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Kefir may be new to the super food scene, but this ancient drink has been around for ages, and for good reason: It’s packed with nutrients and great for digestion. A fermented milk beverage, kefir has a similar tart and sour taste to yogurt but is much thinner than yogurt and yet creamier than milk, making it a delicious satisfying drink. Too tart for your taste buds? Try blending kefir with fresh fruit to sweeten it up or look for flavored varieties at the grocery store.
Kefir is back in the limelight and more popular than ever because of its role in digestive health. You see, kefir is packed with about 12 different types of probiotics (you know, that good bacteria naturally found in your gut) and that’s a lot of good bacteria for one super food to contain (three times as much as yogurt). Probiotics help to improve digestion and tummy troubles like bloating and even more serious digestive issues like IBS.
Plus, all those probiotics help to break down the lactose in kefir, making it easier to digest for folks with lactose intolerance. And if digestive health doesn’t sell you, we’re starting to learn that gut health might impact more than just digestion, but also immunity, allergies, weight, and even your mood!
Sure, kefir is a beverage, but there are so many other creative ways to incorporate this fermented dairy product into your diet than just sipping it straight from a glass:
- Substitute kefir for milk or yogurt in your favorite smoothies.
- Use it in baked goods in place of buttermilk or yogurt.
- I scream. You scream. We all scream for kefir ice cream! Make a delicious probiotic-packed frozen treat using kefir. Start with this Honey Kefir and Coconut Ice Cream by Rachael Hartley of An Avocado A Day.
- Make a buttermilk or ranch salad dressing with it.
- Use it in the traditional Indian drink lassi like this Mango Cardamom Kefir Lassi by Dixya Bhattarai of the Blog Food, Pleasure, and Health.
- Yogurt pops have already been done so try shaking things up by using kefir in your next batch of homemade popsicles.
- Got the grill ready for summer? Incorporate kefir into your next marinade. Its acidity will help tenderize your meat.
- Pour it into your morning bowl of cereal, or oatmeal!
- Strain kefir to make thick kefir cheese to use in dips and spreads.
Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, is a nutritionist and blogger at The Foodie Dietitian.