8 years ago

The It List: Kefir

Similar to yogurt, kefir is a cultured milk product. Usually sold as a drink, it’s naturally sweet, mild and slightly bubbly with a bit of a tang.

Kefir (pronounced kee-fer) originates from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe. It’s believed that the name comes from the Turkish word “keif” which means “good feeling.” And there are plenty of reasons to feel good about eating kefir:

  • Kefir has three times the amount of probiotics as yogurt.
  • Each serving of kefir provides about 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance for calcium.
  • Kefir is a good source of tryptophan – yes, the same amino acid found in your Thanksgiving turkey – which means it can actually have a relaxing effect when consumed.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2003 found that kefir can improve lactose digestion and may be able to prevent or treat some digestive problems.
  • A single serving of plain, non-fat kefir has less than 100 calories, but provides 10.5 grams of protein.
  • Kefir is a good source of B vitamins, which help your blood and nervous system, and phosphorus, which helps your body use carbs and proteins for cell growth and energy.
If you’re interested in trying kefir but not sure about the taste, try including it in smoothies instead of milk. Look for it in the dairy aisle!