented foods and beverages has been linked with improved gut health and reduced inflammation.

While most people may have heard of Kombucha tea, kefir may be less commonly known.

What is kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink, like a thin yogurt. It is traditionally produced using cow’s milk or goat’s milk, combined with kefir grains, and stored in a warm area for it to “culture”, producing the kefir drink.

Kefir grains are not your typical grains, like wheat or rice, and do not contain gluten. They are grain-like colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble bits of cauliflower in appearance.

Kefir has a sourish taste, like yogurt, and may be slightly carbonated.

Dairy-free versions of kefir can be made using coconut water, coconut milk or other sweet liquids. These will not have the same nutrient profile as dairy-based kefir. Milk kefir has more probiotics compared to water kefir. But water kefir will be suitable for people who do not drink dairy.

There are only 10-15 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts in water kefir versus around 50 in basic homemade milk kefir made with live grains.


Comparison between yogurt and kefir

Yogurt Kefir
36-56 kinds of good bacteria 7 kinds of bacteria
Bacteria lasts 24 hours in the body Bacteria found in kefir colonize within the digestive tract
Made with just bacteria (typically Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) Made with a mixture of both bacteria and yeast called a “kefir grain”