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Dr Russ Blog - Kefir - What's That?
Kefir - What's That?
Created on 7/10/2014

When next you walk the dairy aisles take a look at a bottle of kefir.

Ke- what?

Kefir has a long history of being a traditional beverage in certain parts of the world, typically made by fermenting select bacteria and yeasts in milk.

Here in the U.S., kefir resembles a drinkable yogurt.

Which generally means that kefir tastes GOOD.

In addition, because kefir contains probiotics, it can be good for you.

Probiotics are microbes, such as specific bacteria and even fungi, that when ingested on a regular basis can support optimal health beyond basic nutrition.

For example, research suggests that kefir can help relieve symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as gas, cramps and bloating.

In addition, you may have heard about a "bad" bacterium called C diff, short for Clostridium difficile, which can cause a very challenging illness that primarily affects the digestive tract. It can cause fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The infection can become severe and life-threatening.

C diff can be very hard to treat.

One recent small study, however, found that treatment for C diff infection was more successful when kefir was added to antibiotic therapy.

A few words of caution:

- many kefir products are loaded with sugar, so be sure to read product labels carefully and choose low sugar varieties, or buy the plain version and add your own fruit or flavorings

- people whose immune systems are compromised (meaning they are more likely to come down with infections and may not be able to fight off the infections as they normally would) may have reason to avoid the organisms found in kefir - those with significant illness should ask their doctors first

Most people enjoy yogurt. What if there were a smooth version that could be gulped down like a shake or smoothie?

There is - it's called kefir, and you can find it in the dairy aisle. I enjoy it, and you might, too.

Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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