Many Americans have never had Kefir. It is very common in Slavic countries, like the Czech Republic or Russia. Some Americans don't like the taste at first. It is stronger in taste than Yogurt. But like beer it becomes a very pleasant beverage; after a few tries it becomes a real pleasure. It is similar to Buttermilk.
Kefir contain different types of beneficial bacteria than Yogurt. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But it is only temporary. One needs to eat it on a regular basis to have the full effects. But Kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.
Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.
It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefr and Torula kefr, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites. Your immune system is tied to your intestines, in ways science is still discovering, so keeping it healthy is smart.
Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.
Kefir contains the following beneficial bacteria:
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
Lactococcus lactis subsp. diacetylactis
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Lactobacillus kefyr (thermophilic)
Klyveromyces marxianus var. marxianus
Kefir can be bought in many stores today. Make sure it is live culture. Whole Foods should carry it.
It is easy to make once you have Kefir "Grains". Kefir "Grains" are the source of the fermentation of the milk, like yeast for bread. Because there is no heating necessary, it ferments at room temperature, it is easy to make. Where do you get Kefir "Grains"? I don't know. :)
But people are doing it all over Youtube: