Kefir vs. Yogurt
Kefir and yogurt. These two can be confused for the other.
Usually, people think kefir is a yogurt but that’s not the case. They do have similarities, but they are ultimately two different products that can be used in your diet.
Both are typically made with dairy products, but they can also be made with alternatives such as goats milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.
Both are also a cultured product, meaning they are fermented with lactic acid bacteria, also known as probiotics!
So how are they different?
Yogurt needs heat to undergo the fermentation process while kefir only needs room temperature.
One of the biggest differences between making yogurt and kefir is the time these products need to culture. Yogurt needs 4-8 hours to culture and kefir needs 24 hours or more.
The time it takes to make kefir versus yogurt creates a different outcome in consistency, taste, and even health benefits.
Yogurt is a thicker consistency. Greek yogurt is even thicker than plain yogurt but both are not watery or soupy.
Kefir is, however. The consistency of kefir is thin enough that people drink it.
Plain yogurt is tangy and a little sweet. Kefir is almost sour, so don’t tell yourself it’s like yogurt…because it’s not.
It’s like when you drink water thinking it’s Sprite and it’s not. It’s the worst so don’t do it.
Don’t tell yourself it will taste like yogurt…it won’t. Because Kefir is fermented longer than yogurt, the taste changes.
The longer you ferment it, the sourer it will be.
Kefir and yogurt both benefit your health. They have vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, but that’s where the similarities end.
Kefir has a more nutrient-dense variety of probiotics than yogurt. These diverse strains are more likely to help the gut and improve your specific needs. Kefir also has more protein, calcium, and potassium.
I mentioned this post would talk about kefir, yogurt, fermentation, and then some. Well, pickling is the “then some”!
Let me make one thing clear, pickling is a general term and encompasses the process of fermentation. Be careful when choosing foods at a grocery store that say they are pickled because not all “pickled” foods are fermented.
Pickling can use the process of fermentation or vinegar to preserve food. Using vinegar can lengthen a food’s shelf life but won’t necessarily have health benefits as great as fermented foods.
Let me explain myself.
Vinegar is fermented, but pickling with vinegar is not fermenting. Does that make sense?
The health benefits are not as potent when food is pickled using vinegar. Both are beneficial but fermenting the food directly may provide more health benefits.
Health Benefits of Pickles
Whether you eat pickles through the process of pickling or fermenting, you can benefit from consuming them.
A great benefit (and theme to the post) is the consumption of probiotics. These bad boys will support your gut health and allow your body to better absorb nutrients from your food.
As a reminder, fermented pickles will have a higher concentration of probiotics but pickling with the use of vinegar will still help.
Eating pickles or drinking pickle juice is also great because of the sodium and potassium content. People even drink a little pickle juice as a recovery drink after a good sweat.
It can replenish the sodium and potassium lost during vigorous activity. Just be aware that eating too many pickles can cause harm.
The high sodium content can be detrimental to your health if you aren’t watching your intake because too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and that can lead to an array of problems for your body. Problems like heart disease, stroke, and organ damage.
Health Benefits of Pickled Beets
If you aren’t a fan of pickles, maybe try pickled beets.
Pickled beets contain probiotics and can aid in digestion and keep the gut happy. Beets are also high in fiber.
Your digestion tract will thank you if you include both fiber and probiotics into your diet because it will not only extract needed nutrients but will also expel excess waste.
Beets are high in potassium and magnesium. Magnesium regulates biochemical reactions in the body and facilitates in protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.
Potassium triggers your heart to pump blood throughout the body. It also helps muscle movement, nerve function, and to filter blood in the kidneys.
These two vitamins are so important for your body processes. Who knew?
Fermented food gives you the probiotics needed to balance the gut which ultimately allows your body to efficiently extract all the nutrients you need from your diet.
So what’s the takeaway?
Try yogurt, try kefir, and try pickled foods!
You may love them or you may hate them, but if you love them and incorporate them into your diet, you may see improved digestion and better overall health!