If you’re living in 2018 and haven’t yet tried a dairy alternative… where have you been?!
“Different dairies” are the top of many foodies’ hit list, while the benefits of a lactose-free alternative to traditional dairy products (lactose has been known to cause digestive issues) has made dairy alternatives more than a passing trend: they’re the new normal.
However, while you might have picked up costly almond milk in the supermarket or spooned a less-than-flavoursome coconut yoghurt for breakfast, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a low-lactose milk which, while less common, is actually – excuse the pun – the creme de la creme.
It’s called kefir. Let’s dive into what this low-lactose milk is all about.
What is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk which is made with either cow, goat or sheep’s milk. Similar to yoghurt, kefir has a fermentation “starter” added to it during production. The result is a creamy, probiotic-rich milk. It is loved for its tangy taste and high levels of active and live cultures.
7 Reasons To Try Kefir
Lots of probiotics
The gut is hugely important for maintaining a healthy immune, heart, weight, and digestive system – and one thing which gives the gut a boost like no other is probiotics.
Together, these good bacteria help restore the balance of bacteria in the gut, providing a natural remedy to a whole host of ailments, from stomach cramps to the common cold.
Kefir is often a good choice if you are looking for a natural way to ease the symptoms of digestive issues, such as IBS.
2. High in protein
Protein is the building block for bones, muscles, skin and blood, amongst others. However, despite its importance in the body, the body itself does not actually create or store any proteins by itself – we need to consume plentiful amounts of it to get what our bodies are crying out for.
Kefir is naturally high in protein which, along with aiding the body, is great for boosting metabolism (protein also has been proven to keep you fuller for longer).
3. Promotes better skin
Kefir contains lactic acid, of which is a type of AHA (or ‘Alpha-hydroxy acids’). AHAs are a group of plant and animal acids which, while they can be consumed, are more commonly found in skincare products, namely anti-ageing creams. AHAs offer a natural way to promote collagen and blood flow in the skin, whilst brightening complexion.
4. It suits multiple diets
Along with being up to 99 per cent lactose-free, kefir is also gluten-free and low in sugar. Some brands even offer kefir which is so low in lactose that even lactose intolerant consumers can drink it without any side effects.
5. It makes you feel good
Okay, we know healthy food/drink makes us feel good, but kefir actually has a “feel-good” chemical in it: tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which, whilst the body can’t make it, is imperative to the development of many organs in the body. When digested, tryptophan converts into serotonin (the “mood boosting” chemical) and melotonin (the “relaxing” chemical).
6. High in calcium
It’s a myth that lactose is the key reason cow’s milk is so rich in calcium. Calcium is a mineral in its own right, and can be found in high levels in dairy alternatives, such as kefir. For instance, one serving of Lifeway Kefir provides 30 per cent of your daily calcium needs. Taken often, the calcium from kefir can help to maintain bone strength and boost magnesium and potassium levels in the blood.
7. It’s versatile
Due to its tangy taste and kind-of milk kind-of yogurt consistency, kefir is hugely versatile. It is best used as a base for cereals and porridges, and as an ingredient in smoothies and soups. Delicious!