Review: functional properties of kefir

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Mar;51(3):261-8. doi: 10.1080/10408390903579029.


Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product due to combined lactic acid and alcoholic fermentation of lactose in milk. Kefir is produced by microbial activity of "kefir grains" which have a relatively stable and specific balance of lactic acid bacteria and yeast. Due to the claimed health benefits of kefir which include reduction of lactose intolerance symptoms, stimulation of the immune system, lowering cholesterol, and antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties, kefir has become an important functional dairy food and consequently, research on kefir has increased in the past decade. In the following review, recent studies on the functional properties of kefir are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibiosis
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cultured Milk Products / microbiology*
  • Cultured Milk Products / physiology*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Food, Organic
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillaceae / growth & development*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Anticholesteremic Agents