Kefir and health: a contemporary perspective

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(5):422-34. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2010.540360.


Kefir and its related products are renowned nutraceutical dairy products produced through fermentation of yeasts and bacteria naturally present in grains of kefir. The nutritional attributes of this self-carbonated beverage are due to presence of vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and some nutraceutical components. Antimicrobial activity, better gut health, anticarcinogenic activity, control on serum glucose and cholesterol, control on lactose intolerance and better immune system can be achieved through its regular consumption. Moreover, on the one side kefir is good dietetic beverage, and of particular interest of athletes, and on the other side the whole kefir is good for feeding small babies and pre-schoolers for good tolerance against disease and quick weight gain. Lots of works have been done on kefir from a health point of view. This study summarizes all the data that have been compiled to date. The purpose of this review is to gather information about microbiological, chemical, nutritional, and therapeutic aspects of kefir and kefir-like products to provide justification for its consumption. This review leads us to conclude that kefir begins a new dawn of food for the mankind.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Cultured Milk Products / chemistry*
  • Cultured Milk Products / microbiology*
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Fermentation
  • Food Handling
  • Food Microbiology
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Nutritive Value
  • Trace Elements / analysis
  • Vitamins / analysis


  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins