Creamy, tangy, and refreshing, kefir is one of the few superfoods that’s equal parts delicious and nutritious.
It has also been tied to a number of health benefits, thanks to both its nutritional value and probiotic content.
However, drinking too much can cause several side effects. As a result, some people may need to limit their intake or even eliminate kefir from their diet altogether.
This article explores a few of the possible side effects of kefir and discusses how much you should drink.
Are you enjoying a glass or two of kefir every day? Or, do you prefer just to drink some occasionally? Although some people prefer to drink kefir daily, others only drink it occasionally. However, suppose you are wondering about the amount of kefir you should be consuming to benefit from the probiotics. In that case, hopefully, the following information will answer many of your questions, which is the best kefir for probiotics?
When it comes to the various benefits that kefir provides, it is more than most people imagine. The drink is made from cow, sheep, goat, non-dairy milk, or water and, once it becomes fermented, it offers many potential wins for your overall health and well-being.
Kefir Is A Natural Food, Highly Nutritious And Soothing
Many people think of kefir as medicine and want to know the correct dosage for optimal health. I’ve heard back from many people over the years telling me how much kefir has helped them, so even though it has healing properties, and it’s still a portion of food. A portion of natural food with no manufactured ingredients, extra sugar, fake sugars, or MSG’s can trick your body. Your body is quite capable of knowing how much is right for you if you listen.
You know what it is like to crave one, but usually no more than one if you like bananas. That 2nd banana just feels too much. Kefir is like that.
If you crave kefir like you would a cup full of yogurt or your favourite natural fruit, you are on the right track.
If you look at the jar of kefir and cringe like it’s some horrible medicine that you have to endure, then something is not right. Either the kefir is not balanced right, or you are drinking too much for your body.
For some people, it may come as a shock, but kefir should always be pleasant even to people not used to drinking kefir. If it’s not pleasant, then it is not optimally balanced, or it is over-fermented. I’ve seen very picky young kids drink well-balanced kefir for the first time, and they love it. That’s how it should be when done right. Unfortunately, some people want to ferment over to squeeze as many health benefits out of it. I believe it should be enjoyable first, which will ultimately give you the greatest health benefit overall.
What Is Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented drink that has been associated with several powerful health benefits.
Traditionally, it’s made by adding kefir grains, which are a mix of beneficial bacteria and yeast, to cow’s milk or goat’s milk. The process results in a tangy drink with a creamy, yogurt-like texture.
However, you can also add kefir grains to sugar water to make water kefir, which is a tart and tangy beverage similar to kombucha.
Both milk kefir and water kefir are rich in probiotics, a type of bacteria found in your gut that can support healthy digestion, immune function, heart health, and more . What’s more, milk kefir contains several key nutrients, including protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.
How To Start Drinking Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented beverage full of probiotics and other healthy ingredients. In addition, it contains a considerable amount of bacteria and yeast, which affects the gut flora greatly. This is the reason you should be mindful when you integrate kefir into your diet.
As mentioned, kefir is a fermented drink that contains healthy ingredients such as probiotics. The bacteria and yeasts in the kefir grains affect gut health, and this is one of the reasons why you will need to pay attention to certain factors once you start integrating kefir into your nutrition plan.
If this is your first time drinking kefir, you should begin by drinking no more than 100 mL of the drink each day. Most people begin to feel the changes almost immediately. The rate at which you notice changes will depend on your sensitivity to the drink and your diet before consuming kefir.
Start your dose of kefir gradually by drinking not more than 100 ml of kefir a day. Probably you will feel the effects of kefir quickly. It depends on how sensitive you are and what is your nutrition like until starting with kefir. After that, reactions can be huge, and they can become more intense until your body adapts.
If you have no experience with consuming live food, the effects will probably be more obvious. You should not stop drinking kefir if the effects aren’t too overbearing. If you don’t manage to overcome them, stop drinking kefir and get medical advice. It is possible that kefir is not for you.
Exactly How Much Kefir Should You Drink?
Kefir is a fermented drink that is full of healthy bacteria. This can improve overall gut health in otherwise healthy individuals. However, for individuals who aren’t healthy and already have a compromised immune system, this can pose a risk. Therefore, even those who are healthy should start out drinking kefir gradually. That way, they can build up the levels of healthy bacteria in their gut without upsetting the balance.
The amount you should be drinking will vary from person to person. You want to try to take in a small amount to see how it impacts you and your digestive system. From there, you can figure out whether or not your body is capable of handling more quantities. If you start to experience any of the side effects like stomach cramping, abdominal pain or bloating, you will want to slow down.
Typically, you can begin to drink around 1 cup of kefir daily once your body has become accustomed to it. Once you have shown the ability to be able to digest kefir properly, you can introduce it into your diet daily. If you are sensitive or allergic to dairy products, you might want to get kefir in non-dairy beverages. Either make kefir on your own or buy pre-made kefir juices. This can give you some of the benefits of kefir beverages without having to ingest any dairy despite a lot of the kefir beverages made with dairy having little to no lactose due to the process of fermentation.
You can end up drinking too much kefir. Therefore, you shouldn’t go too overboard with your intake. Instead, stick to around a cup or less per day. Drinking too much can end up causing potential side effects to ramp up. Therefore, it is best to avoid drinking too much to experience the benefits it has to offer.
The challenge for most people who want to drink kefir is not the fermentation process but the finished product’s taste. The texture can be slightly lumpy, and it has a distinctive sour taste.
The fermentation occurs when kefir grains are added to the milk. These kefir grains are small colonies of lactic acid and yeast, and they have a gel-like appearance. After 24 hours has passed, the microorganisms begin to ferment and multiply the lactose into lactic acid.
Once your gut is repopulated with good bacteria, you will not feel the uncomfortable symptoms anymore. You will begin to notice more energy, clearer skin and increased immunity. Go ahead and drink as much as you would like. The road to good health is paved with good gut health!
Warning Signs That You May Be Drinking Too Much
Most people generally do not have any negative symptoms when drinking kefir. But it is fairly common to have minor symptoms when starting out, especially if you have sensitive digestion. I was in that category when starting out.
The most common symptom of drinking kefir is bloating, gas or some kind of stomach discomfort that’s temporary. Kefir typically has a peristalsis effect that causes digestive movement. However, sometimes, especially if you drink too much, the acids can slow down digestive movement. The result can be more bloating or gas starting out until your body adapts. It should be minor discomfort. If it’s significant, stop or cut way back until you feel better and then slowly increase from there if it feels right to you.
If you get a significant reaction from drinking kefir, you may be reacting to the yeasts, lactose, probiotics or acids within the kefir.
Yeast gets a bad name sometimes, but it can be as much a probiotic as the bacteria. Kefir is not just yeast, and it’s a healthy balance between bacteria and yeast. For some people, that balance helps people with yeast issues, as we have heard back from people. However, everyone is different, and some people have trouble tolerating even small amounts of yeast. We’ve known people with yeast issues that report back that kefir helps them, but everyone is different.
Kefir does have lactose, but it’s usually less than yogurt. So if you can handle yogurt okay, you should be fine with kefir.
Sometimes the probiotics themselves are causing issues. For example, if you have significant gut lining issues or a bad case of leaky gut, then the bacteria and yeast might get through the lining. At that point, it doesn’t matter to the body then it’s considered good bacteria; the body will still react to any bacteria or yeast that gets through the lining. So it’s usually more than just bloating or stomach discomfort; it’s more of a feeling of unwell, sick or inflamed.
If you know or are highly suspect leaky gut, then we recommend healing the gut at least to some degree before drinking too much kefir.
It’s possible you have to limit your kefir intake if you experience more serious side effects. This happens when you have some health conditions that recommend consuming fewer proteins, probiotics, acidic food etc. You should always seek advice from your doctor when you feel discomfort. You should find your own limit where you feel good and stick to it. Whether it is less or more than 1 cup depends on you.
Once you get used to drinking kefir, you will not feel the uncomfortable symptoms anymore. This should happen in approximately two weeks when you will be starting to feel the positive benefits of kefir. But note, for the best result you should drink kefir every day.
It May is not suitable for certain people.
If you have any conditions that affect your immune system, you should talk with a healthcare professional before adding probiotic-rich foods like kefir to your diet.
While research generally suggests that these ingredients are likely safe for people with autoimmune conditions, some case reports have linked probiotic use to serious side effects, such as an increased risk of infection.
Although rare, probiotics have also been associated with issues like sepsis, which is a potentially life-threatening complication of infection. Still, more research is needed to determine how kefir specifically may affect those with autoimmune disorders.
The amount of kefir you should drink ultimately depends on the individual. Kefir is a naturally nutritious food, so it’s okay to trust yourself to know how much to drink. Just like eating one banana usually sounds great, but that 2nd banana usually does not for most people. Kefir is like that; you will crave it in small quantities, typically around 1 cup per day. The average is around 1/2 cup to 2 cups per day. Water kefir is milder, so people tend to drink a little more each day.
Kefir is a soothing nutritious food and not primarily a detox food. So if you have significant symptoms, it may be something you are sensitive to. It’s recommended to cut way back and then slowly increase only if it feels good to you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kefir
How many probiotics are in a glass of kefir?
Naturally fermented foods, like kefir, aged cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and soy products such as miso, have probiotic cultures. For example, each 8oz serving of drinkable Lifeway Kefir has 12 live and active cultures with 25-30 billion CFUs.
How long does it take for kefir to start working?
The effects of kefir are not always immediate, and drinking one glass of kefir will not solve your problems. Studies show that kefir can improve health when people drink it regularly (usually daily for 2–4 weeks). However, many online claims remain unfounded.
How many billion probiotics are in kefir?
Yogurt contains about 50 million CFUs of probiotics, but the kefir plant contains up to 10 billion CFUs.
When should I take kefir probiotic?
With that said, many people recommend that you drink it at the start of the day. If you’re not a fan of breakfast, you could even drink kefir before you have your first meal of the day. If you do that, you’ll likely have better digestive health throughout the day.