I’ve been a sort of fermented/cultured foodie for awhile now. I enjoy it on a regular basis including things like home brewed kombucha, homemade fermented radish pickles, homemade sauerkraut, and most recently, home brewed water kefir. Now I’m wondering what took me so long! If you’re curious about the health benefits of water kefir, I hope you enjoy this post and will consider giving it a try!
If you love Kevita sparkling probiotic drink this is a cost effective way to brew your own version right at home, and to contine to benefit from the many batches that just keep giving over and over again.
What Exactly is Water Kefir?
Water kefir is a fermented beverage rich in a variety of beneficial probiotic bacteria, enzymes, and B vitamins. The taste is slightly fizzy, slightly tangy, and earthy. It is much more mild in flavor than kombucha and doesn’t have the strong vinegary taste, appealing even to first time fermenters, and kids too.
Part of the fun is infusing different flavors while in the last stage of fermentation resulting in delicious variations of “natures soda.” In Turkish kefir means “good feeling” or “feel good” which is precisely the feeling we have experienced in our home since drinking it.
Many of you probably know kefir as the milk kefir type. But water kefir is a great way to satisfy your daily water intake with the added bonus of a healthy gut.
It all begins with kefir grains, which are not actual grains but little translucent, gelatinous structures made of an assortment of friendly bacteria. These are the lifeblood of water kefir and if taken good care of will grow and multiply quickly, like the gift that keeps on giving.
Benefits of Water Kefir
Like all cultured foods, water kefir supports gut health in a big way. By keeping the gut flora in balance it strengthens the immune system, increases energy, and can help prevent inflammatory diseases of all kinds. It yields tremendous benefits for allergies, skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis, and can have a positive calming effect on the nervous system.
About That Sugar
It’s no secret processed sugars are fueling many of our modern day health concerns. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are rearing their ugly heads as a result of too much sugar consumption. This sweet poison is contributing to obesity, sapping brain power and good moods, and worst of all – its addictive ways are leaving people craving more and more.
It’s lurking in just about every packaged food imaginable, and one of the biggest contributors to modern day sugar habits is sweetened beverages, soda being the star of the show.
It’s true that as part of the culturing process kefir grains are fed sugar water so you may be wondering how the sugar in water kefir is any different from the sugar in soda.
First, the key is to use only unrefined and unprocessed sugars to culture your water kefir. Second, during fermentation the kefir grains metabolize the sugar and convert it into beneficial bacteria and other nutrients so that there is not that much sugar content remaining in the final beverage.
Here’s a little story about how “natures soda” can help you kick a sugary beverage habit…
Once upon a time there was a man who loved soda. He simply could not go a day without it. If he did he would experience extreme mood swings, irritability, lack of energy, sugar and caffeine cravings. Finally one day the man decided he wanted something better. He was sick and tired of feeling this way. He began to transition by drinking sparkling water flavored with stevia. Then he traded his soda for water kefir and lived happily ever after.
True story. The Mr. finally kicked his long time soda habit thanks to sparkling water, flavored stevia, and water kefir. And I am so proud of him. Trust me – if he did it, so can you. It’s a huge plus that water kefir can actually curb cravings for sugar. If you’re a visual person check out just how much sugar is in some mainstream beverages (even some that market themselves as healthy) here. Holy sugar Batman!!!
Let’s Talk Alcohol and Yeast
All fermented beverages contain some alcohol and water kefir is no exception. However, hopefully knowing there is around 0.5% to 0.7% alcohol in the final product will put your mind at ease. It all depends on how long you brew your kefir so if you’re looking for less alcohol content a good tip is not to let your final brew go for more than 24 hours on the counter top. If you’re concerned you can always grab a hydrometer to test your batches.
Please note that although water kefir carries candida strains, don’t let that concern you. It does not contain candida albicans which is the strain that you don’t want overgrowth of. We all have, and need, some of the right strains of candida for a healthy gut. Balance of these yeasts and bacteria is key to maintaining a happy gut, and water kefir provides this benefit.
That being said, each persons body is different, so it is important to listen to yours and start out slowly when introducing anything new to your diet, including water kefir. I suggest playing with the amount until you find a happy medium that works best for you.
My Experience With Water Kefir
Earlier I shared the Mr.’s story about quitting soda. He continues to take his water kefir to work everyday. Trust me the difference in him is night and day :) Now for another little story.
Once upon a time there was a woman who had bad digestive issues, brain fog, and lack of energy. No matter how healthy she ate she was always bloated. Finally one day the woman decided enough was enough. She decided to do a candida cleanse followed by a candida diet. At the end the she started drinking water kefir. Her bloat, brain fog, and sugar cravings disappeared, and her energy was back up. She lost 9 lbs and she lived happily ever after.
True story. I feel so much better and kicked my sugar cravings. We drink 16-32 ounces of water kefir a day, break for one day a week, and continue to experience more energy, improvements in digestion, immunity, mental focus, hormones, and moods. You can also feel it cleansing your liver and kidneys.
I also like to fill a glass spray bottle, store it in the fridge, and use it as a facial toner, spray it on my body (don’t worry the smell dissipates quickly and it absorbs just like water), and have used it to soothe sunburns/overly sunned skin.
Ready to learn how to make your own kefir water at home? Find out how here!
Have you ever experienced health benefits from water kefir? Think you might try it?