Creamy, tangy, and very refreshing, kefir is a superfood that is both delicious and healthy. Its nutritional value and probiotic content account for most of its health benefits. However, drinking too much kefir can invite side effects you want to avoid. So, how much kefir should you drink in a day?
If you want to introduce kefir to your diet, it is best to stick to drinking 1-2 cups per day. You can make it either in water or milk. For milk kefir, you should drink 1 cup to reap maximum health benefits, but for water kefir, 2 cups a day will work just as well since water is milder than the former.
Now that we have established the average intake of kefir let’s move on to why it’s good for you and the warning signs you should look out for if you’re drinking too much.
What is Kefir?
A common misconception about kefir is that it’s medicine when it’s really a natural food that is highly nutritious. Kefir is a fermented drink created by adding kefir grains to cow or goat’s milk—the process results in a tangy drink with a yogurt-like texture.
Kefir is a mix of good bacteria and yeast and can also be added to sugar water to make a tangy, water-based probiotic beverage similar to kombucha.
Both water and milk kefir are rich in probiotics and can improve your heart’s health and immune function and support digestion. In addition, milk kefir contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12 making it a super drink.
How Much Kefir Should One Intake?
Kefir is an excellent addition if you want to achieve a well-rounded diet. You should drink 1 cup of milk kefir or 2 cups of water kefir daily for best results. If you want to increase your intake of probiotics, you can pair it up with other fermented foods and beverages.
However, if you are on a particular diet, such as low-carb or ketogenic, you may need to limit your intake according to your daily carb allotment.
The same goes for those with diabetes and people who avoid alcohol. Furthermore, people with conditions that weaken the immune system should consult their doctor before introducing any food with high probiotic content to their diets.
Every person is unique, and the dosage quantity that works for one might not benefit the other. This is why it’s important to understand your body’s warning signs if you consume too much kefir.
We can only tell you the average consumption of kefir based on customer feedback, but you are the best judge of how much kefir your digestive system can take.
Warning Signs That You’re Drinking Too Much Kefir
As discussed, everybody reacts differently to superfoods such as kefir. Therefore, knowing when to stop or reduce your intake following your body’s warning signs is crucial.
A common side effect of consuming probiotic-rich foods is the adverse reaction of the gastrointestinal system. Kefir may cause side effects such as:
- Abdominal cramps
Your digestive system undergoes a change when you introduce probiotics into your diet. All the symptoms listed above subside within a week, but it’s recommended to reduce your kefir consumption until your body starts responding well to increased probiotics.
Drinking milk kefir can induce life-threatening allergic reactions if you are allergic to milk. However, non-dairy milk such as rice milk is safe for drinking, but it’s better to discuss with your doctor before adding kefir to your diet if you have food intolerances.
Studies have reported that kefir can help reduce the risk of diabetes, but the situation becomes inverse with fruit-flavored kefir that contains high levels of sugar. That’s why people with diabetes should read labels carefully to assess the sugar content in the kefir drink before they start consuming it.
Kefir should be avoided for patients undergoing cancer treatment or other treatments that subdue immunity. As the immune system in such patients is already compromised, microorganisms from kefir can cause adverse effects on the body in the form of infections and sepsis.
Why Should You Consume Kefir Anyway?
Kefir originates from parts of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. Its name is derived from the Turkish word “keyif,” which means “feeling good after eating.” Kefir has several health benefits, and 1 cup of low-fat kefir contains:
- Vitamin D: 12% of the daily value (DV)
- Calcium: 24% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 29% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
- Riboflavin (B12): 25% of the DV
- Magnesium: 7% of the DV
- Protein: 9 grams
In addition, kefir has 11.6 grams of carbs, 10 calories, and around 2-3 grams of fat, depending on the kind of milk used.
Kefir is a rich source of probiotics as it contains up to 61 different microorganisms, making it the most potent fermented dairy product. Certain probiotics, including Lactobacillus kefiri in kefir, protect against infections. Studies have shown that this probiotic can limit the growth and spread of various harmful bacteria.
Full-fat milk kefir contains high quantities of calcium and Vitamin K2, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and supplements with Vitamin K2 have shown to lower the chances of fractures by as much as 81%.
In addition to strengthening your bones, kefir is also believed to reduce cancer growth by boosting your immune system. Several test-tube studies have demonstrated that kefir extract effectively decreased human breast cancer cells by 56%. However, human studies are needed before reaching firm conclusions.
Wrapping It Up
Kefir is called a superfood for a good reason- it is packed with nutrients and probiotics that your body needs to function at its optimal level. Drinking an adequate amount of kefir every day will keep your immune system strong and improve your digestive system.
However, you must watch how your body reacts to kefir consumption and understand how much it can handle easily.
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