What happens when you take a nutritionally dense food with similar composition to human plasma and combine it with kefir grains? The answer is, you get a probiotic powerhouse loaded with beneficial bacteria and immune boosting properties.
What we know about coconut water:
Known endearingly as the “fluid of life,” coconut water is the nutrient and mineral rich sap that is found within a coconut. The water is protected by the tough outer shell of the nut and is kept sterile and free from fungus, parasites and bacteria.
Rich in natural vitamins, especially the B vitamins, coconut water also contains minerals and trace elements including selenium, iodine, sulfur, zinc, manganese, organic acids, enzymes, phytonutrients and amino acids. It is low in calories and sugar, yet tastes sweet. Much of the therapeutic value in coconut water comes from cytokinins, which are powerful plant hormones that regulate cell growth and aging.
New stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that 65 million Americans have high blood pressure (HBP); about 35 million of them don’t do anything to control it, and about 16 million of those folks don’t even know they have it. In a 2005 study, 71 percent of participants who consumed coconut water for two weeks had a 24 point drop in systolic pressure and a 15 point drop in diastolic pressure.
Over acidity, which is highly common today, is a dangerous condition that contributes to a host of serious health conditions. An acidic internal environment is the perfect place for disease to thrive. This is opposed to a pH balanced environment, where normal body function resists disease.
In a healthy body, there are alkaline reserves, which are used in times of emergency to balance internal pH. When too many acids enter the body, the reserves become depleted, leaving the body weak and vulnerable. Health experts warn that a pH balanced diet is necessary to maintaining health.
Acidosis is extremely common in our society, mostly due to the American diet and lifestyle. Although eggs, dairy and meats, are acidic, the main problem is with processed foods. These include white flour, sugar, coffee and soda, which create an acidic environment. Coconut water has an alkalizing effect on the body which can help to balance the effects of acidifying foods.
Although coconut water is a sweet beverage, recent research shows that it actually lowers blood sugar. Animal research has also demonstrated that coconut water prevents and reverses high blood pressure, which is associated with sugar-induced hypertension. Coconut water also reduces oxidative stress and insulin resistance.
A study published in the 2008 Journal of Food Chemistry and Toxicology found that coconut water was as effective in lowering cholesterol as popular cholesterol-lowering drugs in rats fed a fat-cholesterol enriched diet. Unfortunately, since coconut water is not patentable, its potent cholesterol lowering effects are unlikely to ever make it to mainstream medicine or interfere with the $30 billion dollar statin industry.
What we know about probiotics
Probiotics are living organisms that your intestinal tract needs for healthy functioning. Your intestinal tract naturally has both good and bad bacteria residing in it, but keeping both of these organisms in balance can be challenging at times. When they are out of balance and you have more bad bacteria than good in your gut, you may experience intestinal discomfort, such as constipation and diarrhea.
The biological balance of bacteria can be easy to knock off base. Medications, illness, diet and environmental factors can quickly make your intestinal tract get out of whack rather quickly. By using probiotics, you put more good bacteria in your system and help it function better.
Benefits of probiotics
Probiotics can be beneficial in a number of ways. One of the primary benefits comes from their ability to help the digestive tract function optimally. Probiotics can help the body filter out damaging toxins, chemicals, harmful bacteria and other waste products.
Probiotics can also help boost the immune system. By making the intestinal tract function properly, good bacteria can help the immune system fight off infections and germs. Symptoms such as fatigue, diarrhea, urinary tract infections and muscle pain have been associated with imbalances in the bacteria of the digestive tract.
Burning belly fat
In a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Functional Foods, researchers discovered that probiotic foods may block the absorption of intestinal fat and contribute to burning off belly fat. As a result, probiotic foods may come to be an effective tool for losing weight.
In the study, performed at the University of Manitoba in Canada, researchers fed two different kinds of probiotics to study participants – Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus. Additionally, researchers provided all of the food the study subjects ate during the study.
The participants who consumed L. amylovorus had four percent less fat at the end of the study than they did at the beginning of the study. Individuals who ate foods containing L. fermentum had three percent less body fat. Researchers also reported that the majority of fat lost was belly fat.
One of the best ways to keep your gut healthy and your good bacteria count high is to eat fermented foods and beverages.
What is coconut kefir water?
Coconut kefir water is simply coconut water fermented with water kefir grains. Although you may be familiar with dairy milk kefir and fermented beverages such as kombucha, coconut kefir gets very little attention, although its nutritional workup is incredible.
Coconut kefir made with water kefir grains eliminates the often-problematic ingredients of dairy and is easier on the digestive tract than certain teas, while providing all the same and more nutritional benefits.
Although dairy kefir and water kefir grains are both similar in function – they are quite different in other ways. Milk grains look like cottage cheese and are quite slimy, whereas water grains look more like cauliflower and break apart under pressure. Milk grains feed on the lactose in milk while water grains feed on sugar.
In his book Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, Dr. Gabriel Cousens notes this about kefir grains:
“Kefir grains produce right-rotating L(+) lactic acid, which is an important constituent of the human body. It is particularly important in the prevention of cancer and has been used experimentally with success in the treatment of cancer. In addition, right-rotating lactic acid may help in maintaining healthy functioning of the heart. According to some researchers, the cells of the heart muscle obtain their energy primarily from right-rotating lactic acid.”
Coconut kefir is soothing to the digestive system, supports healthy liver function and feeds your immune system. The fermented water encourages hydration while re-colonizing the gut and mucous membranes with healthy strains of beneficial bacteria.
Kefir is also rich in beneficial yeasts that search out and attack pathogenic yeasts such as candida. These yeasts help to strengthen the walls of the intestines and build up resistance to other dangerous pathogens such as E. coli, intestinal parasites and salmonella.
Besides healing the gut and balancing microflora, kefir also helps the body absorb vital nutrients and use trace minerals and B vitamins.
You get all of this, plus the amazing benefits of the coconut water itself.
coconut kefirMaking your own coconut kefir water
You will pay quite a bit at a whole food store for a container of coconut kefir water. Save money by making your own – it’s simple. This kefir water is berry-flavored and tastes great on its own or as a smoothie base.
◾Glass mason jar with lid
◾Piece of cheesecloth
◾Plastic measuring spoons
◾1 quart organic coconut water
◾3 tablespoons water kefir grains
◾1 cup fresh berries
1.Place the water kefir grains in the coconut water.
2.Cover the jar with cheesecloth so that grains can breathe – allow the kefir grains to culture the coconut water for 24 to 48 hours, out of direct sunlight.
3.Once the culturing process is complete, remove the kefir grains using a strainer.
4.Puree the fresh fruit and coconut water to add fabulous flavor.
5.To refresh kefir grains, add them to a quart of water with a ¼ cup of coconut sugar. Let this sit for about 48 hours so that the sugar water has time to feed the grains.
Note: Never use metal utensils when dealing with live cultures.