best kefir brands

Discover 9 of the best kefir brands

We’ve enjoyed the benefit of kefir milk for centuries. But kefir’s recent rise to fame is likely linked to our growing interest in gut health. Because we now know that gut health is essential for both physical and mental well-being.

The benefit of kefir milk centers on its natural probiotic content. Certainly, it’s a relatively cheap and tasty way to enjoy the benefit of probiotics. Above all, I love kefir in smoothies, on granola, over e.g. blueberries or just as a plain drink on its own.

In fact, I also love a kefir face mask, because its natural probiotics help soothe my sensitive skin.

Of course many are familiar with kefir but I often see questions about the specific benefit of kefir milk. Particularly, which are the best kefir brands that deliver quality, without artificial additives and too much sugar.

Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look …

Kefir is a fermented drink that is known for its tangy taste and natural probiotics. It’s made by fermenting milk (dairy or non-dairy) with kefir grains, which are small, gelatinous clusters of bacteria and yeast. Basically, the fermentation process transforms the milk into a drink with a creamy texture and a slightly effervescent quality.

You can buy kefir grains at good quality health stores and some high-end food stores also sell kefir grains. Even Amazon is in on the trend and have started to sell kefir grains! But personally I’ll get my kefir grains from good health stores, at least for now.

Benefit of kefir milk

In fact, kefir offers many potential health benefits due to its unique mix of beneficial bacteria, yeast, and various nutrients.

Here are some main benefits of kefir milk:

Kefir is good for gut health because it’s a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that can support a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

So kefir is a natural way to enjoy the benefit of probiotics. This may aid digestion and contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.

Kefir can help with digestive issues. The probiotics in kefir can help break down lactose. In essence, this can make it easier to digest if you’re lactose intolerant.

Some kefir milks are a good source of several essential nutrients, including calcium, protein, and B vitamins. These nutrients affect overall health.

The probiotics in kefir may influence the immune system. This link between probiotics and immunity can help you fight off harmful bugs.

The probiotics and active compounds in kefir may be anti-inflammatory. As a result, kefir may benefit those with inflammatory conditions.

Kefir is a good source of calcium and vitamin K2. These nutrients are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

In particular, the probiotics and nutrients in kefir may contribute to healthier skin by promoting a balanced microbiome.

From personal experience, drinking kefir regularly as well as using it as a face mask has massively helped my inflamed skin.

Science shows that probiotics like those found in kefir may affect mood and mental well-being. Surprisingly, some probiotics influence communication between your gut and your brain. As a result, what you eat can directly affect how you feel!

However it’s important to note that kefir is not a ‘magic potion’! After all, individuals will respond differently to kefir, as with any other food. Further research is ongoing to fully understand these potential benefits.

Yes, there are different types of kefir, primarily distinguished by the type of milk or liquid used in the fermentation process. Additionally, variations may arise based on regional traditions, production methods, and the specific strains of bacteria and yeast present.

Here are some common types of kefir milk:

Cow’s milk kefir: The most common type, made by fermenting cow’s milk with kefir grains. This produces a creamy, tangy beverage with a consistency similar to yogurt.

Goat’s milk kefir: Similar to traditional milk kefir, but made using goat’s milk. Goat’s milk kefir may have a slightly different flavor and composition compared to kefir made with cow’s milk.

Coconut milk kefir: A dairy-free option made by fermenting coconut milk with kefir grains. It offers a tropical flavor and is a popular choice for those seeking plant-based alternatives.

Other types of kefir include sheep’s milk kefir, water kefir and lactose-free kefir.

Many wonder whether kefir is suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals.

Kefir may suit some lactose-intolerant people, because fermentation reduces the lactose content in the milk. The live bacteria and yeast in kefir grains break down lactose into simpler sugars, such as glucose and galactose. As a result, the lactose content of kefir is significantly lower compared to regular milk.

However, many still find that they still react to traditional kefir. Luckily, many other options are available these days.

There are several non-dairy kefirs if you are lactose intolerant or follow a plant-based diet.

Some common alternatives to dairy-based kefir are:

Water kefir, coconout kefir, goat’s milk kefir, nut milk kefirs, oat milk kefir and hemp milk kefir.

If you prefer non-dairy kefir milk, then try to choose unsweetened and unflavored varieties to maintain the health benefits of kefir while avoiding added sugars. Homemade versions of non-dairy kefir can be made with the same fermentation process as traditional kefir.

Substitute dairy milk with the desired non-dairy option and ideally use kefir grains suited to your milk of choice.

Ideally try and choose low sugar alternatives (<5g/100ml as recommended by nutritionists) and kefirs without artificial additives.

These 5 brands are non-dairy and low-sugar (0–2g /100ml).  

1. The Cultured Coconut

The Cultured Coconut is sugar-free, which is an added bonus for me. It seems to be taken more like a supplement: table spoons rather than full glass (perhaps hide it in smoothies or porridge). 

2. Coconut Milk Kefir from The Live Kefir Company

This Coconut Milk Kefir is very low in sugar (0.1g/100ml) which is great. 

3. Natural Coconut Milk Kefir from Organic Cocos

Natural Coconut Milk Kefir is also low sugar (0.1g/100ml) and coconut-based.

4. Natural Coconut Dairy-Free Probiotic Drinks, from Biomel

Compared with the others, the sugar content of Natural Coconut Dairy-Free Probiotic Drinks is slightly higher at 1.9g/100ml.

5. The Original Kefir from Chuckling Goat

The Original Kefir is a well-researched product with a sugar content of 1.6g/100ml.

According to Chuckling Goat: “Our kefir has been independently tested by Atlas Biomed, CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) and Aberystwyth University, and has been found to include [a] diverse range of 27 naturally occurring beneficial live cultures”.

High quality dairy kefir brands without artificial additives and low sugar are:

1. Biotiful Kefir Original:

This organic kefir milk is made with British milk and contains no added sugar, artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives.

2. Biotiful Gut Health Kefir Protein:

I’m a big fan of Biotiful Gut Health Kefir Protein because of the high protein content and natural benefit of probiotics you get with this creamy yogurt.

3. Arla Organic Free Range Kefir Natural Cultured Milk Drink:

This organic kefir milk is made with real kefir grains.

4. The Collective Dairy:

This kefir drink is made with British milk and real fruit puree, and has no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives.

To summarize, the benefits of kefir are many, including digestion, immunity, skin health, anti-inflammation and more. These days there are lots of options to choose from, so you can find one that suits your taste. It’s an easy way to enjoy the natural benefit of probiotics. Undoubtedly, it will continue to grow in popularity: there are over 135,000 monthly Google searches for ‘kefir’ and ‘benefit kefir’!

Ideally choose low sugar alternatives (<5g / 100ml as recommended by nutritionists) and kefir milks without artificial additives.

I’m also a fan of probiotic supplements but will continue to enjoy my kefir because it’s such a cheap and tasty way of enjoying the benefit of probiotics.

NOTE: This is not intended as medical advice. Seek advice from a nutritionist or healthcare professional before making dietary changes.

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