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What is Kefir?

You’ve likely seen it on the yogurt shelf. You’ve heard it’s rich in probiotics. But what actually is kefir? And more importantly, why would you want to drink it?

Kefir is a mild, fermented milk drink similar to yogurt. It’s made from two simple ingredients: milk and cultures. Humans have been making and drinking kefir for nearly 2000 years, and it has long been considered a powerful health food.

Redwood Hill Farm has been on the kefir train since 1970 (cue disco lights and soul music) and we still believe it’s one of the grooviest functional foods out there. Kefir is teeming with probiotics and packed with essential nutrients like protein, B vitamins, and calcium. Plus it’s delicious and extremely versatile in all sorts of dishes. What’s more, when you make kefir with goat’s milk, these benefits only get better.

Probiotic Superhero

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria living inside our gut. These helpful little microorganisms contribute to numerous bodily functions and according to Healthline, “play an integral role in almost every aspect of health, from cancer prevention to immune function and beyond.” (Healthline).

Here’s how it works. Probiotics promote the growth of good bacteria inside of your intestinal tract. These good-guy microbes replace any bad-guy pathogens that exist inside your gut and help to fend off any new bad actors from taking hold. Eating probiotic food keeps the positive bacteria population healthy and strong, therefore supporting good digestive health and a strong immune system.[2]

In addition to helping with immune and digestive health, recent research suggests that eating probiotic-rich food can effectively treat vaginal and urinary tract infections, suppress anti-inflammatory responses, and even delay the development of allergies in children (Harvard Health).

Our goat milk kefir is made with 11 live and active cultures, hand selected for their contributions to flavor, texture, and health properties. Each 8oz serving of our kefir contains 580 billion probiotics. So super.

It’s Better with (Goat) Milk.

More and more the value of probiotics is entering the mainstream and with it a flood of new probiotic products. What sets kefir apart from supplements or plant-based “yogurt” drinks is the dual benefit of powerful probiotics and all the nutrients of milk. Milk-based kefir “is nutrient-dense, with plenty of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium. Calcium helps to build strong bones, protein builds strong muscles, and potassium is essential for heart health”(Healthline).

The benefits of kefir only get better when it’s made with goat milk. The most widely consumed milk in the world, goat milk contains 18% more calcium, 43% more potassium, 40% more magnesium, and 104% more Vitamin A than whole cow’s milk.[1] Plus, many find goat milk easier to digest and gentler on the stomach due to its unique makeup of A2 protein and shorter-chain fat molecules.

What’s more, Goat milk contains probiotics’ super sidekick, prebiotics. According to nutritionist Tamara Duker Freidman, “goat’s milk contains unique compounds that offer even more promise for gut health: “prebiotic” carbohydrates that nourish the beneficial bacteria living in our guts, helping to cultivate a diverse and thriving inner ecosystem. The type of prebiotics that goat dairy contains…are the same types of sugars found in human breastmilk that are responsible for many of its benefits on infant health. You won’t find them in cow milk dairy or plant-based milks” (Go for the Goat: The “Other” White Milk).

A Versatile Fridge Staple

Kefir is best known as a breakfast food—and for good reason. Many claim that a cold glass of this smooth and creamy yogurt drink is the best way to start a day. It’s the perfect protein-and-vitamin-filled base of any smoothie recipe (check out our favorite Go Green Smoothie) and it’s a more probiotically-potent option than yogurt in your granola bowl.

What you may not know is that kefir is also a highly versatile ingredient, great in sauces, dips and baked goods. Similar to yogurt, but with the extra bonus of more probiotics and a little more tang, kefir is a great base for creamy dips (like this Avocado Kefir Ranch Dip) or as a cooling sauce on spicy dishes, grilled meats or veggies (such as this 5 minute Harissa Kefir Sauce). Not only killer in savory cuisine, kefir is an easy swap into many baked goods. Swap with buttermilk for the fluffiest Blueberry Pancakes you’ve ever had or try something new with these super moist Kefir Chai-Spiced Muffins.

I just discovered your amazing goat milk kefir and must have it daily for health reasons. I am HOOKED! My two cats love your yogurt, too (we share).”

A Kid-Friendly Food

Oh, the joys of trying to get our kids to eat healthy food. Parents will be happy to hear that kefir ranks next to peanut butter as a health food the littles actually like! Many littles will even drink it straight out of the bottle (hello, adorable kefir-stache.)

If some sweet enticement is required, kefir is delicious in a fruit-filled smoothie—which can also be easily transformed into a “special-treat” popsicle. However it goes down, mom and dad can check one in the win column that the kiddo is getting their daily dose of calcium, protein, and potassium, plus pre- and probiotics. Whatsmore, our Goat Milk kefir can be the perfect source for these nutrients for the 7% of U.S. children who are allergic to cow’s milk.[3] So let’s see those kefir-staches kids!

[1] Nutrient content of milk varieties per 100g compiled from the USDA Nutrient Database.
[2]
Caldwell, Gianaclis. Homemade Yogurt & Kefir: 71 Recipes for Making & Using Probiotic-Rich Ferments Storey Publishing, LLC, May 12, 2020.
[3]
Park, Young W. and George F.W. Haenlein. Handbook of Non-Bovine Mammals, Blackwell Publishing, 2006.