When it comes to brands that we love to collaborative with and feature on our retreats, it is all about gut heathy functional foods. The Collective Kefir and Remedy Kombucha have both proven to be hugely popular with our guests who are always super motivated to carry on the gut-healthy lifestyle. Let's first focus on kefir, what is it and why is it good for you?

What is Kefir?

Kefir (pronounced ‘Kee-fer’) is a fermented food with super probiotic powers. It originates from Eastern Europe and the name comes from the Turkish word for ‘good feeling’ – so it’s no surprise that it’s top of our list of fermented foods which make you feel good!

Kefir is made by fermenting dairy or plant/nut milk with kefir ‘grains’. The ‘grains’ provide a live colony of bacteria which feed on the sugar in the milk to create a slightly sour tasting yoghurt drink which is hugely beneficial for our gut bacteria.

Nutritional Benefits of Kefir

Kefir contains billions of friendly bacteria or probiotics which have a beneficial effect on the microbiome in our gut. Our gut contains 70% of our immune system and without the right level and variety of good bacteria, our immune system can’t function optimally.

A healthy gut microbiome has also been linked to improved mood and energy and reduced digestive discomfort like bloating, flatulence and reflux. It can also help improve digestive conditions like IBS and IBD.

In addition to being an amazing source of probiotics, Kefir has other nutritional benefits which will vary depending on the type of milk used. But most types of kefir contain good levels of protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium and B-vitamins – all essential nutrients for overall health and wellbeing.

How to choose Kefir

You can find kefir in the chiller cabinet in health food shops and in many supermarkets. It can be made with plant and nut milks (such as coconut) as well as dairy.

The bottle is normally white and shouldn’t say anything other than ‘Kefir’ or ‘Natural Kefir’. All you should find on the ingredients list is: pasteurized milk and live kefir/bacterial cultures – and sometimes kefir yeast and no added sugars!

When to be cautious with Kefir

Start slowly: Like all fermented foods it’s best to slowly introduce kefir. This avoids overwhelming your digestive system with a sudden influx of probiotic bacteria which can cause extra gas and wind while your gut gets used to the new arrivals!

Lactose intolerance: while most of the lactose sugar is lost from kefir made with dairy milk during the fermentation process, some may remain. So if you have an allergy or intolerance you may wish to choose a kefir made from coconut or other plant/nut milks.