Kefir: what it is, why it is good for you and how to prepare it

from Marzia Nicolini And Gerardo Antonelli

In the United States the kefir and fermented foods generally are the most popular. A fashion that has also caught on with us in Italy. Specifically for kefir, those who love it in particular are those who are attentive to their diet or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. “This Caucasian drink helps keep the intestines healthy and improves the functions of the immune system,” he notes Laura Quinti, naturopath expert in nutrition at the Terme di Saturnia Resort. «It is obtained by adding kefir grains (a whitish agglomeration of bacteria and yeasts, reminiscent of the florets of a cauliflower) to cow, sheep or goat milk, but also simply to plain water (in the vegan version). The process is simple: the microorganisms present in the kefir grains ferment the sugars, naturally present in the milk or added if only water is used », continues the expert.

You can also make it yourself

«When you buy the product, check that is free from preservatives or other additives and that the label shows the name of the bacteria used ”, advises the expert. «But you can also do it yourself: pour 2 tablespoons of kefir granules (you can buy them in pharmacies, organic shops or online) in a glass jar with a capacity of 1 liter. Add 750 ml of milk (or plain water with 2 tablespoons of sugar). Close well e let it rest at room temperature: when the consistency becomes creamy (usually takes 24 hours) filter the liquid with a sieve. You can consume the drink right away or keep it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days»Explains Quinti.

“There is also a variant, the water kefir. Like the traditional one, it strengthens the immune system, his rich in minerals and vitamins make it an excellent tonic and is a good help in keeping bad cholesterol within limits. Slightly alcoholic, sparkling and thirst-quenching, it is prepared by putting two tablespoons of granules in a container with half a liter of water, 4 tablespoons of sugar (replaceable with honey or maple syrup), half a lemon squeezed and its peel, 2 tablespoons of sultanas or 1 dried fig, 1 tablespoon of mint or fennel seeds or anise or cumin. The container should be left to rest at room temperature for 48 hours, then we move on to filtering the drink, which will be kept in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. This preparation has the advantage of not raising the blood sugar », concludes our expert.

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