By Florencia Tagliavini, the NutraMilk Nutritionist.
Almond milk kefir is a great probiotic that you can easily make at home using the NutraMilk.
Even though almond milk is widely available in supermarkets, many contain contain additives, thickeners, and artificial vitamins and minerals plus they have been pasteurized which can make the culturing process much more complicated. Not to mention that homemade almond milk is creamier, more delicious and naturally more nutritious.
What is kefir?
Kefir is a fermented cultured beverage with powerful health benefits that has been around for centuries. It is a probiotic containing a wide variety of beneficial yeast and bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut.
For information about probiotics, check out my previous article: Probiotics to stay healthy.
Kefir contains over 40 strains of bacteria, which is more than yogurt. It also contains a wide variety of yeasts which yogurt does not contain. The rich diversity of microorganisms in kefir makes it a very potent probiotic that can colonize the intestinal tract creating a healthy and balanced eco system. Benefits associated with regular kefir consumption include its ability to boost your immune system, build bone density, fight cancer, improve digestion, fight IBS and IBD, improve allergies, boost skin health, and improve lactose intolerance symptoms.
Made from kefir grains or starter culture
Kefir is made from powdered kefir starter culture or from kefir grains which are not grains but are called this way because they are small and numerous, like grains of sand. They are translucent, whitish in color and have gelatinous texture that resemble tiny pieces of cauliflower florets.
The grains are a more probiotic-rich culture and are meant for making continuous batches and to use indefinitely but they do require a little care and maintenance. The powdered culture is a prepared combination of bacteria and yeast made in a laboratory and are meant for single use which requires no maintenance. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both kefir grains and a powdered kefir starter culture, which one you decide to use to make kefir ultimately depends on your individual preferences.
There are two types of kefir:
Milk kefir: Can be made from regular dairy, which is called ¨Milk Kefir¨ and is the traditional method of making kefir.
But you are not just restricted to dairy milks. You can also make non-dairy kefir from nut milks such as soy, cashew, pistachio, and most popular of all, almond milk.
ALMOND MILK KEFIR:
Making kefir from almond milk has an extra perk! Almonds are a source of prebiotic which is basically food for the beneficial bacteria. When it comes to gut health it is important to colonize the gut with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) which then have to be properly maintained (with prebiotics). Foods that combine both probiotics and prebiotics are called ¨symbiotics¨, they work together synergistically to create and maintain a healthy gut flora and therefore a healthy you. Almond milk kefir is a great example of a symbiotic.
Water kefir: Is made with sugar water, fruit juice, or coconut water. The process is the same as the milk kefir and you can either use water kefir grains or a powdered culture starter. The composition of bacteria and yeast varies but its is another great probiotic-rich beverage.
How to make almond milk kefir:
Check out this website that has good instructions and pretty much any information you can think of when it comes to kefir: