One Food, Five Ways

Learn why you should con­sider trad­ing reg­u­lar yo­gurt for this su­per­food.

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Ke­fir could be your new go-to pro­bi­otic. Here are five ways to en­joy this nu­tri­tional pow­er­house.

With 30-some strains of gut-friendly bac­te­ria (as com­pared to about seven in yo­gurt), ke­fir is a pro­bi­otic pow­er­house, pro­mot­ing gut health and help­ing break down your food ef­fi­ciently. Its tart and tangy fla­vor makes it the per­fect com­ple­ment to just about any recipe. Here are five ways to use ke­fir — in­clud­ing one that might sur­prise you!

1. AS A BONE-BUILD­ING BREAKFAST

Ke­fir has high lev­els of cal­cium and vi­ta­min K2, which have a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship: Vi­ta­min K2 helps the body bet­ter ab­sorb cal­cium, and re­search shows sup­ple­ment­ing with it can re­duce bone frac­tures by up to 81 per­cent. Quick Ke­fir Bowl: Stir to­gether 1⁄3 cup of quick oats, ½ ta­ble­spoon of chia seeds, ¾ tea­spoon of cin­na­mon and 1 cup of plain ke­fir. Let sit five to 10 min­utes to thicken. Eat topped with fresh fruit, co­conut flakes or chopped nuts.

2. AS A DIS­EASE-DE­FEAT­ING DIP

Not only does ke­fir con­tain bi­otin and fo­late to boost im­mu­nity, it also con­tains lac­to­bacil­lus ke­firi, which helps de­fend against E. coli, can­dida, yeast in­fec­tions, ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome and Crohn’s dis­ease.

Awesome Avo Dip

½ cup low-fat ke­fir

4 avo­ca­dos, peeled, pit­ted and diced

½ red onion, minced

1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pep­per

1 tsp chili pow­der

½ jalape–o pep­per, seeded and chopped fine

Mash all in­gre­di­ents to­gether in a large bowl. Serve with sliced veg­gies.

3. AS A CANCER-KICK­ING TREAT

Com­pounds in ke­fir have been shown to slow the growth of early tu­mors. One test done at McGill Univer­sity in Canada found that ke­fir re­duced breast cancer cells by 56 per­cent in an­i­mal stud­ies. Choco-Ba­nana Pro Pops: Blend to­gether 1 cup of ke­fir, 3 ta­ble­spoons of unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der, ½ scoop of pro­tein pow­der, 1 ta­ble­spoon of mini dark choco­late chips, ½ frozen ba­nana, 3 ta­ble­spoons of honey (or sugar), ½ tea­spoon of vanilla ex­tract and a dash of salt. Pour into pop­si­cle molds and freeze overnight.

4. AS A SKIN-SAV­ING SALVE

The pro­bi­otics in ke­fir help pre­vent acne, rashes and eczema from the inside out, and ke­fi­ran — a car­bo­hy­drate found in ke­fir — can help with wound heal­ing. When ap­plied top­i­cally, the al­pha hy­droxy acid (AHA) in ke­fir helps slow the ag­ing process, adds elas­tic­ity and hy­drates your skin. Mois­ture Mask: Mix 2 ta­ble­spoons of ke­fir with 1 tea­spoon of olive oil and 1 egg yolk, and ap­ply mask to your face for 15 to 20 min­utes.

5. AS A CHOLES­TEROL-CRUSH­ING DRESS­ING

Women who drank ke­fir for eight weeks showed a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in LDL, or bad choles­terol. Divine Dress­ing: Serve your daily salad with a mix­ture of ¼ cup of ke­fir, ¼ cup of ap­ple cider vine­gar, ½ cup of ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, 1 gar­lic clove (minced), 1 tea­spoon of honey, 1 tea­spoon of Di­jon mus­tard, and salt and pep­per (to taste).

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