Water kefir soda is not only a very tasty soda, but it is incredibly healthy. It is a great replacement for the milk kefir. The health benefits of water kefir are attributed to the unique probiotic cultures in the tibicos, and the high concentration of these. There are many conditions that can be treated with probiotics, and probiotic supplements are a great way to restore your intestinal flora. However, water kefir soda is one of the easiest, and inexpensive ways to get your probiotics from fermented foods and drinks, instead of paying for supplements.
What Is Water Kefir
Water kefir is a symbiotic mix of various bacteria and yeasts enclosed in a white soft shell, forming the kefir "grains", the tibicos. They are also called tibi, sugar kefir grains, California bees, or Japanese water crystals. The bacteria and yeast thrive on sugar of any form. This makes it one of the most inexpensive fermented probiotic drinks. A sugary solution is all water kefir needs to feed, and it will feed off the sugar, and produce lactic acid, (the slight tangy taste), alcohol, (the more you let it ferment the more alcohol in your soda), and carbon dioxide, (the gas bubbles).
Water kefir is the best probiotic drink for those that cannot consume dairy. It is a perfect replacement for milk kefir. Making water kefir is very simple, Just add water, sugar and the cultures, and let it ferment for 24-48 hours. Here is a step by step how to make water kefir soda.
Health Benefits of Water Kefir Soda
The water kefir grains, or the tibicos, have a unique and very stable symbiotic mix of a few bacteria and yeasts strains from the following groups: Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and others. The most notable ones are: Lactobacillus brevis, Streptococcus lactis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The total number of strains is around 60, give or take.
This specific probiotic mix brings all the health benefits associated with probiotics, providing benefits on a wide range of conditions and ailments. There is very little scientific research on the water kefir health research, but there is a lot of anecdotal information. So take it with a salt of grain, but don't discard it just because it hasn't been proven scientifically.
From my observations, and from other people's experience, it looks like many of the benefits of the kefir water come from the fact that it is a great remedy for fighting fungal infections. Candida and other fungi can make us very sick, and sometimes it can't be detected easily, it requires expensive tests. With Candida, even then it's not absolutely conclusive, because Candida is a normal cohabitant of our body, together with other bacteria and yeasts. Fungus infection can lead to various symptoms, and in many cases people have to live with the infection for many years before they discover it.
Here is a list with the most common conditions benefiting from water kefir:
- Arthritis - Fungal infection is not, according to the medical world, a frequent cause of arthritis. Medicine admits that the number of cases is on the rise, with Candida infection as a specific rising cause. The truth is, that there might be a lot more cases of fungal infection caused arthritis than believed. Because fungal infections are more likely to affect people with higher age, arthritis can be easily blamed on the age. Here is a bit more about fungal arthritis.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Joint pain is most commonly a result of inflammation. Inflammation which normally is a natural healthy process to heal tissue, it is not beneficial if it lasts too long. Latest scientific research shows that Candida is linked to abnormal inflammation responses, and it promotes this artificial inflammation because this helps the colony grow faster. IBS is an inflammatory condition.
- Migranes without any apparent explication - migraines are linked to ear infections caused by Candida Albicans. Fighting the infection will make the migraines go away. Note that head-aches and migraines are a common symptom for the die-off of Candida.
- Chronic fatigue - chronic fatigue is linked to over growth of Candida Albicans, and it looks like diet is an efficient way to control the infection and reduce the symptoms. I would say, add probiotics in your diet, and prebiotic dietary fiber. Here is the abstract: "Dietary intervention in chronic fatigue syndrome"
- Weight gain - Candida thrives on sugar, and it will modify your body to make you crave sugar. This leads to over consumption. In normal circumstances the amount of sugar you eat while on a Candida craving would make you a bit sick. Not when this is dictated by the yeast overgrowth.
- Depression - It is not sure how probiotics helps curing depression, but it does. Here is a document describing some cutting edge research about probiotics and depression. Anecdotic evidence shows water kefir very efficient in treating depression.
- Eczema - There are a few yeasts that can cause eczema. However, atopic dermatitis, is an inflammation of the skin that is caused by an allergen such as food, and there is no known cure for it. Eczema sufferers are hypersensitive to various triggers. Many people have found that probiotics work for them, reducing the hypersensitivity, and the eczema outbreaks.
- ADHD - ADHD is thought to be an allergic hypersensitivity disorder. As such, if the allergic reaction is diminished, the symptoms will diminish as well. There is an entire underground current with people using special diets, and probiotics to cure ADHD.
- Acne - Acne is an apparently trivial problem but very difficult to treat. The use of probiotics both on the skin and taken orally, can help with acne. You can just wash your face with water kefir,and drink for a clearer skin. Rosacea is also reduced drastically by the use of probiotics. Here is a more detailed explanation on probiotics and skin.
The probiotic supplements on the market have three or four strains of bacteria and yeasts. There are a few brands that contain up to ten strains but these are more expensive. There are even competitions between manufacturers to pack more colony forming units, (CFUs), into a capsule. Some manufacturers even claim they have the most powerful probiotic supplement. Many of these are, valid claims or not, easily replaceable with water kefir soda.
Other Benefits Of Drinking Water Kefir Soda
- Water kefir contains between 1/2 and 1 million CFUs per ml. That means a tablespoon contains more than any probiotic supplement.
- It contains a more complete microbiota, with around 60 strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts.
- Kefir, compared to yogurt and probiotic supplements, will actually change your gut bioflora, some of the little guys in kefir will find a permanent home into your gut, as opposed to bacteria from yogurt and commercial probiotics which help your gut heal, but they all die eventually and they cannot colonize your intestine.
- Being liquid, it passes through stomach faster, so there is less interaction with bile and stomach acids.
- Water kefir can be even consumed by diabetics in some cases. During fermentation, the sugar in the soda breaks down into fructose and glucose. Fructose is a low glicemic load sugar, and it makes it safer for some diabetics. This obviously has to be strictly under control, and start with very los doses, until you determine the dose that doesn't spike your blood sugar.
- This wonderful natural soda contains not only probiotics, but also enzymes, bioavailable nutrients, and amino acids.
Side Effects of Water Kefir
Many people who drink water kefir will swear by it and say that there are absolutely no side effects. The reality is that if consumed in high quantities, there could be serious side effects, from severe constipation, to stomach cramps, and even urinary tract infection. The most common side effects are flatulence and lose stool. If you have one of these more than a couple of days, lower the dose. If the side effects still don't go away, stop taking it temporarily.
Be advised, start slowly, with a tablespoon per day, and slowly increase your dose.
Kefir is not recommended for people with Niemann-Pick Disease both types A and B.
Listen to you body, never ignore your body's negative reactions to water kefir. If your imunity system is weak, it might take a longer time to adjust to high doses, or even to small doses. If you have serious side effects, you should stop drinking it and take probiotic supplements. Great probiotic supplements are made from selected strains in precise combinations to minimise the side effects.
My Personal Story about Water Kefir
I personally take water kefir despite the flatulence, constipation and the stomach pain. They cure my eczema, and arthritis. I wasn't a believer, to be honest, I knew that some people had results with water kefir but, you know, if you don't personally speak to someone about it, you tend to not fully rely on Internet resources. The farmers where I buy my eggs Don and Nan have both problems with joints and we were always discussing what remedy worked better. We had our success with some creams, but it was never a great success. That until a few months ago I asked Don how were his knees. And he said "GREAT". He immediately told me their story with water kefir, and how this made all the joint pains go away. Obviously, I asked if they had some grains for me, because I wanted to try them as well. They gave me some grains right then and I started to brew my water kefir soda immediately. Within a couple of weeks the pain from my knuckles reduced 50 percent. Now, that pain is about 10% of what it used to be, and I think it is slowly getting better, but at a much slower rate that in the beggining. The eczema on my hand also diminished to a merely 20% and without any major flare ups for the last two months.
I believe it is now clear why am I still taking the water kefir despite the important side effects. I will keep this section updated with more news.