Kefir- functional-food

About Kefir Grains and Kefir; their History, Use, Extended Use, and Health Benefits of These

Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage which originated in the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, believed to date back at least 1,000 years. The tribes-folk of this particular region who possibly developed kefir by shear accident consumed the nutritious beverage in large quantities. These people were renowned for longevity, living long, healthy lives with little to no known disease. An active life span of over one hundred years was common for folks living in the region where kefir was cultured and liberally consumed as part of a staple diet.

Kefir has a uniform, slightly creamy consistency, a sour refreshing flavour, with a slight subtle aroma of fresh yeast [or a very subtle beer-like aroma]. Kefir also has a slightest hint of a natural effervescent zesty tang. There is an assortment of some 40 aromatic compounds contributing to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir. Rounding this off, kefir contains between 0.08% to 2% alcohol. However, about .08 to .1% alcohol is a realistic figure for 1-day cultured kefir. Whereas kefir stored for a number of days after separating the natural mother-culture, kefir grains [see following], contained up to 2% alcohol, and possibly 3% alcohol, depending on the type of milk and ripening conditions.

Traditional, authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains. Note that Kefir grains should not be mistaken for cereal grains. The natural mother-culture is referred to as grains due to its granular structure and appearance. This is to say that the grain part of the name can be considered as a misnomer. Kefir grains, or kefir granules if you wish, are in fact a natural-starter. The biological structure or each grain [which I feel can be referred to as a bio-matrix] is created through a dynamic association symbiosis between a vast mixture of friendly Lactic acid bacteria [LAB], vinegar-producing bacteria and yeasts strains.

A batch of kefir grains consist of many individual white to bone-coloured mostly self-enclosed bodies made up of a soft, gelatinous biological mass somewhat resembling cooked cauliflower rosettes. The complexity of the kefir grain is a mixture of protein, amino acids, lipids [fats] and soluble-polysaccharides. Kefiran a unique polysaccharide with many health-promoting virtues, is the major polysaccharide of kefir grains and is also found in kefir. The bacteria and yeasts not only create the bio-matrix structure, or the grains, the organisms are also harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding on the surface, and encapsulated within the grain itself <[The abode of the friendly microbe]>

Traditional kefir [real authentic kefir] is easily prepared at home, just as it has been for many centuries by the ancients of the Caucasus Mountains. Fresh, non-pasteurised or pasteurised full-cream, low fat or non-fat milk is put in a clean suitable container with the addition of a smaller portion of kefir grains. The content is left at room temperature for about 24 hours. The resulting developed cultured-milk is strained in order to separate, and retrieve the kefir grains from the liquid-kefir. The grains are added to more fresh milk to repeat the simple process for the next batch. This procedure can be performed on an indefinite basis... for kefir grains last forever.

Strained liquid-kefir may either be consumed fresh, refrigerated for later use, or ripened at room temperature over a period of days. The ripening process is not only useful for individuals who wish to reduce lactose in their kefir, it is important to increase some b group vitamins [For details explaining the simple procedure of ripening, please follow this link situated at Dom's kefir making web page]. Ripening improves overall flavour, while increasing vitamins B1, B6 including vitamin B9 or folic acid, and carbon dioxide including alcohol also increase.

Kefir grains increase in overall volume, numbers of, and by weight, as the grains are self-perpetuating when continually cultured in fresh milk to prepare kefir [biomass increase]. Because of this, the need to prevent overcrowding of kefir grains, and in order to maintain a reasonable constant grain-to-milk ratio it becomes essential to remove a portion of kefir grains from the batch. Apart from the advantage in preventing overcrowding of grains to avoid over fermentation, the other advantage is to produce a kefir with a reasonable constant character and consistency on an ongoing basis. Traditionally, excess or spare kefir grains were either eaten [which I highly recommend], dehydrated and stored as a back-up source, shared among family members, or traded among the tribes-folk of Caucasus, in exchange for other basic essentials.

Except for refrigeration, the culture-art of kefir has been practiced for many centuries by the tribes-folk of Caucasus. In fact, this is the very reason why kefir came about, for the preservation of milk over extensive periods, without refrigeration, for there were no means for refrigeration back then.


This is why folks of yesteryear cultured a wide range of fresh food produce, to extend the keeping quality of food grown in larger quantity. It is only in recent time that we learned the fuller extent regarding how such culture food-products give the consumer extra health benefit such as protection against disease, other than good nutrition. For this reason, most if not all naturally cultured foods can be classified as functional-food.

As an end note to this section, each and every batch of kefir grains in existence today, trace back to a region of the Caucasus Mountains-- all kefir grains found anywhere today, originate from that place and are the children of the very first natural mother-culture that mysteriously developed in a particular region of the Caucasus Mountains.

The original term used for kefir grains and kefir by the tribes-folk of Caucasus. The Grains of The Prophet Mohamed. The Drink of the Prophet respectfully. Alternate names for milk kefir-grains today: Tibetan Mushrooms or tara, yogurt plant, yogurt mushroom. Yogurt Fungus or Snow Lotus [China, Asia], Kin-okoor yogoot-tane-oko [Japan]. Tibetanischer Pilz [German]. Galodium [Romania or Polish?]. kefyras [Lithuanian]. Julia in USA named a batch of kefir grains which she procured from me here in Australia, Great Whites of Oz. Other names Herbert [Nhem, South Australia] et al [And Others].

For full details explaining how to culture or prepare Kefir, please see Dom's Kefir-making in-site

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Three bananas every day - for disease prevention

20 Reasons To Eat 3 Bananas Per Day - And No They Won't Make You Fat

 From preventing cardiovascular events to regulating PMS, bone mass, constipation, heartburn, and more than a dozen other ailments, bananas pack enough of a nutritional punch to make most medications look like candy. Bananas also give an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. They are the number one fruit for the world's leading athletes for a reason.

Research has proven that three small bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit and healthy. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a necessary staple in our daily diets.

The magic number which appears to be assist in the following conditions is 1500mg of potassium which is three bananas per day.

1. Prevents Cardiovascular Events: British and Italian researchers have found that having one banana for breakfast, one for lunch and one in the evening would provide enough potassium to reduce the chances of suffering a blood clot on the brain by around 21 per cent. The study has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Scientists analysed data from eleven different studies - dating back to the mid-Sixties - and pooled the results to get an overall outcome. They found a daily potassium intake of around 1,600 mg were enough to lower stroke risk by more than a fifth.

The average banana contains around 500 milligrams of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and controls the balance of fluids in the body.

Pervious research in "The New England Journal of Medicine," found that eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

2. Bananas Help Boost Bone Mass: The potassium in bananas appears to counteract the bad effects of high-salt diets by preventing bones from decaying at a fast rate, says study author Dr. Deborah Sellmeyer, an assistant adjunct professor of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of California at San Francisco.

The potassium appeared to protect the bones of the women who took it, Sellmeyer says. They lost less calcium than they did on the low-salt diets, and the amount of lost protein was only slightly higher.

3. Depression  According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

4. PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

5. Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

6. Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

7. Brain Power:  200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

8. Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives. About constipation can be read here.

9. Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana smoothie, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels.

10 . Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

11. Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

12. Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

13. Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

14. Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

15. Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

16. Temperature control:  Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

17. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

18. Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6,B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

19. Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

20. Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

   As Effective As Gatordate

A recent US study has also found that bananas were as least as effective as PepsiCo sports drink Gatorade in providing nutritional support to trained cyclists during prolonged and intensive exercise.

   Bananas Won't Make You Fat

Why is it that bananas have earned such a bad reputation in the weight loss department?

There are approximately 108 calories and 17.5 grams of carbohydrates in the average banana. Much of the calories from bananas come from carbohydrates, both from simple sugars and starch. They contain about 19 grams of sugar per banana and 1 gram of protein, as well. Bananas don't contain any fat, cholesterol or sodium. The fiber content of bananas also helps to control hunger much better for those who are trying to lose fat.

Bananas can be an ideal pre-gym snack. In order to fuel energy, our body uses carbs and fats. Thus, this makes bananas an essential carb food, if taken before a workout. And as it is densely packed with nutrients and energy, it is an ideal snack for the fitness enthusiast. The natural sugars contained within the banana help provide a lot of energy before a workout. This is the reason why it is a huge favourite for serious athletes.
As with any food, healthy or unhealthy, portion control is the true answer to avoiding weight gain. Therefore, if you consume bananas within your body's food and calorie requirements, then bananas will not make you gain weight.

   Eat Them While They Are Still Non-GMO

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that wild banana species are rapidly going extinct as Indian forests are destroyed, while many traditional farmers' varieties are also disappearing. It could take a global effort to save the bananas' gene pool.

Virtually all bananas traded internationally are of a single variety, the Cavendish, the genetic roots of which lie in India. Three years ago, New Scientist revealed that the world Cavendish crop was threatened by pandemics of diseases such as that caused by the black sigatoka fungus. Scientists are now hopping on the GMO bandwagon and claiming that the hope for survival of the Cavendish lies in developing new genetically modified species as well as hybrids that are resistant to the fungus.

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