The water kefir it is a drink favored both for its sparkling flavor and for its impressive health benefits. In addition to containing a powerful dose of probiotics, this tasty drink has also been shown to boost immunity, slow the growth of cancer cells, and improve overall health. Best of all, it can be made at home with a few simple ingredients.
Kefir is obtained through the fermentation process which, in turn, has been the traditional way of preserve food from the dawn of civilization. The evolution of agriculture and the need to store food for longer periods of time to support larger populations led to the fermentation of food and beverages.
Many of these traditional ferments Cultures from all over the world can still be found in people’s diets today. These foods and beverages include, sauerkraut (German), miso (Japanese), Poi (Hawaiian), yogurt/dairy kefir (Central Asia), kavass (Russian), fafaru (Tahitian) kombucha (Chinese), water kefir (Mexican) and beer, which can be traced back to Mesopotamia.
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Origin of kefir
Water kefir grains are known by a variety of names, but are more commonly called tibicos, Japanese water crystals and California bees.
They are also sometimes referred to as Australian Bees, African Bees, Ginger Bees, Ginger Beer Plant, Sea Rice, or Aqua Gems, to name a few.
It’s not entirely clear where or when the water kefir grains originated, but speculation points to Mexico. According to some research, the cultivation of tibicos is formed in the pads of the Opuntia cactus as hard granules, which can be reconstituted in a solution of sugar water as propagating tibicos.
There is documentation of the late 1800s grains of water kefir which are used in fermented beverages made from the sweetened juice of the prickly pear cactus in Mexico.
However, there are stories that place its origin, or at least its use, in the Tibet, in the mountains of Caucasus and in the south of the Ukrainian peninsula. Identifying a place of origin is made even more difficult because water kefir cultures can be found all over the world and no two cultures are exactly the same.
The lack of historical records also makes it difficult to answer a date of origin, but it seems likely that these grains have been used for many centuries.
Distinction or differences between milk and water kefir
The difference between milk and water are as follows:
- Water kefir: yellowish, crystalline in color with foamy and bubbly appearance.
- Milk kefir: white and creamy like curd, cottage cheese appearance.
Content and sources
Water kefir: water kefir is non-dairy and is made with fruit juices, coconut water, organic sugar water or as simple as filtered water. Never use tap water, as the chemicals it contains (chlorine and fluoride) destroy kefir.
Kefir Milk: It is a drink commonly made with cow’s milk, it can also be made with milk from other mammals such as goats, buffaloes, camels and sheep. Non-dairy products can also be used as coconut milk, soy milk, walnut milk and almond milk. However, results may vary and nutrient sources are lower compared to dairy products.
Uses of Kefir
Water kefir: water kefir is used to prepare desserts such as fruit jelly, salad dressings, popsicles, and non-dairy smoothies. It can be flavored and is a good alternative for soft drinks and juices.
Kefir milk: kefir milk can be consumed flavored or unflavored. It is used to prepare salad dressings, butter, yogurt and to prepare smoothies. It can also be converted into cheese kefir by straining to remove the suero, making a variety of cheeses ranging from soft cheese kefir and spreadable to cream cheese kefir or hard cheese kefir.
Properties and benefits of water kefir
Kefir water has excellent properties that protect the body, as it contains minerals and vitamins such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin K. In addition to amino acids to form proteins, it is a probiotic drink high in yeast and beneficial bacteria to protect the digestive system and immune system.
Other properties of water kefir for health:
- It is high in probiotics and can be a beneficial drink for mental well-being.
- It acts as therapeutics for people with cancer cells.
- It is nutritious.
- It can relieve the digestive system.
- Protects against any infection.
- Improves symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Improves allergy and asthma symptoms.
- It makes it easier to lose weight and fat.
- Helps preserve food.
- Improves the detoxification of the organism.
- Accelerates the healing process.
- It improves cognitive function and possibly helps reverse dementia.
- Helps fight the effects of aging.
How to make water kefir
How to prepare water kefir is simple and more so when it comes to using homemade products, because it is very quick and simple.
- Dissolve 1/3 cup of sugar with filtered warm water in a clean glass jar.
- Add water to the kefir grains (about 1 to 2 tablespoons).
- Put the bottle out of direct sunlight.
- Cover the jar with a clean kitchen cloth.
- Let stand for 24 to 30 hours or to your liking.
- Put the kefir water grains in the liquid.
- Make a second fermentation by adding something to give it a little flavor. You can put ginger or slices of freshly peeled ginger. Another option is mint leaves. Cover and let stand on the counter for 24 hours.
- Strain and transfer the liquid to another glass jar and store it in the fridge to start using it.
- Rinse the beans and start over with an unlimited supply of delicious and nutritious water kefir loaded with probiotics or good bacteria!
Water kefir recipes
- 4 tablespoons of rehydrated water Kefir grains.
- White Sugar.
- 4 cups of water (without chlorine).
- A piece of citrus, a piece of dried fruit without sulphur (that is, one or two raisins, an apricot, a slice of lemon).
- 3/4 teaspoons sugar (optional for bottle conditioning).
- Dissolve the sugar in water and add the grains and fruit in a 900 ml jar. Cover the jar with a tight fabric cheese gauze and fastened with an elastic rubber. Store at room temperature for 24-48 hours.
- After achieving the desired flavor, strain the grains.
- Adding sugar in bottling will provide more carbonation. Add 3/4 teaspoon of sugar (first dissolve in a small amount of water or kefir water). It should be stored at room temperature for 1-2 days to be charred.
- Put it in the refrigerator to avoid excessive carbonation. Consume within a semana to get the best taste.
Contraindications of kefir water
All foods, no matter how natural they are and although they have numerous health benefits, also have their negative effects. Any food that is consumed in excess can cause problems. With kefir there are no deadly dangers, but there are contraindications and precautions that you should take into account.
Most of the health benefits of kefir are outweighing contraindications and side effects, as most people feel better after consuming kefir and the side effects are usually temporary. This fermented drink is a powerful probiotic. Most people have no problem with regular consumption of water kefir. However, not everyone tolerates this food in the same way.
People with sensitive stomachs. This drink provides ferments that aid digestion and improve intestinal flora. However, sometimes people with a sensitive stomach may show some symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, or abdominal bloating.
The most common adverse symptoms are as follows:
- Abdominal pain.
- Abdominal inflammation.