Dairy is an essential part of the Indian diet. Be it milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, curd, buttermilk, or desserts, we never fail to include it in our daily meals. Dairy is a vital source of calcium and vitamin D in our body which mainly helps our bone structure to strengthen itself. Though similar in nature, kefir and yogurt are two different dairy products with different advantages and uses.
Kefir vs Yogurt
The difference between kefir and yogurt is that kefir is light, acidic, and of thinner consistency whereas yogurt is creamy, heavy, and thick. Though both comprise milk and fermentation process, kefir is made with kefir grain which includes all the ingredients for fermentation, unlike yogurt which is made with cultured bacteria.
Kefir is a probiotic beverage that is known for its advantages towards gut health. It can be made out of a variety of milk types ranging from cow, goat, sheep, camel to rice, soy, and coconut. Typically, kefir is made from kefir grains which is a combination of yeast and bacteria which develops on mixing with milk and forms the beverage called kefir.
On the other hand, yogurt is made out of a bacteria called the yogurt culture. It comprises the Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria. While some households use this bacteria, other households believe in using half-cut lemon or chili with stem to ferment the boiled milk and make yogurt out of it.
Comparison Table Between Kefir and Yogurt
|Parameters of Comparison||Kefir||Yogurt|
|Procedure to make||Kefir is made by combining any type of milk with kefir grains containing bacteria and yeast.||Yogurt is made by either combining the yogurt culture with boiling milk or adding half-cut lime or chili with a stem in boiling milk.|
|Nutrition Value||Kefir contains three times more probiotics than yogurt.||Yogurt is rich in calcium, phosphorus, proteins, and vitamins.|
|Consistency and Taste||Kefir is acidic, light, thin, and less creamy. It has a tart-like sour flavor to it.||Yogurt is thick, heavy, and creamy. It has a range of flavors varying from mild to tangy.|
|Fermentation Time||14-18 hours||2-4 hours|
|Uses||Kefir can be consumed as it is or combined with fresh fruits and vegetables to make smoothies or desserts. It is a great alternative to buttermilk.||Yogurt can be consumed as it is. It can also be customized with fruits, honey, granola, kale, etc. Yogurt can also be used in dishes including heavy cream bases like Thai Curry, Chicken Curry, or Paneer Curry.|
|Lactose Intolerant||Yes||Varies from person to person|
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a drink undergoing fermentation, with consistency comparable to yogurt. It was first originated in Karachay and Balkaria. Then it was sent to Russia and then spread to the rest of Europe and the United States.
Milk is the main component of kefir which helps in boosting up our immunity and is healthy for the bones. The bacterial structure makes it good for gut health.
It is also safe for lactose intolerants and helps in constipation as well as upset stomach. It may even aid in combating cancer and diarrhea along with parallel treatments. Kefir has also proven to help in losing belly fat and excessive weight when consumed in appropriate quantity daily.
This fermented milk which is a probiotic drink is used by athletes and people having high cholesterol and obesity. Kefir might even help with symptoms of menopause like sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, dry and itchy scalp, irritability, and high heart rate.
However, everything is good when consumed within a certain limit. For kefir, the limit can be one to two cups per day. Going overboard with the drink might result in some side effects. At the initial stages of consumption, it might cause constipation, excessive bloating, intestinal cramping, and nausea.
What is Yogurt?
Yogurt has become a favorite snack amongst the young generation due to its taste and health advantages. The dairy aisle is filled with yogurt ranging from low-fat yogurt, fat-free yogurt, Greek yogurt to lactose-free yogurt and flavored yogurt.
Yogurt was originated in the late 5000 BCE where it was considered the food of Gods when combined with honey. Yogurt is rich in calcium, Vitamin B, and riboflavin which help in regulating blood pressure, metabolism, teeth, and bone health. Regular consumption of yogurt is also believed to improve the immune system, reduce inflammation and ease the digestive system from constipation or upset stomach.
Though this healthy breakfast option is high in protein and phosphorus, it has its disadvantages. Some packaged yogurt contains saturated fats which increase the probability of heart diseases. It also lacks Vitamin D which is proved vital for allergy prevention. Some flavored brands also include added sugar which increases calorie intake and cholesterol. People allergic to milk can also have severe bloating, swelling, cramps, heart diseases or cancer.
Hence, Yogurt can be included in our daily meals as it leads to weight loss and better health advantages but saturated, packaged and sweetened yogurt must be avoided to avoid its disadvantages
Main Differences Between Kefir and Yogurt
- Kefir grains which consist of bacteria with additional yeast are used to make kefir whereas yogurt is made using yogurt culture which is bacteria or with the use of half a lemon of chili with a stem.
- Kefir consists of three times more probiotics than yogurt while yogurt is high in calcium, phosphorus, and protein.
- Kefir is acidic, light, thin, and less creamy. It has a sour and tangy flavor to it. On the other hand, yogurt is thick, heavy, and creamy. Its taste varies from mild to tangy.
- Kefir takes about 12-14 hours to ferment whilst yogurt takes 2-4 hours to ferment.
- Kefir can be consumed naturally or combined with fruits and vegetables to make a smoothie. It is a great alternative to buttermilk. Yogurt can also be consumed as it is or combined with fruits, granola, or honey. It can also be used to make heavy cream-based dishes like Thai and chicken curry.
- Kefir is recommended for people who are Lactose Intolerant as it breaks down easily in the gut as compared to yogurt which may take a while to break down.
Kefir and Yogurt are both healthy sides for our daily meals. Kefir might be a better alternative because of more bacteria and yeast present in it.
The biggest advantage of kefir and yogurt is that both can be store-bought or be made at home. If we look for the healthiest amongst the two, we must always check the nutrition label and choose something plain, non-flavored, uncolored, unsweetened, and unpackaged.