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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > November 2016 > What’s the deal with… KEFIR

What’s the deal with… KEFIR

Enjoyed in Russia and central Asia for centuries, the oldest health drink on the block is now gaining fans over here


It’s a drink made from kefir ‘grains’ (a yeast/bacterial culture in the form of tiny grain-like florets) fermented in cow’s or goat’s milk. Kefir originated in the Caucasus and has been a diet staple for more than 2,000 years in eastern Europe. It’s widely available online and it’s popping up in many UK stores, too.


In Russia, Kefir is consumed daily by adults. Being particularly rich in probiotic bacteria (it contains more healthy bacteria than yogurt), it’s thought to improve digestion and strengthen the immune system – although the impact on immunity is thought to be minimal in people who are already in good health. Kefir has also been found to reduce symptoms in people with lactose intolerance. Some people believe it has the power to protect against cancer, although far more studies involving humans are needed to confirm this. Nutritionally, it’s high in protein and calcium – a 200ml serving provides roughly a third of our recommended daily calcium intake. However, kefir can be high in calories and flavoured varieties often contain added sugars, so check labels and choose those with the lowest.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Is your marriage making you fat? We reveal how to dodge those happy-couple fat traps for the sake of your waistline. Find out how to eat well to avoid inflammation, the best foods to fuel your workout and need-to-know tips and recipes for your dairy-free storecupboard. Plus: warming soups to curl up with, healthy Indian curry swaps for Friday night and two Sunday roasts go head-to-head on nutrition. Find it all in November’s Healthy Food Guide.