February 08, 2019

4 reasons why drinking kefir will help prevent a cold or flu

Snow immunity flu

This time of year is when the cabin fever of the long winter is just starting to subside, but the fear of a different kind of fever, that of the flu, is still ever present.

In our family, we have one boy that loves to stick their fingers in their mouth when nervous (of course that's always around lots of sick, coughing people), and the other boy will sometimes randomly lick the floor or the wall because we all freak out and he thinks its hilarious! So we need all the protection we can get. Kefir is definitely one of those protections. Thankfully, our boys were raised on kefir so they love and crave it every day. I really do believe it helps cut back on the nasty colds and flu that seem to be everywhere these days.

So here are 4 reasons why drinking kefir will help prevent a cold or flu.

1. Nutritional Support

According to Cleavland Clinic, there are 3 vitamins that are essential for fighting back colds and flu. It’s Vitamin C, B6 and Zinc. Kefir is relatively high in Zinc and B6, but not so high in vitamin C. The best part of drinking kefir is that those vitamins are bio-available after the fermenting process. Which means those vitamins gets absorbed much easier, especially in times of need. So even small amounts of those vitamins have a huge impact. To compensate for the low vitamin C in kefir, indulge is some delicious homemade sauerkraut as well. Red fermented cabbage has as much as 700mg of vitamin C (over 20 times that of raw cabbage). That’s a mega dosage of vitamin C. Not to mention that vitamin C in sauerkraut is also bio-available.  

2. Bio-active Peptides

One recent study uncovered an astounding 4592 peptides in fermented kefir (over 4 times that of regular milk), many of them bio-active. When you think about kefir benefits, many people think about probiotics or beneficial nutrients and acids. Bio-active peptides are in a separate category and incredibly beneficial for modulating blood sugar, blood pressure, pain and immunity. They also have antioxidant properties, help muscle growth / recovery and bone health. Bio-active peptides are compounds derived from the milk proteins and created mostly during the fermentation process. For immunity, these beneficial compounds work to balance the immune system and also will stimulate a response to pathogens like the cold or flu to help keep you healthy.

3. Probiotic Bacteria Support

Multiple studies have shown that lactic acid bacteria from kefir stimulated and modulated cytokine production which is the immune system response to both tumors and pathogenic infections such as the cold or flu. These studies only isolate one lactic acid bacteria strain and show a helpful immune response. Homemade kefir have many probiotic strains that may also improve immune function. Many of the strains have not been fully examined to see their benefits. It wouldn't surprise me if other strains had immune support functions as well.

4. White Blood Cells

Kefir and other ferments help increase the production of white t-cells. It also improves communication between the killer t-cells and the helper t-cells so that the immune system is functioning at an optimal level. As an interesting side note, even though it stimulates the production of healthy white blood cells to get rid of those nasty pathogens, it will also kill abnormal white blood cells as shown in a leukemia study. In that study, kefir caused cell death of abnormal leukemia white blood cells. And it did so quite significantly. It’s fascinating that kefir has the ability to encourage healthy white cells while destroying abnormal ones.

One Last Study

There was a large German study with almost 500 people that involved a bit of probiotics and mineral support. They found that just the probiotics and mineral supplements lowered the incidence of colds and flu by 14%, lowered overall symptoms by 19%, flu symptoms by 25% and 54% less days of fever. It shows that just a little probiotics and a little nutrient support (which is in most fermented foods) can really help.

Have you noticed any difference since you started drinking kefir?

What other foods or methods do you use to stay healthy?