Kefir is a beneficial and easily digestible drink with a myriad of health benefits.
While kefir does not have real disadvantages, along with its many advantages, it still has some contraindication that should be taken into consideration.
Let’s look at all of them in detail.
Kefir has only one real disadvantage that could be a contraindication for its consumption and should be addressed with precaution.
People with a compromised immune system should avoid kefir.
While live bacteria and yeast found in kefir may be extremely beneficial for people with properly functioning immune systems, they could be dangerous if the immune system is somehow compromised either by a disease or by medications called immunosuppressants.
The actual problem here is that people with compromised immune systems or under the effect of immunosuppressant medications are very prone to infections. For this reason, the active living bacteria and yeast contained in kefir could more easily provoke either bacterial or fungal overgrowth and infections in these patients.
However, besides this specific but single contraindication, kefir may be consumed by virtually everyone. Even if sometimes first uses of kefir may be accompanied by a temporary discomfort in the stomach, such symptoms usually fade away once the gastrointestinal tract adapts to the new powerful probiotic food.
Improves the functioning of the digestive system
Kefir is easily digested, cleanses the intestines, supplies the body with vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
By supplying the digestive system with many probiotic bacteria and yeast, kefir microorganisms colonize the gastrointestinal tract and provide our guts with a healthy and balanced microflora that is a source of good health.
Has anti-inflammatory effect
A study appraising a possible anti-inflammatory effect of kefir showed that kefir leads to the inhibition of the inflammatory process by about 44%. These results proved anti-inflammatory effects in all symbiotic kefir cultures in both aqueous and milky environments (milk and water kefir).
The anti-inflammatory effect of kefir and yogurt can easily be observed from their healing effect when directly applied to sunburned skin.
Balances the immune system
Kefir is known as an immunomodulator. It does not somehow “boost” the immune system but rather modulates it, making it balanced and harmonious.
We usually get ill when our immune system is too weak and can’t cope with aggressive viruses or harmful bacteria.
However, when our immune system gets too strong, it could overreact and start fighting with our own body, and here lies the cause of autoimmune diseases.
As kefir is an immunomodulator, it balances our immune system and prevents it from overreacting or underreacting.
Improves brain function
The positive effects of kefir on our gut microbiota are well documented, but how could kefir also be responsible for our mental health?
Several researchers have consistently proven that disruptions in the gut microbiota usually coincide with various mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety.
Recent studies found that Tryptophan, the amino acid abundantly present in kefir, secrete small molecules called indoles, which stimulate the development of new brain cells in adults. This fact is expected to dramatically impact the future treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Regulates blood pressure levels
Scientists have shown that the intake of probiotics is beneficial for blood pressure control, but it also has the potential for dietary treatment of hypertension.
While the underlying biological mechanisms remain unclear, it is proven that a well-balanced gut microbiome could protect against high blood pressure.
The results in a scientific study indicate that kefir’s effect on gut bacteria is reflected in the signals transmitted by the brain to the rest of the system. Thus, a balanced gut microbiome influences the brain to lower blood pressure to healthy levels.
Keeps skin healthy
Kefir not only keeps the digestive tract healthy, but it will also affect the “look and feel” of your skin.
As we already said in our article about “Kefir skin“, the most widespread skin diseases like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and dermatitis, are not skin conditions but autoimmune conditions.
Most autoimmune conditions are, however, connected to a single issue: microbiome damage.
Therefore, by drinking the most potent probiotic kefir that populates the gut with good bacteria, the healing process for most skin diseases starts from the inside out, creating a powerful and permanent solution to most skin problems.
Slows down the aging process
Aging is an inevitable outcome of our lives, but the quality and speed of aging are things we can influence.
Hallmarks of aging seem to be affected and inhibited by certain biotics, prebiotics, probiotics, or synbiotics.
A recent study by McGill University found that fruit flies fed with a combination of probiotics and Triphala (a herbal prebiotic) not only lived 60% longer but were also protected against a myriad of chronic diseases linked to aging.
Dr. Ylya Metchnikoff – a Russian immunologist and Nobel Prize winner in 1908 for discovering phagocytosis – observed that fermented milk products like kefir were a staple food in the diet of the earth populations with the longest life expectancy.
As we wrote in our article called “Is kefir good for elderly people“, it is no coincidence that the regions where kefir is consumed the most, such as Tibet, Caucasus, Turkey, Mongolia, Bulgaria, or Russia, have also the highest number of centenarians per capita.
Improves sleep quality
Many people in Central Asia have a habit of drinking a glass of kefir at bedtime, and this habit has spread among other nations.
Indeed, kefir contains many macro-and microelements, B vitamins, lactobacilli, and many essential amino acids. In addition, kefir contains the amino acid Tryptophan, which improves sleep quality and helps overcome insomnia.
The added benefit of drinking kefir in the evening is that it creates a feeling of satiety, and it is the hunger that usually prevents many from falling asleep.
Helps with weight loss
Kefir contributes to weight loss, making it an excellent supplement to any diet in at least two ways.
First of all, as we said, kefir increases the sense of satiety and helps speed up the metabolism, and these are the main factors that contribute to weight loss.
Secondly, some probiotic species from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium family, the most potent of which appears to be Lactobacillus gasseri, directly contribute to weight loss reduce belly fat.
Another advantage of kefir is that it is low in carbohydrates, and all experts agree that the most common cause for obesity is excessive consumption of carbohydrates.
Has antioxidant properties
Kefir is a powerful antioxidant and can neutralize free radicals that damage cells and oxidize tissues.
By reducing the effects of these free radicals, kefir can improve overall health, slow down the aging process, and reduce the risk of developing cancer cells.
Regular consumption of kefir leads to improved immune and digestive systems, improved brain functions, optimized blood pressure, and a reduced risk of developing many chronic and acute diseases, such as heart attacks, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.
Milk kefir has a rich and diverse probiotic content. Unlike yogurt, which usually contains two basic types of probiotics (Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus), milk kefir may include more than 50 types of beneficial bacteria. Some of the most noticeable them are Lactobacillus kefiri, Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Lactobacillus parakefir, and many others.
In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that have high value to the body and help it heal itself.
Balances the nervous system
Kefir also contains Tryptophan. This essential amino acid found in kefir is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system.
Kefir also contains calcium and magnesium – essential minerals for a healthy nervous system, and Phosphorus – the second most prominent mineral in the human body, supporting the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Kefir has numerous benefits in maintaining proper B vitamin concentration associated with the normal functioning of the nervous system, kidneys, liver, skin condition, increased energy, and longevity.