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Have You Tried: Kefir?

By , Dana Angelo White, Food Network’s Healthy Eats
A "cultured milk product" may sound foreign, but if you've ever eaten yogurt, you're closer to kefir than you thought. Find out what makes it just a little more special.

What Is Kefir?

Kefir has the mild tang of  yogurt, only with a thinner and more drinkable consistency. Plain is the traditional variety but its increasing popularity has caused manufacturers to produce flavors like cherry, strawberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pomegranate. Low-carb flavors are also available but are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.

Kefir is available in non-fat, low-fat and whole milk forms.  Brands such as Lifeway also offer frozen, scoop-able versions, with a texture similar to frozen yogurt. 

Healthy Attributes

One cup of low-fat, plain kefir has 110 calories, 2 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein. It’s comparable to milk in the calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D department but does contain more iron than milk – 30 percent of your daily needs per cup (milk has 1%).

Kefir is perhaps most well known for its digestion-promoting healthy bacteria known as probiotics. Regular ingestion of these "healthy bacteria" help to keep a balanced environment in the intestines, which can help with regularity.

Yogurt is also a good source of probiotics but kefir tends to have more per serving and its thinner consistency is often easier to digest.

Click here for 5 ways to love kefir from Food Network.

More from Food Network:Have you tried kefir?

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I can't live without kefir. It has been a key player in my weight loss strategy. I use the plain, organic, low fat variety with frozed blueberries and Raw protein powder. It's filling, super good for me and I feel great! Yay Kefir! Oh, and it doubles for sour cream when making dressings and dips. Report
Yes! I have it each morning in my smoothie! You can buy Kefir Grains and make your own as well, its quite simple and more economical! I use Strauss milk, its only lightly pasteurized and is not homogenized, it is organic and grass fed. Drop the kefir grains in and the next day you have kefir! Grains multiply and continue to be used! You can get grains on Amazon or through several different companies! Report
I tried Kefir in Moldova where they have it a lot and I thought it was terrible. I will never try it again. Report
Just moving into the raw milk kefir from one of the few certified raw local organic grass-fed dairies here. Not crazy about kefir plain so far -- but I'm not crazy about eating plain yogurt either. However, it's good with a drop or two of high-quality vanilla and makes a great ingredient (though heating too much does nullify the raw milk probiotic advantage). Haven't ventured into making it yet -- although I am encouraged by these postings! - Maryjean Report
We make our own kefir with grains. Report
I love kifer, but most of it available here is sweetened too much. I am intrigued with making it at home...will have to find some starter. Report
I have and I love it. Yummy Report
Never tried it, but Mehmet Oz recommends it highly!! Best source of a mustache is to drink it, he says!! Report
I get my kefir at Trader Joe's, it lasts a long time, and I love it for breakfast with some granola and fruit, I don't drink it though, it's more like having cereal with really thick milk. I use the plain and add the fruit myself and avoid the added sugar. Report
I want to to try it but haven't found it in the grocery store yet. Report
I've heard of it before but didn't know what it was! I'm not a fan of pourable yogurts but like the idea of this since it has higher proportion of protein and iron, two things I really need! I don't think I'll be able to buy this in the UK though since never seen it around. Report
I've never heard of this before. I wonder where I could buy some from... Report
Sure I had kefir, they sell it at the supermarkets here. But I keep wondering if it's not identical to Turkish Airan? (which I love! but I haven't been able to figure out the difference between them yet, if any) Report

I have been making my own for 2 1/2 years now. I use it to make after workout drinks with whey protein and chocolate syrup. I have shared my excess kefir grains with several people since they are self propagating. Report
Yummy!! Love it. I've never made my own, only drink the Lifeway product. Report
yuck - I tried homemade Kefir...it was thick. Report
I was going to get some one day at our local food co-op, but they didn't have it in stock. Report
Back in the 70's I tried drinking Kefir. I never acquired the taste for it and gave up trying. I would rather eat yogurt. Report
Never heard of it before today. Love learning about new stuff... Report
thanks for the article......I will have heard of it but have never tried it. This article has spurred me on. Report
I thought it was putrid, like drinking vomit! Report
I drank kefir when we stayed in the Soviet Union back in 1974 - loved it for breakfast! Also tvorag, a solid farmer cheese type of thing - smothered in smetana, sour cream. Mmmmm, the Russians know dairy! Report
havent tried it.. Report
LOVE kefir!! Husband started making kefir 11+ yrs ago &... here we are STILL drinking it. It has WAY more uses & qualities too. Remember how Cleopatra was rumored to bathe in milk? When you're making your own, it's a wonderful 'perk' to have enough on hand to use in your bath. Your skin will NEVER feel so soft or grateful to you if you do & it makes a lovely facial mask too!! You'll notice the beauty returning to your skin in no time!! Enjoy!! Report
I sometimes use it in smoothies Report
When I drink Kefir, I purchase the strawberry or blueberry flavors. They are tasty. Report
I love kefir!! I actually make my own kefir from farm fresh goat milk. I have never been healthier. I add one small banana, 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries and about 1 tablespoon of splenda to 8 -16oz of kefir(depending on how much I have in the fridge). I drink it everyday :-) Report
The first time I bought kefir I had no idea what it was. But it looked interesting, and it was on sale, so I got it. I've bought it many times since then because sometimes I would rather drink my yogurt than eat it with a spoon lol. Report
I first had Kefir in the 80s when I convinced my parents to buy it at the health food store for my birthday celebration instead of ice cream. Yay! Report
Never tried it but my brother said about my nephew when he was about four" He'd live on that stuff if we'd let him." LOL Report
Seen it but have not try it; may give it a shoot pretty soon!
Seen it in grocery stores, have never tried it. Report
I can't wait to try this. Thanks for the idea! Report
I'm going to look for this. Thanks for the idea! Report
never heard of it. Also seems to me too similar to spoilt milk YUCK. Report
I love it. I have some in my refrigerator right now. Report
I justed watched an eposide of Chopped on the Food Network last night and one of the ingredients was Kefir. I wanted to try it then and now, after reading this article, I will try it! Report
I've been using Kefir for 6months now. I use it in my Smoothies, great product. Report
Just today I bought myself kefir as a treat following some extended exercise--& a few minutes ago I entered it into my nutrition tracking. Actually the current version of Lifeway organic kefir, peach flavor, has NO iron. But the calorie count is lower than the amounts for this product entered into the shared SP nutrition database by many users previously: it's now only 140 cals for 8 oz.

Iron or no iron, it's delicious! Report
The Lifeway stuff is good. I tried making my own before with the "grains" (globby bits--sounds appealing, huh?) and it was just kind of. . . gross. The taste never grew on me. Maybe I was doing it wrong. Kombucha, however. . . tasty. Report
Oops. Double post. Report
I would love to try it. I eat a lot of yogurt. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Day and Week. Report
I am definitely going to try it. Report
Im going to have to try this out. I'm not very open minded =/ Report
I have a whole case of kefir from Costco in the fridge. My husband and I love it and have some almost every day. Report
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