Water Kefir Health Benefits

Water KefirWater 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.

 Batch of Water Kefir Fermenting and Empty Jar

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. 

Water Kefir GrainsOther 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.  

Related Content

Brewing Water Kefir SodaWater kefir soda is very simple to brew, and it is very tasty. Water kefir, also called sugar kefir, is a sweet acidulated drink, a little fizzy, made by fermenting sugars with kefir grains. Most people look at water kefir for its amazing healing qualities, due to the enourmous amount of probiotics. However, this probiotic beverage is one of the best tasting sodas you'll ever drink, if brewed properly.

Tibicos, (water kefir grains), in a strainerGrowing your own water kefir grains is not difficult, if you are careful, and you tend them properly you can make huge quantities of tibicos, the water kefir grains. You need a few tibicos, quality water, sugar, and various fruits. To improve the process, you may also add minerals to your water.

Sea Buckthorn Flavored Water KefirWater kefir soda is delicious as it is, and it is healthy, but flavored water kefir is even better because has more nutrients, and it tastes even better. We can use various fruits or fruit juices to flavor it, but we can even use certain aromatherapy plants, or even some therapeutic herbs. We can use the water kefir soda as a base for our healing plants, this method will allow the active ingredients in the fermented plant to be easier absorbed in our bodies, and to get them in a delicious form.

4 Comments

Starter

How do you get the bacteria and yeasts started?

Laurence,

Laurence, For water kefir, and for milk kefir, you can't start it. You need to have the starter. That means you need the tibicos, (kefir grains). Once you start culturing, they will multiply, and you will be able to give other people too.

Water Kefir

Hi Lawrence - I realise you entered this query some time ago, but for others, you get hold of some water kefir grains, either from friends or off the internet, these are added to a warm water and sugar mixture and then you add some dried fruit (sulphur free) I use dried apricots (the sulphur free ones are brown, the orange ones have had sulphur added) but there is other dried fruit like dates etc. On top of your jar you place a piece of cloth or paper towel held with elastic band, because the mixture needs to breathe. You are only allowed to use plastic or glass equipment with this mixture and need to stir it regularly during its 24-48 hour developing period. You now drain it with a plastic sieve and pour into glass jars, it is ready to drink. Your kefir grains will be ready for you to make another mixture now, they do though multiply with time so you will have excess to your requirements. With these, you can place them in a syrup water so that they just rest and feed on the sugar or you can place them in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Water Kefir

Hi - When I first began taking water kefir I had what the doctor diagnosed as athletes foot (which is a fungal infection that I have previously been prone to) and I also got little white pulsile itchy spots on my hands (which I have also had at times in the past) I stopped taking the water kefir for a while and then began again with a smaller dose. I then at first got a low grade headache in the mornings, these symptoms were probably signs of die off (bad yeast/fungals dying). My husband and I have also both completed multiple 'Liver and Gallbladder flushes' and were aware that we had toxins remaining in our bodies, so we were delighted that we had found 'Water Kefir' to ensure that we expelled these toxins. Hopefully now we will have lovely clean guts and livers to enjoy our later years, my husband will be 70 years old next month and I will be 63. I would just like to note that here in the UK, our NHS doctors do not believe that we have stones in our liver and as my husband had been referred to many different specialists regards his many health problems we had no choice but to try the natural route and we both removed many stones and eased or removed many of our ailments. Now we are completing that process by having an on going natural probiotic which will remove bad bacteria and build up our good bacteria. Which also the NHS do not believe that there is such a thing as yeast in the intestine, which my husband was showing the symptoms of, so even though he was sent on many NHS tests, nothing was found and he was sent home to continue to suffer with his headaches and nausea 'basically a hangover feeling' so he has been on a yeast/sugar free diet and then we found out about Water Kefir and this is showing signs of slowly killing the bad bacteria and he is beginning to feel better.

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