Water kefir, also known as fruit kefir or tibicos, is a fermented, fizzy drink that has been consumed for thousands of years for its great taste and health benefits.
Why drink water kefir? Because it is an all-natural beverage, full of probiotics and health-promoting ingredients. Best of all, it’s thirst-quenching, delicious, and easy to make at home!
Discover the 5 scientifically proven benefits of water kefir!
1. Kefir Is a Natural Low-Sugar Fizzy Drink
Water kefir (or fruit kefir) contains far less sugar than commercial soft drinks.
To make water kefir, you mix water and sugar with water kefir grains. The microorganisms in the grains transform the sugar water into a fizzy, tangy drink.
In less than 48 hours, 66 to 80% of the sugar is consumed by yeast and bacteria. (1)
Although the original recipe uses cane sugar, kefir grains can be used to ferment fruit juices or any natural sugar source. The liquid is then transformed into an effervescent drink that is not as sweet as the original.
Water kefir is perfect for replacing sodas and other carbonated drinks in our diet, without needing an expensive carbonated water machine.
Water kefir can also be flavoured to taste, with herbal teas, fruit, or other aromatics of your choice.
2. Water Kefir Is a Beverage That Contains Lots of Probiotics
Kefir contains a host of beneficial probiotics! Although strains vary from culture to culture, nearly 70 varieties of microorganisms can be found in water kefir grains. (2)
Studies show that a 250ml glass of water kefir can contain up to 2.5 billion good microorganisms. (3) They are mainly separated into three categories:
- Yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, S. florentinus, S. pretoriensis, etc.)
- Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei/paracasei, L.b. harbinensis, L.b. hilgardii, etc.)
- Acetobacteraceae (acetic acid bacteria) (A. orientalis, A. lovaniensis and A. fabarium, etc.)
Due to the large diversity of microorganisms in water kefir, few studies have been carried out on the impacts of this community as a whole. However, many of these yeasts and bacteria have recognized probiotic benefits! (2)
For example, the lactic acid bacteria casei/paracasei are often studied for their effects on reducing digestive system disorders. (4)
3. Kefir Helps the Intestinal Microbiota
Drinking kefir doesn’t just taste good: it’s also good for our microbiota!
The gut microbiota is the collection of microorganisms that live in our gut, where they help us in many ways.
Indeed, the microbiota plays an important role in digestion, weight management, blood regulation, and the immune system. (5)(6) No wonder it is called the “second brain”!
The microbiota is a complex research topic, but there is increasing evidence that eating fermented foods is beneficial to our health. (7)
Indeed, studies have shown that some of the yeast and bacteria found in water kefir may colonize our gut and have a positive effect on our microbiota. (2)
It has been demonstrated that these yeasts and bacteria can:
- Help balance the intestinal flora (2)
- Help regulate the digestive cycle (2)
- Help fight pathogenic microorganisms, such as Candida albicans, Salmonella typhi, E. coli, and C. difficile (8)(9)
- Aid digestion and absorption of nutrients (2)
- Help manage cholesterol in the blood (2)
For now, these effects are associated with the microorganisms that may be found in kefir, but the concentration may vary depending on the strain. Science is just beginning to take an interest in water kefir!
4. Water Kefir Is Full Of Nutrients
Water kefir is more than just sparkling water!
According to a literature review published in 2021 (8), the microorganisms in kefir transform sugar and minerals into all kinds of nutrients and components during the fermentation process:
- Organic acids
- Beneficial enzymes
- Organic components
- Various flavours
During fermentation, water kefir produces many antioxidants, which could have beneficial impacts on health. (10) In addition, studies on animals have shown that water kefir has anti-inflammatory effects. (11)
Therefore, microorganisms have the power to turn plain sugar water into kefir with many benefits!
5. Water Kefir Is Suitable For Many Types of Diets
Water kefir is a drink made of basic and unprocessed ingredients. It is suitable for all kinds of diets!
Unlike milk kefir, water kefir contains no dairy products. It is a probiotic drink suitable for people who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or vegetarian.
In addition, unlike kombucha or commercial sodas, water kefir contains no caffeine or theine. It is therefore perfect for people who are sensitive to caffeine, or for those who wish to reduce their consumption.
You can even use the water kefir grains to ferment plant milk, producing an interesting probiotic plant drink! We recommend using your surplus grains for this purpose, as they will not be able to grow sustainably in this substrate.
So that’s what science has to say about the benefits of water kefir!
In addition to its many benefits, water kefir is easy to make at home and quick to ferment. Within 48 hours, you have a delicious natural fizzy drink with many benefits!
Next step? Learn how to make your own water kefir!
- Inferring the role of microorganisms in water kefir fermentations
- A review of nondairy kefir products: their characteristics and potential human health benefits
- Microbial Species Diversity, Community Dynamics, and Metabolite Kinetics of Water Kefir Fermentation
- The Lactobacillus casei Group: History and Health Related Applications
- Les fonctions majeures du microbiote intestinal
- Actualité du microbiote intestinal
- Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond
- An update on water kefir: Microbiology, composition and production
- Evaluation of a potentially probiotic non-dairy beverage developed with honey and kefir grains: Fermentation kinetics and storage study
- Antioxidant potency of water kefir
- Study of anti-inflammatory activity of Tibetan mushroom, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and fungi encapsulated into a polysaccharide matrix