Can Kefir Help To Reduce IBS-Related Symptoms?
Yogurt has long been considered a healthy food with its numerous benefits such as gut-friendly bacteria. However, there is another milk-based product that has become the latest craze in the diet and nutrition industry. This product is kefir. Kefir has been around for thousands of years, but in recent years, it has taken center stage as a milk drink that can alleviate many health conditions like symptoms related to IBS.
What Is Kefir?
As mentioned, kefir is comparable to yogurt in that it is a fermented food. This simply means that the process to prepare it involves preserving and cultivating healthy bacteria, otherwise known as probiotic microorganisms.
On the other hand, kefir is different from yogurt because it contains a plethora of yeasts and probiotic bacteria. This is in contrast to yogurt because yogurt does not contain any yeast and has a lower amount of probiotics.
Because it has a liquid consistency, unlike yogurt, kefir is often consumed as a milk drink.
It does have a taste similar to yogurt. Kefir is pleasant tasting, but slightly tart.
Kefir is generally prepared using cow milk, goat milk or sheep milk. However, it can also be prepared by using milk alternatives such as soy milk, rice milk and coconut milk.
The process of fermentation begins when the kefir grains are combined with the milk. A kefir grain is not a true grain like a wheat grain, but instead is a culture that contains yeast and bacteria. As the fermentation process continues, the kefir grains multiply. The liquid is then strained and the same kefir grains can be used to start the fermentation process again.
Although it was originally used a method to keep milk fresh, it includes probiotics that can help prevent and also manage different types of digestive issues such as:
– Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
– Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Are There Health Benefits To Drinking Kefir?
It is no surprise that kefir is enjoying popularity among health enthusiasts. It is a fermented product from ancient civilizations that offers benefits that can be verified by modern science.
Kefir has a microbial make-up that is varied and rich in gut healthy bacteria, and the benefits these bacteria provide can be seen in those who drink kefir on a regular basis.
Furthermore, additional scientific research has been increasing on the health-improving effects of kefir. It is believed that kefir specifically:
– Is a great source of several important vitamins, minerals and amino acids
– Acts as anti-inflammatory in the body
– Prevents the growth of bad bacteria
– Encourages healing
– Can help to lower cholesterol
– Supports the immune system
– May help to reduce or prevent the growth of some cancers
– Promotes digestive health
– Encourages healing of peptic ulcers
What Is IBS?
IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, has become one of the most common digestive complaints among patients. Statistics have shown that around 8% of those who are diagnosed with IBS in the United States live in urban populations.
The most common symptom of IBS is stomach pain that is caused by too little movement in the bowels, or too much movement in the bowels (constipation or diarrhea).
Even though IBS is not considered to be a life-threatening health condition, it can certainly impact a person’s day-to-day routine. For example, it can affect a person’s ability to remain employed by forcing them to take off because they are not feeling well.
Besides abdominal discomfort, some people with IBS may also deal with stomach cramping, bloating and abdominal distension. If you are dealing with these symptoms, it is important that you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations to eliminate or alleviate your main symptoms.
Once you have done that, you may decide to start consuming kefir to alleviate secondary problems that are IBS-related. Kefir works to reduce IBS by encouraging healing of the issues that are causing the complaints.
Despite what many people think, you can safely consume kefir even if you are lactose intolerant because kefir milk can help to heal the digestive system. For those who do not have a lactose intolerance, they also have the option of consuming water kefir in order to replenish the healthy bacteria in the gut.
The good news is that many of the problems associated with IBS can be eliminated and the intestines can be healed by regularly drinking kefir.
How To Prevent And Reduce IBS Symptoms?
The best way to dramatically decrease or even eliminate the occurrence of IBS symptoms is to avoid eating the wrong types of foods. If you have IBS, you should avoid:
– Frozen food meals
– Fried foods
– Fast food
– Other processed foods
Instead, fill your diet with plenty of gut-friendly foods such as fruits, vegetables and fermented foods like kimchi, kefir and kombucha.
IBS currently does not have a cure. However, you can manage your symptoms and lead a more fulfilling life by managing your diet and drinking kefir on a regular basis.