Kefir: Like Yogurt, Only Better

Packed with calcium, protein and beneficial bacterial, yogurt is undoubtedly a superfood, but kefir is even healthier — a super-superfood, if you will. I've always liked kefir, which is similar in taste and texture to drinkable yogurt, and I like it even more now that I know that it translates to "feel good" in Turkish.

Made from raw goat, cow, ox or sheep milk, kefir has an enhanced artillery of health benefits that make yogurt look silly in comparison. While both cultured milk products have healthy bacteria, kefir has strains that are rarely found in yogurt, like lactobacillus caucasus, leuconostoc, acetobacter species and streptococcus species. And kefir also beats yogurt with yeast. The Turkish drink contains several healthy yeasts, like saccharomyces kefir and torula kefir, which help to control and eliminate pathogenic yeasts.

Consuming kefir regularly replenishes the intestinal flora and increases immunity. Kefir can also elicit a calming effect on the nervous system (courtesy of tryptophan), help relieve intestinal disorders and curb junk food cravings.

While yogurt receives much of its praise for its friendly or probiotic bacteria, kefir is also consumed for its rich nutrient content — specifically vitamins B12, B1, K, as well as biotin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Kefir also contains "tryptophan," the amino acid made famous by the Thanksgiving turkey myth.

In the yogurt/kefir battle, there really is no contest. Look for kefir at health food stores and even in the dairy aisle of your conventional grocery store.

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