After yoga class last night I was in the supermarket picking up some random items, and going against all the advice I usually give people, I was shopping while hungry. Probably, my only saving grace was that I was also extremely tired, so I didn’t spend too much time shopping. I found myself craving dairy for some reason, which prompted my rediscovering a drink I used to enjoy called kefir.
Kefir is a cultured milk drink which contains different cultures than yogurt. The process involves culturing fresh milk with kefir grains, which are tiny, irregularly shaped, yellow-white, hard granules that look like small cauliflower blossoms. The kefir grains are a mass of bacteria, yeasts, polysaccharides, and other products of bacterial metabolism, together with curds of milk protein. The types of bacteria and yeasts used to make kefir may change, depending on geographic location.
The brand I picked up is called Evolve Kefir, strawberry flavor. Evolve says they use the following cultures/probiotics:
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp.cremoris
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp lactis
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Streptococcus thermophilus
As we have heard several times, probiotics are believed to be able to restore the microbial balance disrupted by antibiotics and infections. There is also some evidence indicating kefir may be helpful to those people who are lactose intolerant.
While this Evolve kefir drink is definitely NOT a diet drink, it’s definitely a better option than having a soda, and would actually make a good post exercise recovery drink on account of some good statistics:
In a 1 cup serving you get:
2 g fat
31 g of carbohydrate
5 g fiber (provided by dextrins)
27 g sugar (10 g of which can be assumed to be the milk sugar, since the plain flavor only has 10 g of sugar)
10 g of protein
40% of the daily recommended for Calcium
10% of the daily recommended for Vitamin A
10% of the daily recommended for Vitamin D
Other than having milk in my coffee or cereal, I’m not a big fan of milk as a beverage (unless its with a slice of chocolate cake :-). The kefir, on the other hand, I would drink with no problem. Again, the only caveat is that you are drinking about 180 calories per serving (but, the plain flavor has just 120 calories). Try it as part of healthy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, it’s a lot less effort than putting a bunch of ingredients in a blender and making a smoothie (plus no clean up).
Hertzler SR, Clancy SM. Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose maldigestion. J of the American Dietetic Association. Volume 103, Issue 5, Pages 582-587