A healthy digestive system can be disrupted by stress, poor diet choices, a lack of dietary fiber and other causes. The benefits of maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system extend beyond digestion, to better nutrient absorption from the foods you eat, improved immune function, urinary health, reduced inflammation and more! Your gut naturally contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria and to keep a healthy balance, many people benefit from probiotics (good bacteria) found in dairy products like yogurt. Probiotics are also found in a cultured milk drink called Kefir.
Preliminary research has shown that kefir may aid in lactose digestion and it has been shown to reduce flatulence caused by lactose intolerance by 50% when compared to milk.(1) For lactose intolerant adults, drinking kefir may dramatically reduce symptoms due to the microbes contained in the fermented milk. These microbes (Kefir) contain an enzyme the body uses to digest lactose. It also contains millions of “good” bacteria known to promote the breakdown of lactose during digestion. Kefir is also an excellent source of protein. For a yummy, protein rich smoothie recipe check out our Big 5 Superfood Smoothie recipe.
Kefir vs Yogurt
Both dairy products contain probiotic, beneficial bacteria to help keep your digestive system healthy and clean, but did you know that kefir contains 4 different species of friendly bacteria? These species are not commonly found in yogurt and include: Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus. It also contains beneficial yeasts which help reduce the presence of intestinal parasites, and pathogens like E. coli. It is far more nutrient dense than yogurt, and is able to colonize in the intestinal tract to offer benefits unmatched by other probiotic products.
Healthy Digestion and Your Weight
Kefir contains a fatty acid called Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. CLA has been shown to help reduce body fat in clinical studies.(2)(3) This unique fat supports proper metabolic function and helps glucose get into muscle cells, thus preventing sugars from being converted to fat in the body. Basically, it helps fat enter the cellular membranes of muscles and connective tissues to be burned as fuel. Not only that but the probiotic bacteria contained in Kefir also help maintain a healthy digestive system and reduce the amount of toxins in your entire body. Proper digestion is an important aspect of weight loss and if your body is not optimally processing food and eliminating waste, you may have a slower metabolism, more stored calories and ultimately, weight gain. Enjoy this recipe for Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes.
For more information on Kefir and its potential benefits, watch this short video: