In the world of probiotic (or cultured) dairy products, there are two main foods to choose from: kefir vs. yogurt. So which is better?
Both kefir and yogurt are made by fermenting milk, which results in the growth of gut-friendly bacteria, yeasts and microbes. While yogurt may be more well-known and widely available, kefir is now usually sold in most major supermarkets and nearly all health food stores.
The two have many things in common — such as providing not only probiotics but also calcium, protein, potassium and B vitamins — however the way they are made, and therefore their probiotic diversity and counts, differs a bit for reasons we’ll explore more below when looking at kefir vs. yogurt.
What is the difference between kefir and yogurt? Is kefir healthier than yogurt?
First, let’s define what kefir and yogurt are and establish how they differ from one another.
What are the main benefits of consuming it? Studies have found that consumption of kefir has been “associated with improved digestion and tolerance to lactose, antibacterial effect, hypocholesterolaemic effect, control of plasma glucose, anti-hypertensive effect, anti-inflammatory effect, antioxidant activity, anti-carcinogenic activity, anti-allergenic activity and healing effects.”
Because it provides probiotics, vitamins and minerals, health benefits associated with yogurt consumption include support for gut health, cholesterol metabolism, antimicrobial activity, tumor suppression, increased speed of wound healing, and modulation of the immune system including the alleviation of allergy and asthma symptoms.
According to Lifeway (maker of kefir products), “kefir has 12 different strains of live and active cultures and 25–30 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU), while the average yogurt can have anywhere from 1 to 5 strains with 6 billion CFU.”
Types of microbes found in kefir include: Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus casei subsp. pseudoplantarum, Lactobacillus kefiri, Lactobacillus kefir and Lactobacillus brevi.
Here are some other difference between kefir vs. yogurt:
Beyond just drinking kefir or eating yogurt on its own, there are other clever ways to use these two dairy products recipes:
Milk kefir and plain yogurt are not naturally very sweet on their own (they have a tart/sour taste, especially kefir), but other flavors can be added in order to boost the flavor and make it more appealing.
When buying either one, check the ingredients and avoid those made with lots of added sugar. Most store-bought kefirs and yogurts are flavored with additions like fruit or cane sugar, but you can sweeten and flavor them yourself at home by adding a little raw honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract or organic stevia extract.
The post Kefir vs. Yogurt: How to Decide Which Is Right for You appeared first on Dr. Axe.