What is Water Kefir?
Water kefir is a refreshing beverage full of healthy probiotics. It has a low glycemic index and no caffeine. It is typically a tart beverage, but the sweetness of the water kefir can be adjusted based on how long you allow fermentation to occur. As it is a fermented beverage, it takes about 1-2 days to make.
Why Should I Consume Probiotics?
Our guts are full of bacteria….with over 10^14microbial cells of 1,000 types of bacteria. These bacteria have been linked to:
- improved digestion and absorption
- vitamin synthesis
- inhibition of potential pathogens
- cholesterol reduction
- lowering of gas distension (Source)
Over 700 human studies lend support that gut bacteria may ” aid in preventing or treating various GI tract disorders, promoting GI health and preventing metabolic syndrome” (Source)
Current research is now investigating how probiotics can help:
“chronic intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, vaginitis, irritable bowel syndrome, atopic dermatitis, sepsis, food allergies, and liver disease. Substantial evidence has shown that probiotics can modulate systemic and mucosal immune function, improve intestinal barrier function, alter gut micro-ecology, and exert metabolic effects on the host” (Source)
Sometimes, our healthy bacteria are killed. For example, antibiotics that we take can kill the healthy bacteria and let pathogenic bacteria grow. To help replenish the healthy bacteria, you can take a probiotic or eat a supplemented food, such as yogurt, that contains live cultures. One food product that contains healthy probiotics is water kefir.
Why Should I Drink it?
Along with offering probiotics, fermented foods, such as keifr, contain enzymes, digested nutrients, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. For example, water kefir contains folic acid and B Vitamins. This can be especially beneficial to vegetarians who often do not consume adequate amount of Vitamin B12.
The following healthy bacteria and yeast are in water kefir:
L. casei subsp. casei
L. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum
L. casei subsp. rhamnosus
L. casei subsp. tolerans
L. coryneformis subsp. torquens
*does not contain C. albicans – the yeast associated with human yeast infections and ‘candida’ in
*does not contain T. glabrata, also associated with yeast infections and ‘candida’
Water Kefir Grains
Can I Make it Myself?
Most definitely! I bought my water kefir grains from Cultures for Health. They will come with an instruction book which is very easy to follow. Also, there are recipes online that you can follow to customize your drink.
How Do I Make it?
Water kefir grains can be purchased online from multiple sources. These come dried and take a few cycles of sugar water to reconstitute and become active grains. These active grains are added to water (I boil tap water but you can also use bottled, just not tap), dried fruit (I use a dried plum) and natural sugar (I use agave nectar….don’t use honey as it is antibacterial and will kill your kefir grains). This sits in a mason jar with a lid at room temperature for about one day. The time it takes will depend upon how happy your grains are and the temperature of the room. You will know the water kefir is done because the plum or dried fruit will float due to the produced carbonation. Be careful when opening the jar as there can be significant built-up pressure. Also, if possible, check the pressure every several hours and release some pressure if there is too much build-up. Once the fruit floats, the water kefir is ready to drink. The longer you let this beverage sit at room temperature, the more tart it will become and the more nutrients it will have. You can drink this beverage as is or, alternatively, you can do a second fermentation with other fruit. I use frozen mango or blueberries. Make sure if you use fresh or frozen fruit for the second fermentation that you keep this in the fridge or the fruit will rot.
Water Kefir with Floating Fruit…ready to drink!
Where Can I Learn More?
This is the website where I got the majority of my information