Water kefir is a natural, dairy-free probiotic beverage that you can make at home. If you've been thinking about adding lacto-fermented foods to your diet, but haven't taken the plunge, this is a great place to start. Its main benefit is its wide variety of
- Immune System Support: A huge percentage of our body's immune system resides in the gut (70%-80% according to a study published by the American Journal of Physiology). The probiotic bacteria in water kefir can help to strengthen this.
- Leaky Gut: If you suspect leaky gut, as is common in those with food allergies, one of the first and best things to do is add probiotics to help balance the internal gut flora. You can do this by taking a probiotic pill, but as with most nutrients, its better to get it through real food/beverage because you'll also get the other nutrients that help promote colonization and healing.
- Candidiasis: Many people who suffer from issues with Candida/yeast infections benefit from water kefir. That's because it contains friendly yeast that can starve out Candida Albicans.
- Children: Probiotics are important for kids too, and, depending on the cause, may help with things like atopic dermatitis (read more here). Its easier to get kids to drink a tasty beverage than to take a pill, so water kefir is a good probiotic option for kids.
- Antibiotic Use: After killing off the good with the bad, you'll need to replenish your natural internal flora.
So how is water kefir made? I'm glad you asked! Its really quite a simple process and doesn't take much hands-on time at all. The most helpful resource I've found is this video tutorial. Here's what you need to make 1 quart of water kefir:
- Water kefir grains (about 1/4 cup): These are not grains at all, but get their name from the way they look. They are actually a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. If you have a friend who is already making water kefir, you should be able to get some grains from her as the grains tend to multiply. If not, you can order from a reputable source such as Cultures for Health.
- Water: Pure water. Avoid using chlorinated water, but if you must, you can boil it beforehand to get the chlorine out. I use reverse osmosis water (read more about water filtration here) which means my water doesn't contain chlorine or fluoride (yah!), but I do add mineral drops to keep the kefir grains happy.
- Sugar (1/4 cup): This should be an unprocessed sugar like sucanat, rapadura, or evaporated cane crystals (just avoid bleached white sugar as the chemicals in it are likely to damage the kefir grains).
There are tons of flavor options, but here are my family's favorites:
- Lemonade/Limeade: To 1 quart water kefir, add 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice or lime juice. This makes a lightly sweet and very refreshing beverage!
- Cream Soda: While making the water kefir, add 1 tsp molasses to your sugar. Once water kefir has been prepared, add about 2 tsp vanilla extract to it. Yum!
- Blueberry: To 1 quart water kefir, add about 1/2 cup blueberry juice.
So there you have it. A beneficial probiotic beverage that's easy to make and tastes good. There's tons more info available on making water kefir. I encourage you to follow the links I've provided to get a fuller understanding of it all. And I hope you'll give it a try!
In addition to personal experience, information for this article was obtained from these sources: Cultures For Health, Yemoos, Whole Traditions: Water Kefir Instructions, Vitabase
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