We recently asked you on our social media channels what your top Kefir and Kefir-Quark burning questions were. A lot of you had questions about the health benefits of Kefir and how it can help you out if you have certain health issues, such as lactose intolerance. So, we€™ve sat down with award-winning dietitian Lucy Jones to go through your questions and hopefully give you a better insight into how great Kefir is for you!

What are the health benefits of Kefir? Why should I incorporate it into my diet?

Both Kefir and Kefir-Quark are naturally packed with essential vitamins and minerals (including B12 and B2), they are high in protein and calcium, full of gut-friendly bacteria, low in calories and free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. .This combination of nutrients contributes to the normal function of the immune system as well as reducing tiredness. Studies have shown that kefir can help to support lactose digestion too.

Kefir-Quark, Bio-tiful€™s latest product, not only is packed with billions of gut-friendly bacteria, but it also has over 18g of protein yet only 90kcals per portion. Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass and bones, so Kefir-Quark is a great product to incorporate into your diet.

You can find more information here.

Can I cook with Kefir and Kefir-Quark? What recipes would you recommend?

Absolutely! You can use both Kefir and Kefir-Quark in a whole host of delicious recipes including smoothies and breakfast bowls, dips, pasta sauces, cheesecakes, etc. You can find all recipes here, plus download Bio-tiful Dairy€™s free recipe booklet.

How much Kefir should I drink on a daily basis?

There is no set amount of Kefir you can eat. We recommend that you eat it as part of a healthy balanced diet in line with Government guidelines such as the Eatwell guide. We typically say a normal daily portion is 250ml (which is what is traditionally given to kids in schools in Russia!) which equates to a small bottle, but its fine to just have ½ or indeed have more.

I suffer from IBS, will Kefir help alleviate the symptoms?

There are lots of research studies going on in helping symptoms of IBS and so far, research does indicate that specific bio-live cultures and changes in your microbiota (the ecosystem of bacteria living in your gut) may have some beneficial effects on patients with IBS. Even though further research is needed, many people report improvements after incorporating Kefir and there is no harm in trialling such an approach.

Will this help my 8-year-old daughter who is lactose intolerant?

Even though Kefir is made from milk, its lactose content is actually very low due to the fermentation process that naturally occurs (whereby the bacteria break down most of the lactose). Some early studies have even reported that regular consumption of Kefir could help alleviate lactose intolerances for some.

Overall, as with any intolerances it depends on your personal tolerance threshold, therefore we always recommend speaking to your doctor before incorporating something new into your diet.

You can find out more information here.

Do you add any sugars or sweeteners to Kefir or Kefir-Quark?

There€™s no added sugars or sweeteners in Bio-tiful Kefir or Kefir-Quark. The only sugars in the products are those that are naturally occurring in milk (or fruit puree with Bio-tiful Kefir Smoothies). These naturally occurring milk sugars do not count towards the recommended 5% target of added sugar in our diets.

Antibiotics destroyed the good bacteria in my gut and now I’ve been told I have IBS. Can Kefir help me with this?

Products packed with gut-loving bacteria are usually recommended to those that have recently gone through a course of antibiotics. Kefir is full of these gut-friendly bacteria, with over 40 different strains in each bottle, so it can be a helpful strategy incorporating it into your daily diet to help rebuild your gut health.

Can drinking Kefir help my Cholesterol?

Early studies have shown that regular consumption of Kefir may help reduce your LDL (considered harmful in excess) levels. For best results, talk to your doctor about the impact that drinking kefir may have on you personally and use in combination with other dietary strategies such as those from Heart UK€™s ultimate cholesterol-lowering plan. 

I€™m a first-time mum, my little one is 5 months old and getting ready to wean. What age can I introduce kefir into her diet, please?

Dairy products are a great source of calcium and protein for children, supporting the healthy growth of bones and teeth. What€™s more, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends Kefir as a good source of calcium for children. Many parents use drops with beneficial bacterias in early months of life and some infant formulas also contain them. Kefir can be introduced with other weaning foods but be sure to start a child slowly if they have not tried live fermented foods before and check with your GP or health visitor if you have any concerns.

Are these products high in carbohydrates?

Kefir has a low glycaemic index like all natural dairy products, which means it doesn€™t cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar levels. Instead, it releases slowly. Research has shown that compared to conventional fermented milk, Kefir reduced fasting blood glucose levels and HbA1c levels in people with diabetes, meaning it can be a useful addition to their diets.