(NaturalNews) Probiotics are living microorganisms that have been found to provide many health benefits. Benefits include boosting immunity, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, preventing colon cancer, preventing irritable bowel syndrome and colitis, and reducing inflammation. Although yogurt is usually the first probiotic food to come to mind, water kefir is an excellent, dairy-free way to get in more probiotics without much expense. In fact, water kefir is one of the top ten dairy-free probiotics available today.
What is Water Kefir?
Kefir water is made using special water kefir grains through a simple fermentation process. The resulting liquid is slightly fizzy, similar to soda pop. Many people are able to finally break free from the soda habit by replacing it with water kefir and getting the added benefits of probiotics!
Kefir grains are actually a combination of yeasts and healthful bacteria drawn together in a mixture of lipids, proteins, and sugars. Water kefir grains look like gelatinous crystals. They grow easily in juice or other naturally sweetened liquids. You can find these grains online or from a local health food store. The grains will last indefinitely if they are used regularly.
How to Make Water Kefir
To prepare simple water kefir, dissolve half a cup of organic cane sugar in about one quart of mineral water inside a glass container, stirring it until dissolved. Add your kefir grains and stir gently. You can then add flavoring like fresh ginger, vanilla or lemon juice. You can also use a mixture of two cups of organic fruit juice and two cups of water instead. If you use fruit juice, ferment the kefir for no more than 24 hours, as juice ferments very quickly and may become alcoholic.
Place a cloth or lid over the container, but do not make it airtight. Allow the kefir to ferment for 24 to 72 hours in a dark area at room temperature (65 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The longer it ferments, the stronger the taste will be and the more probiotics it will contain. After fermenting, strain the liquid into another glass container. The kefir water is now ready to drink. Use the grains immediately for a new batch of water kefir, or store them in water with one-quarter cup of organic sugar for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.html
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