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Kefir and Ostomy

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a dairy product made through a culturing process that leads to the growth of large amounts of friendly microorganisms. Perhaps a disconcerting fact to some people, but not to our digestive system which gets a boost from this microorganisms. The key resides in the word friendly as opposed to harmful or disease causing.

Although kefir is mostly a dairy product, its cultured state provides health properties not observed in plain milk. Many people are more familiar with yogurt, which is also a cultured product, but kefir is superior in several ways. For example:

  • While yogurt provides friendly bacteria to balance the gut’s microbiome, this effect is temporary. For the body to continue benefiting, more yogurt has to be ingested.  On the other hand, the beneficial bacteria found in kefir has the ability to multiply and colonize the gut leading to longer lasting benefits.
  • Kefir’s make-up includes friendly bacteria not found in most yogurt preparations. These include lactobacillus Caucasus, acetobacter species, and lactobacillus kefiri which has antibacterial effect.
  • Kefir is easily digested even by small children, the sick and the elderly because it contains smaller curds than yogurt.
  • Kefir contains more strains of friendly microorganisms than those found in yogurts making it a better probiotic.

Why kefir is good for those with ostomies?

Gut surgery can easily alter the normal digestive processes diminishing the ability to retain minerals, electrolytes and causing problems with water re-absorption. If not checked, such deficiencies could lead to serious health issues. Ostomates are highly prone to this, and taking kefir is a way to prevent or overcome this situation.  Specific benefits include:

  • Provides friendly bacteria that colonizes the gut for better health and suppression of disease causing yeasts and bacteria.
  • Helps restore minerals and salts that are lost because of the partial removal of the intestine.
  • Is a good source of vitamin B complex which is vital at promoting digestive and overall health.
  • Is easily digested by the very young, the aged, the immune compromised and those suffering from lactose intolerance.
  • Improves immune system.
  • Supports overall health as it prevents bone problems such as osteoporosis; it improves the symptoms of various malabsorption disorders through its anticancer properties, and it reduces allergies.

How to make Kefir?

Kefir can be made from various types of milk. These include goat or cow milk, coconut or rice milk. Initially a starter culture may be purchased or a previously ready kefir may serve the purpose.

Method

  1. Pour your choice of milk into a container (milk should be at 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Dissolve 1 packet of starter culture into the milk.
  3. Cover container with a cloth and tie it with a rubber band. Keep it in a warm place for up to 16 hours.
  4. Tightly cover the container and store in a cold place.
  5. You can tell that a kefir culture is ready when the consistency of the milk has thickened and appears like thick cream.

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