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Should You Be Using Kefir in Your Smoothies?

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A creamy component, like yogurt or almond milk, has long been a staple of nutritious smoothies. These ingredients can add protein and a richer flavor to the fruits and flavors you combine in your personal blender. However, in addition to these classic components, a new creamy ingredient has exploded in popularity: kefir. 

This yogurt-like substance has become hugely popular with people looking to improve their digestive health. If you're considering whether to start adding kefir to your diet, make sure you know everything about it.

What is kefir? 
Kefir is a thin, creamy substance made by combining good bacteria, yeast and milk. The milk can be from a cow, goat, sheep or a vegan source, such as coconuts or almonds. The bacteria and yeast that treat the milk are often called kefir grains, although they are not traditional cereals such as wheat or oats. Kefir comes from the Caucus region of Russia and has been known by a variety of nicknames.

Kefir is a form of cultured milk. Kefir is a form of cultured milk.

How is kefir different from yogurt?
Because people are more familiar with yogurt and both ingredients are cultured milk products, the two are often compared to one another. Despite their similarities, there are a few significant differences that you should know about. 

Yogurt and kefir are both made with bacteria, but different types of bacteria. The strain used for kefir may make it better for some people with milk or dairy intolerances. Kefir is also significantly thinner or less viscous than yogurt, making it perfect for smoothies.

Kefir has a tangy, sour flavor that has a distinctly yeasty taste, unlike yogurt. However, like yogurt, kefir often comes with fruity flavors that mix well in a smoothie. 

"Kefir is made of good bacteria, yeast and milk."

What nutritional benefits does kefir have? 
One reason that people are turning to kefir is that many feel it helps their gut biome. The probiotics that make kefir and remain in the drinkable substance are said to improve people's intestinal bacteria by eliminating bad bacteria and letting other beneficial strains thrive. This could improve digestion and well-being. 

In addition to probiotics, kefir also is a source of calcium, protein, vitamin B and other nutrients. 

How can I incorporate it into a smoothie? 
You can use kefir in your next smoothie just like you would milk, yogurt or almond milk. It can be the primary liquid along with your other ingredients. Try mixing kefir, ice, strawberries, raspberries, a scoop of peanut butter and half a banana for a quick snack.