What is kefir and is it good for you? In this blog post we'll share everything you need to know about this fermented food and what makes it different from regular yogurt.
Let's talk yogurt. If you’re one of those people who ate Danimals or Go-GURT growing up, you probably don’t think of yogurt as a go-to healthy snack. And, if we’re talking about those pink-dyed, sugar-filled yogurts of yesteryear, you’re absolutely right. But it turns out their foundation — fermented milk — is actually really great for you. We just ruined it when we tried to make it kid-friendly.
Fermented milk doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, but it comes in two primary forms that a lot of people genuinely enjoy: yogurt and kefir. Both contain probiotics, which are great for your gut health. They’re also high in calcium, protein, B vitamins, and potassium.
But they’re not identical as far as health benefits go. Because they’re made differently, yogurt and kefir offer your body different things.
The difference arises because kefir is fermented at room temperature, while most yogurt needs heat to ferment. The resulting texture and taste are different too. Kefir is drink-like, while you’ll probably need a spoon for your yogurt. Both are slightly sour, but kefir tastes more like yeast.
If you hate kefir but think yogurt is great, making yogurt a part of your diet will still give your gut a boost.
That said, if you like both, kefir is probably the better choice. It contains more quantities and variety of gut-healthy bacteria. It’s basically a nutritionally dense probiotic you can take every day.
It can be a confusing world out there. Kefir is pretty straightforward. Find it in the dairy aisle at your grocery store and you’re good to go.
If you’re going to go the yogurt route, make sure you check labels. Lots of yogurts contain added sugars. Unflavored/plain yogurt will give you the greatest health benefits without any unhelpful added ingredients.
Next, look for labels that say they contain live and/or active cultures. A lot of yogurt is pasteurized. This heating process kills the good bacteria that makes it so healthy for you in the first place, so what’s the point?
Because of the way it’s fermented, most lactose-intolerant people can still consume kefir problem-free. In fact, it can actually support better lactose digestion! And the good, live culture-rich yogurt might be okay for your system, too. The probiotics help your body digest the lactose, but whether or not you’ll be able to eat it comfortably depends on the sensitivity of your system.
Whichever route you go, kefir and yogurt can help you keep your gut in top health AND tastes great!