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Why water kefir isn’t one of my favourite ferments

I used to love water kefir – and I mean love it!

That was until I found out from Donna Schwenk that it ranks the lowest on the list for probiotic health benefits, and that my beloved coconut milk kefir is King! Donna says that water kefir can at most only deliver 10 strains of good bacteria, whereas milk kefir can do up to 5 times that. And nor does it contain high amounts of calcium and magnesium found in dairy kefir.

Water kefir actually has some strong similarities with Kombucha such as water kefir is brewed on water, sugar, and ‘grains’ otherwise known as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) albeit miniscule! Nowhere near the same size as a kombucha SCOBY, it’s this symbiotic culture of good bacteria and wild yeasts that chomp down on the sugar, thus creating the probiotics and unlocking the door to vitamins and minerals in the final products.

Unfortunately, for those of us who are prone to Candida Albicans overgrowth or diabetes, first ferment water kefir can retain too high a sugar content for our gut health to tolerate and instead of nourishing good gut health, we may inadvertently end up feeding the bad bacteria and yeasts.

Donna Schwenk’s community is well worth joining. The anecdotal evidence she has collected over the years together with research and connections to experts, places her on the top of my go-to list for help, inspiration and further reading.

Something I have learned while playing around in the second fermentation of water kefir is that by adding powerful goodies such as grated ginger, turmeric and black strap molasses it does boost the health benefits.

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