What’s the Deal with Kefir?

Diet fad or real health benefits? Here’s all you need to know about kefir, the latest trend in the fitness community.

Kefir is a fermented milk product (cow, goat or sheep milk) that tastes like a drinkable yogurt.

Nutrition Facts

It contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics. Because it does not have a standardized nutrition content, the content values can vary based on the cows, cultures and region where it’s produced. Yet even with the range in values, kefir has superior nutrition.

One cup of store-bought whole milk kefir has about:

  • 160 calories
  • 12 grams carbohydrates
  • 10 grams protein
  • 8 grams fat
  • 300 milligrams calcium (30 percent DV)
  • 100 IU vitamin D (25 percent DV)
  • 500 IU vitamin A (10 percent DV)


It’s full of nutrition including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and magnesium. It has powerful antibacterial properties. The calcium in it improves bone health which can also help protect against osteoporosis. Also, compared to regular milk, it contains a lot less lactose. That means that those of you with issues with lactose may be able to digest this a lot better.  

In addition, it contains plenty of probiotics, which is where many of the kefir benefits come from. It is one of the highest probiotic foods you can eat with several important probiotic strains, and homemade kefir far outranks any store-bought variety. 

Beneficial bacteria and yeasts may include the following: Kluyveromyces marxianus/Candida kefyr, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Kazachstania unispora, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. and Saccaromyces unisporus.

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