Can you eat kefir grains?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat kefir grains?” with an in-depth analysis of kefir grains, the nutritional composition as well as the health benefits of kefir grains.
Read on to know some tips for eating kefir grains.
Can you eat kefir grains?
Yes, you can eat kefir grains. They can be consumed in a variety of ways providing a long list of health benefits.
What are kefir grains?
Kefir grains are a starter culture that is utilised to produce many diverse food products, including yoghurt, cheese and bread. The culture is used in the same way yeast is used and it should have a part of a previously established culture to produce more grains.
Unlike yeast-based products, kefir-based products are lactose-free and do not promote the growth of yeast, which can result in allergic reactions in some people. Kefir grains can be added to a number of tasty foods and can even be eaten as it is.
The nutritional composition of kefir grains
Kefir grains are mainly composed of proteins, lipids, polysaccharides and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. They consist of a very absorbable form of protein, insoluble fibre and live probiotic cultures and are a good source of vitamin B and calcium.
One 6-ounce serving of low-fat kefir provides:
- Calories: 100 Kcal
- Carbohydrates: 7 to 8 g
- Fat: 3 to 6 g, depending on the type of milk used.
- Protein: 4 g
- Calcium: 10% of the Required Daily Intake (RDI)
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 12% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 10% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 15% of the RDI
- A moderate amount of vitamin D
Kefir also consists of an extensive amount of bioactive compounds, including organic acids and peptides that provide major health benefits. For instance, they help people with serious digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
There are more than 1500 distinct peptides found in kefir grains, 609 of which are unique. Peptides are used by the body to increase muscle mass and bones. They are also used in the generation of collagen which benefits maintaining healthy skin and help in cell replication.
Lipids in kefir grains come from the fat component of the milk, the grains are fermenting. They are essential fatty acids that are used in signalling, storage of energy and transportation of vitamins to the cells in the body.
The polysaccharides found in milk are essentially composed of lactose, which is difficult for some to digest but the cultures in the kefir grains use this sugar for food and consequently break it down into simpler, more readily digested sugars.
As several microorganisms utilise these sugars the saccharide chains get shorter and shorter. The smallest form of sugar is a monosaccharide, which is the most easily digested form of sugar used by the cells for energy.
Bacteria and yeast
The bacteria and yeasts found in kefir are not harmful. They can sustain in the stomach and make the gut slightly acidic, thus helping to keep the gut healthy and strong.
Some ways to eat kefir grains
Add kefir grains to a smoothie
In a blender, mix 1/3 cup of strained kefir grains into 2/3 of a cup of your favourite juice and a half cup of low-fat yoghurt. Add one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Add more juice or yoghurt to either thin it out or to make it thicker.
Add freshly strained kefir grains to salad in place of yoghurt or milk
Use your dressing recipe or even a store-bought version and add a quarter cup of kefir grains, mixing until blended. Pour over fresh gourmet greens, seedless cucumber and baby tomatoes and enjoy the subtle flavour of kefir grains.
Mix kefir grains into eggs
Add a quarter cup of kefir grains to your favourite scrambled egg, egg salad or omelette recipe. Kefir grains can be used as an alternative for egg whites in ice creams, replacing the whites in part or whole.
Spread kefir cheese on your favourite whole grain bread, crackers or toast
Kefir cheese is quickly made by placing one cup of kefir grains into a strainer or a cloth bag. Place the strainer or bag over a container and let the liquid drain for a few hours or overnight. Mix the drained kefir with chives, herbs or spices and use it just like cream cheese.
You can also carry kefir with you for a healthy snack at lunch or between meals.
Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat kefir grains?” with an in-depth analysis of kefir grains, the nutritional composition and the health benefits of kefir grains as well as some ways to eat kefir grains.