Kefir is a fermented dairy product made with kefir “grains”, a symbiotic fermentation starter culture including yeast and bacteria. The fermentation process creates a tangy, sometimes effervescent product that may be slightly thicker than cream or like a thin yogurt.
Kefir may improve lactose digestion in lactose-sensitive individuals. Additionally, kefir typically contains a large variety of probiotic bacteria which can improve the overall health of the gut microbiome. Kefir has been used to treat gastrointestinal issues brought on by antibiotic use. The wide variety of microorganisms can also improve innate immunity by exposing the body to these microorganisms, stimulating an immune response. See: Probiotics.
While usually made of milk, kefir grains also work in non-dairy milks and sugary liquids such as fruit juice and coconut water.
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Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Keefir, milk kefir