The Difference between Kefir and Yogurt

The Difference between Kefir and Yogurt

Many people who are turning over a new (and healthier) leaf include kefir, yogurt and other healthy food and drinks into their diet. Kefir and yogurt are both very popular among consumers, but while most people think these two are the same, they actually have significant differences. It is important to know about these differences to find out which of the two is the healthier option.

What Is Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured milk drink widely used in the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe. It is made by inoculating the milk of a cow, sheep, or goat with kefir grains, which is mix of bacteria and yeasts that slightly sours the milk and produces a yogurt-like drink. Fruits and sweeteners are added to make the drink more delicious. Being rich in probiotics, this beverage is known to have numerous positive effects including improved digestion, regulation of the immune system and lower blood pressure. It also serves as a remedy for several diseases like constipation, diarrhea, allergies and many more.

What Is Yogurt?

Yogurt is a nutritious snack that is made from the process of natural bacterial fermentation of milk. To make yogurt, you have to culture cream or milk using live and active bacterial cultures such as Streptococcus thermophilis and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Like kefir, yogurt also has countless health benefits. One of these includes prevention of certain diseases like osteoporosis, yeast infections and colon cancer. Apart from that, yogurt can also improve digestion and help with irregular bowel movements.

The Difference

The primary difference between the two is the process by which they are made. Yogurt is fermented with bacteria. Kefir, on the other hand, is made with both bacteria and yeast. Because of this, kefir has more good bacteria. It can also help improve function of the intestinal tract, which is something that yogurt is not able to do. Another difference to take note of is the higher nutritional value of kefir compared to yogurt. The former is also able to clean the colon and keep it healthy.

In terms of digestion, kefir curd size is smaller, and is thus easier to digest. This makes it a popular option for babies and elderly people. Yogurt is more common than kefir. You will find more yogurt products in the market than kefir, but with the growing recognition of kefir's benefits, it will only take a while before you see more of this product.

Both are nutritious and beneficial to health. However, kefir has a little bit more edge over yogurt in terms of nutritional value and digestibility. Include kefir in your diet by drinking it as a smoothie or shake (add chocolate or fruits to make it tastier) or as an addition to any recipe that requires yogurt, sour cream or cream. Whatever way you choose to take in kefir and yogurt, you will be able to enjoy the health benefits that come with them.

  • Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC

    Although Kefir has powerful nutritional values, I just can’t stomach the sour & bitter taste. I think I’ll stick w/my 2% Fage yogurt. It’s much more creamier and “richer” tasting than regular yogurt, so I feel like I’m indulging when I really not…

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