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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Water Kefir and Type 2 Diabetes

I am going to be keeping closer track of my own BG levels and monitoring the effect that water kefir has on my readings. It is not an exact science and I realize my exercise program, my overall diet etc. play a significant role, however I have noticed a distinct BG lowering effect in my own readings  since drinking water kefir three times every day and every other day making a whey protein shake using the left over kefir grains from each batch.

I am going to keep the results and post them here for you after 3 to 4 weeks.

In the interim, below these three important healing scriptures, is a link telling you about everything you might ask about water kefir.

 JOEL 3:10 - "Let the weak say, 'I am strong.'"

 - "For I will restore health unto thee and I will heal thee of thy wounds," saith the Lord.

 - "And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness ."


EXCERPTS: (Information posted here is a short excerpt from this site and I STRONGLY recommend you visit the link for more information)

How is kefir consumed in other cultures?Water kefir is primarily used in the Latin culture to make a popular drink known as Tepache (which has grown in popularity recently) and also as the traditional water kefir recipe. Water kefir grains are usually known as Tibicos within the Latin community. It is also popular amongst those who are familiar with the Ginger Beer Plant, a very similar culture that has possible origins from Tibet. Water kefir is less well-known internationally than milk kefir currently, but is gaining popularity amongst the fermenting-savvy!Why is water kefir sometimes OK for diabetics to consume?The bacteria and yeast produce enzymes that break down the sucrose (the double sugar that sugar is composed of) into fructose and glucose. Fructose is digested by the liver and does not spike the blood sugar of diabetics like sucrose or glucose. Because of the fructose, it makes this drink a lower GL. Also the added acetic acids and carbonation from the fermentation lower the GL as well. We've noticed and had people share that the best way for diabetics to consume water kefir is to do a secondary ferment with pure fruit juice (high in fructose) and a portion of the finished water kefir which results in a low-sugar (and low GL) beverage. You can read about secondary ferments here. It is not safe for all diabetics, and is ultimately up to you to determine how your blood sugar levels respond after consuming water kefir. 'Ripening' kefir can even further reduce the sugar content (but raise the alcohol and acids) if desired.How can I reduce the amount of alcohol in kefir?There isn't really a way to reduce alcohol save boiling the kefir (which then negates all the healthful properties of the living probiotics). To discourage increases in alcohol simply keep your lid on loose while fermenting and during storage as well. This oxidation encourages acetic acids (which turn wine into vinegar) to balance the process. Alcohol is formed by yeast in a mostly anaerobic/no air environment. Lactic acid is formed by the bacteria in a low-oxygen environment. Store with ample room between the kefir and the lid to provide more oxygen. This will encourage the various bacteria to be as balance out the yeast, and diminish the amount of alcohol it is able to form. The alcohol produced will also depend on the type and amount of sugar, grains and fermentation time. More sugar will create a higher alcohol content (especially if bottled in an air-tight container). A shorter ferment will also be too high in sugar and not high enough in the acids that help to counter balance the alcohol activity.What is the advantage of taking Kefir instead of a probiotic supplement?Fermented products such as kefir are considered functional foods because they offer enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, calories/energy and billions of probiotics. Probiotic pill supplements contain just one or a select variety of bacteria, and usually that's it. It's always better to eat something in its whole form when possible, because each part makes the other more digestible. This is why companies are now adding fiber back into cereals and fruit juices, and citric acid into calcium - you often need all the parts to assimilate nutrients correctly.Why is kefir good for your health?It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. Water kefir is also generally suitable for some diabetics (though personal discretion is advised). It also is a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink. Water kefir supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Some store-bought probiotic foods or supplements can help, but they are not as potent, and do not contain the beneficial yeasts usually (just bacteria). Within your body there are already billions of bacteria and yeast. Your internal microflora support proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has thus long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. Folic acid (and B vitamins) increases as the length of the ferment increases. Some people let the strained kefir sit on the counter or the fridge another day to increase the folic acid and B vitamin content before drinking (this will increase the acidity too). Kefir may also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. As with most things we've personally found, food and health is too difficult to reduce to facts and statistics. While kefir is not a magic bullet for health (what is) we believe kefir has a myriad of possible health benefits, and those will be individual for everyone. Some feel it helps them digest better, others get colds and viruses less often, some get more energy, and some people feel nothing much in particular, but enjoy the taste and value of it over store-bought yogurt, kombucha or kefir.Is water kefir as beneficial as milk kefir?The short answer here is yes. This is because what works for someone may or may not work for you. Milk kefir has some wonderful health benefits, but those cannot be enjoyed if you are simply sensitive to milk in general. Water kefir is simply another probiotic beverage option which has its own strengths and weaknesses (too much sugar for some). You can ferment minerals, herbs, fruits, grains etc with the help of water kefir grains, thus really opening the doors to a custom blend of nutrients that you can create. For example if you think coconut boosts your overall well-being, then perhaps you can derive a lot of benefit from water kefir with coconut in it. Or perhaps you are into the anti-inflammatory property of cranberries or cherries, and would like to add that to your water kefir. This is where water kefir shines! You can also eat the grains of water kefir (just as you can milk kefir) and get a mega dose of probiotics! Some people decide neither beverage works for them, but the grains themselves do!What's the difference between milk kefir and water kefir?Milk kefir grains and water kefir grains behave similarly by both fermenting a sugary liquid into a probiotic beverage (similar to yogurt for the milk kefir, or kombucha for the water kefir). However, they are seperate cultures, and are not 'made' from one another. Although you may try to ferment juice with milk grains, or attempt to ferment milk with water kefir grains, they will not switch to be the other culture or look like the other culture. Milk grains look like soft opaque curds of cauliflower heads while water kefir looks like tiny sem-transparent crystal gems.Does water kefir have different strains of bacteria and yeast than milk kefir?Yes, absolutely. They do share some common strains, but have many unique ones of their own, too. To view a detailed list of each, visit our pages on strains for milk kefir or for strains for water kefir.What strains of bacteria and yeast are found in kefir grains (and kefir itself)?To view a list of all the bacteria and yeast strains found in kefir, please view our Strains section.Is Kefir a good option for those with Candida?Many people experiencing Candida issues have reported that Kefir has been beneficial for them. Kefir is a balanced symbiotic relationship of both bacteria and yeast, which is also what we strive to achieve within our bodies for optimum health. Kefir grains and kefir itself does not contain Candida Albicans and has no reason to aggravate the symptoms of Candida. Some sources say that the kefir yeast can even help to decrease the candida yeast. But as with all things, the best advice we can give is to listen to your own body's response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).Is Kefir a good option for those with digestive problems?Many people have shared that it has helped a wide range of problems from acid reflux to GERD to bloating to intestinal issues. If you have an ulcer, it may not be advisable to drink this until the ulcer has healed (due to the acidic nature of kefir). All of the microflora and easily digestible nutrients in general make kefir a very good option for those with digestive problems. Some people have reported better digestion when they have a small glass before a meal. The carbonation and properties of kefir can even act as a digestive aid and/or stimulant. If you are experiencing pain or gas this could possibly be because your system is sluggish and the stimulating nature of kefir can be too harsh for some (in this case, start with drinking just a spoonful and work your way up slowly so your body can adapt). Again, the best advice we can give is to listen to your own body's response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).Is kefir appropriate for everyone?The best advice we can give is to listen to your own body's response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time). More doesn't always = better, either. Drink what feels reasonable, sometimes a small amount can be more beneficial than a large amount. As with most things, moderation is truly key. All of the microflora and easily digestible nutrients in general make kefir a very good option for most. The carbonation and acidic properties of kefir can aggravate a sluggish, tired, weakened or injured digestive system, so be sure to slow down or temporarily stop your consumption if you feel any pain or discomfort (in this case, start with drinking just a spoonful and work your way up slowly so your body can adapt). If you have an ulcer and/or feel any pain, it may be best to address that first (aloe, bananas, soothing foods) and then come back to stronger foods like kefir at a later point. Always use your own common sense and do not ignore your gut instincts!Has kefir ever made anyone sick?Kefir is very safe and there isn't any need to worry when following the simple steps on how to kefir properly. Research has shown time and again that because of the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that make up a kefir grain it naturally wards off outside invaders (such as dangerous bacteria, mold or harmful yeast). It does so by freeing up antibiotics within its bacterial complex that helps to ensure the resistance to foreign pathogens and ultimately ensuring its own colony for survival. Some studies have shown kefir to ward off salmonella and E. Coli samples that have been injected into it as well as possessing the capability to kill H. Pylori. This is not to say that some people don't react to kefir, especially when first trying it. This is based upon other properties including the acidic nature of the drink, your body not being acquainted with so many live probiotic cultures, or a reaction to the kefir itself (some people are sensitive to the acidic nature of fermented foods). It is also not recommended for those with Niemann-Pick Disease (types A and B) which is a rare genetically-inherited disease caused by a deficiency in the enzyme Sphingomyelinase. Contaminated kefir has only been shown to happen with commercial kefir, which was contaminated during the manufacturing and processing of imitation kefir. Research has even shown that kefir innoculated with E. coli was able to inhibit the growth of that microorganism. Most people in all their years of making kefir have never had a bad batch once. As with all things, use your best judgement and some good old reliable common sense - if your kefir smells terrible or looks colorful like an easter egg, just toss it and start fresh.How are Kefir Grains different to powder starter (such as Body Ecology's products) or store-bought kefir?Genuine kefir is different than the pricey kefir you can buy in the stores. Manufactured kefir is a simulated drink, mimicking the flavor of genuine kefir. It is not produced by the traditional method. It is produced instead by a variety of bacteria and yeast (that they purchase individually) and combine. These are typically freeze-dried powder forms of bacteria and yeast, and like the Body Ecology products, are not reproducible. Traditional Kefir Grains are a formed symbiotic mass colony of various bacteria and yeast that are living, and will thrive and grow on their own in the sugar water sometimes out-living its owner!What are Kefir Grains composed of?The grains are a symbiotic relationship of many different strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast which produce lactic acid, carbon dioxide and ethanol when consuming the sugars. The bulk of the grain that you see is a matrix of insoluble polysaccharides (complex sugars), mostly due to the L. casei and L. Brevis in it. It does not produce the stringy kefiran that milk kefir's grains produce, which is a protective mucus that is predominately soluble polysaccharides.

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