WHAT IS KEFIR?
Pronounced “keh-feer”, these are semitranslucent, edible crystals or ‘grains’ which are clusters of good bacteria and yeast held together by a polysaccharide (dextran) produced by lactobacillus higarii. They are not actual grains like wheat or rye, and they feed off sugar to produce probiotic bacteria, beneficial enzymes, organic acids, vitamins, and bio-available micronutrients.
KEFIR CRYSTALS ARE ALSO KNOWN AS SEA RICE, AQUA GEMS, AFRICAN BEES, JAPANESE WATER CRYSTALS AND GRANTES VIVANTES. WHERE DID THESE VERSATILE CLUSTERS COME FROM?
The exact time mankind has been cultivating these grains is unknown, but our ancestors, all over the world, have consumed this reputed cultured drink for centuries. Its existence was first documented in the sugary water of the opuntia cactus (the prickly pear) in 1899 by M L Lutz.
WHAT ARE WATER KEFIR'S BENEFITS?
It supports a healthy gut, balances internal microflora and pH, and promotes stronger immunity and foundation for overall wellness.
Water kefir has been gaining traction in the recent years due to the wave of interest in clean and whole foods, as well as the increase in knowledge of probiotics and gut health. I believe water kefir will be more than a trend, as it can be easily incorporated into our lifestyles. It is also a great soda replacement, and likely a good candidate as the beverage of the future, other than water of course.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO WATER KEFIR?
I went through a tough seven-year period dealing with leaky gut issues, which sparked off a journey into the world of gut health, probiotics and cultured foods. I was appalled at the inclining statistics of gut-related conditions and how they link to other issues including brain and emotional health. We Are Cultured was born, out of my passion to amplify the movement of gut and inner healing, with a restorative range of natural, allergen- and preservative-free, probiotic water kefirs.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST BEGINNING TO EXPLORE WATER KEFIR?
If you are not a fan of consuming supplement pills like me, this is a tasty solution alongside other probiotic-rich cultured foods.
We talk to Sheryl A Tan, founder of water kefir brewery We Are Cultured, to learn more about the tart, fizzy drink’s taste and benefits, and also got an exclusive recipe for those looking to nurture their own cultures