Are you looking for ways to boost your immune system this fall? Whenever I am transitioning into a new season, I try and boost my immune system naturally with food. One food that does a really great job of this is kefir (kuh-feer). Kefir is a thick, fermented drink with a consistency similar to yogurt. While it resembles yogurt, it has even more potent probiotics than yogurt does. In fact, kefir contains around 30 strains of healthy bacteria and yeast, making it a great source of diverse and rich probiotics. An interesting thing to note is that kefir contains a certain bacteria that actually protects against bad bacteria, further supporting your immune system.

Probiotics not only boost your immunity, but also improve your digestion and overall gut health. The probiotics in kefir are great for helping with diarrhea too. In addition, kefir contains a lot of other nutrients and vitamins.

In each cup of kefir, there is about 8-11 grams of protein and about 30% of your daily recommended dose of calcium.  This yogurt-like drink has also been known to help decrease inflammatory responses which are usually a large cause of asthma and allergies.

What is kefir exactly and how is it made? Kefir is made by taking the kefir grain and soaking it in either cow’s or goat’s milk in a glass jar, leaving one-inch space at the top of the jar. Some health enthusiasts add full-fat cream if they want a thicker drink. Then they put the lid on the jar and let it sit there for 12-36 hours and ferment. Once the mixture is clumpy,  it’s ready.  The liquid is then strained and separated from the kefir grains. The great thing about making it this way, is that you can reuse the kefir grains that are left behind and start the whole process over again!

What is even more amazing is that those who drink kefir who have a lactose intolerance, tend to not have any issues! After fermenting the milk, there is essentially no lactose left. An article published in the Journal of American Dietetics Association actually showed that drinking kefir helped reduce symptoms like gas, stomach pain and diarrhea.

While this super drink has amazing health benefits, it tends to be a bit sour. To make the flavor better, you can blend it with fresh fruit and other natural sweeteners to make it more yummy!

You can find kefir at stores (watch for added sugar though!) but it’s always simple enough to make at home. Check out this great video on how to make it!

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