November 12, 2016 10:00 am
Superfood, a marketing term used to describe foods rich in compounds -such as antioxidants, fibre, or fatty acids- considered beneficial to a person’s health, is becoming a commonly used term in the world we live today, especially for fitness and health lovers. We found this inspiring, hence our Food Term of the Week is dedicated to one of this so-called superfoods: kefir.
If you haven’t heard of kefir before, now is your opportunity to learn more. It is a fermented milk drink whose origins date back many centuries ago in the north of the Caucasus Mountains. It was first used by shepherds who discovered that by carrying fresh milk in their leather pouches it would eventually ferment into an effervescent, carbonated beverage. Today’s recipe is basically prepared by inoculating cow, goat or sheep milk with kefir grains, which resemble small cauliflowers at the size of wheat kernels but are actually a combination of beneficial yeast and bacteria.
Because of its origins in the Caucasus Mountains, kefir is commonly consumed in the surrounding countries like Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria, but also in Poland or Greece. And even though there are many myths and legends about this delicious drink, one certain thing is that the word “keyif” –kefir in Turkish language- literally means joy, pleasure or delight, probably because of its many probiotic qualities. This have also made it amazingly popular in Europe and America, particularly among people caring a lot about food and eating habits -also known as foodies– wanting to add kefir in their diet.
Among its many benefits, kefir has been long believed to promote a longer life as well as increase overall health. In fact, because of the traditional culture and folklore, many scientific studies researching about the veracity of its properties have been carried out recently. They have proved that taking a daily dose of kefir is, indeed, an excellent source of vitamins for the human body: the cocktail of probiotics, micro and macronutrients, and minerals make it a very powerful super food.
So far, it may seem that kefir is very similar to yogurt, but they are not exactly the same. There are several differences between them, such as the cooking procedure, the types of bacteria they contain, and their flavour and consistency. Taking the latter as an example, kefir has a thinner consistency since is usually sold as a beverage. Furthermore, both yogurt and kefir contain lots of probiotics, but kefir contains three times the amount of “good bacteria” than yogurt.
Last but not least, kefir can be served in many ways: you can either find it as cream cheese, use it as a salad dressing, drink it as a milky beverage, pour it over cereals, muesli or granola or even using as a staple ingredient to make a fruit milkshake or a smoothie. It will be up to you to take it in the ancient style or follow the current trends, covering it with different toppings, and then having as a result an excellent and super-healthy meal for your mornings or afternoons.
Written by Ana Jiménez Morente
Content Editor. Communication Trainee, DG TRAD – Terminology Coordination Unit
- Coproweb. 2016. Kefir’s History. Available at: http://coproweb.free.fr/kefiranglais.htm. [Accessed 10 November 2016].
- Difference Between Kefir And Yogurt | Kefir Vs. Yogurt – Which Is Better?. 2016. Available at: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/milk-kefir/difference-between-kefir-yogurt/. [Accessed 10 November 2016]
- Kefir Kitchen. 2016. Guide for homemade kefir. Available at: http://kefirkitchen.com/. [Accessed 10 November 2016].
- Merriam Webster. 2016. Superfood | Definition. Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/superfood. [Accessed 10 November 2016]
- Kefir – Russiapedia Of Russian origin. 2016. Kefir. Available at: http://russiapedia.rt.com/of-russian-origin/kefir/. [Accessed 10 November 2016].
- The Globe and Mail. 2016. What’s the difference between yogurt and kefir? Available at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/whats-the-difference-between-yogurt-and-kefir/article7904569/. [Accessed 10 November 2016].
- The Walking Encyclopedia. 2016. Kefir | The Walking Encyclopedia. Available at: http://www.thewalkingencyclopedia.com/kefir/. [Accessed 10 November 2016].
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