Healthy bacteria has become somewhat of a trending topic in recent years. Fermented drinks such as kombucha are becoming all the rage, and kefir is one of the cheapest, tastiest products which supports a healthy gut. Many well-known brands in the dairy industry have branched out into producing kefir, making everything from yoghurts to coconut drinks, in every flavour under the sun.
But where do you begin incorporating these healthy grains into your diet? You start with this guide of course! We've compared the benefits, flavours, natural ingredients, price and reviews and chosen the ten best products online. Check out our guide then head on to our recommendations list to find out where to buy them! For this article, we have also partnered with Nutritionist Tara Corbett for reviewing and fact-checking so that we can deliver the best information to our users.
mybest UK specialist Tara is a nutritionist and energy coach who helps clients lose weight, improve their eating habits, and get their energy back through their nutrition. Tara specialises in helping busy parents specifically improve their eating with ease and without overwhelm, and get back on track so the whole family can benefit.
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Tara is a nutritionist and energy coach who helps clients to lose weight, improve their eating habits, and get their energy back through better nutrition. She specialises in helping busy parents improve their diets without overwhelming them with information, and get them back on track so that the whole family can benefit.
The most popular kefir product gracing our supermarket shelves is milk kefir drinks. With a texture similar to a creamy yoghurt drink, they can be enjoyed straight-up or mixed into smoothies or overnight oats. There's an endless variety of flavours from turmeric and mango to berries and hibiscus, so milk kefir drinks are an excellent way to go if you're still getting used to the tangy taste.
The fermenting process of kefir removes most of the lactose in milk anyway, but if you're cutting down on the dairy, then milk alternatives can be even more suitable. The most common alternative to dairy kefir drinks is coconut water, but you can also find other flavoured drinks, both still and sparkling.
If you prefer something a little more substantial than a drink, take a look at the yoghurt selection. The original yoghurts taste somewhat similar to natural yoghurt, but there are a mountain of other exotic flavours available to choose from. Just like regular yoghurt, you can top kefir yoghurt off with fruit and nuts for a nutritious breakfast, or blend it into smoothies to make them extra creamy!
When choosing any kefir product, the key is to understand what you're reading. Labels will often promote the variety and amount of the bacteria in their product, and whilst this is great, it isn't the only number or notion you need to pay attention to.
Firstly, note how it is made as this directly affects the strains. Kefir can be created in one of two ways – with a powdered kefir starter or using live kefir grains. Powdered kefir generally contains around 7-9 strains of bacteria, whereas live grains can contain up to 50. This means they're much richer in probiotics, which is what we want!
Not all strains of bacteria will be beneficial to every person, so it's also important to check the CFUs (colony-forming units). Ideally, you want this claim to be in the billions rather than the millions, which will maximise the number of good bacteria that can reach your gut.
Why not try some other probiotic drinks to improve your gut health?
Kefir is a healthy drink, meant to do your body good, so let's keep it that way! As with any bottled drink or yoghurt, especially the flavoured kind, it's worth scanning the label to find out how much sugar it contains before you buy.
Bottled drinks are notorious for hiding sugar content, so be on the safe side and check the number of grams per 100 ml or 100 grams. To be considered 'low' in sugar content, this figure needs to be below 5 grams. The kefir drink should be avoided or consumed only occasionally if it has over 10g of sugar.
As we've mentioned, the tart and tangy taste of kefir can be a little off-putting for some, but don't worry if you can't stomach it in its natural form – at least not yet, anyway! Since more people have jumped on the fermenting bandwagon, brands have been churning out kefir products in all kinds of flavours from mango and peach to cacao and mint.
Try kefir with one of the nation's favourite breakfast cereals!
Click to purchase
Organic Kefir Baked Milk
Ideal for New Kefir Drinkers Thanks to Its Sweet, Mellow Taste
Natural Kefir Yoghurt
The Perfect Base for Breakfast, Yoghurt Pots, Smoothies or Drinks
The Collective Dairy
Mango & Turmeric Kefir Drink
A Golden Anti-Inflammatory Drink Flavoured With Sweet Mangoes
If You're Looking for a Substitute for Milk, This Is It
The Collective Dairy
Coconut Kefir Drink
The Creamy, Coconutty Alternative From the Collective Dairy
The Collective Dairy
Vanilla Kefir Yoghurt
The Smoothness of Greek Yoghurt With the Benefits of Kefir
Organic Kefir Cultured Dairy Drink
Three Key Features: Original, Natural and Organic
Mango & Passion Fruit Kefir Yoghurt
Replace the Sour Kefir Taste With Yeo Valley's Exotic Fruit Yoghurt
Biotiful Dairy is one of the UK's leading kefir brands, and there's a good reason why. Each bottle contains over 40 strains of bacteria (which is the highest on our list) and includes the tell-tale sign of quality kefir – billions of CFU's. As the name suggests, this particular product from Biotiful Dairy has an additional step in its brewing process: baking.
By baking the milk before it begins fermentation, a sweeter, more mellow taste is produced rather than the typical sour tang of traditional kefir. That's why it's our top choice for complete kefir newbies! They also receive bonus points for not adding sugar.
Giants in the dairy space, Yeo Valley have been churning out delicious dairy goods for generations, producing a wide range of products from kinds of milk to ice creams. They've recently expanded the flavours of their kefir considerably, but sometimes you just can't beat the original.
It's the perfect base for breakfast, yoghurt pots, smoothies and drinks! With a relatively low sugar content, you can spoon away to your heart's content. It's creamy, smooth and has that delicious kefir taste along with the benefits of 14 live cultures.
The Collective Dairy is big news in the world of kefir. They've begun branching into a variety of flavours in both drinks and yoghurts, but their Tumeric & Mango Cultured Milk Drink is one of their best. Containing 13 strains of live bacteria and billions of cultures, it's got the goods as well as the flavours.
The key ingredient, turmeric, is hailed for its anti-inflammatory properties and the combination of mangoes is a match made in heaven. It's an excellent choice if you're still getting used to the taste of kefir. The sourness is minimal, and the smooth and creamy consistency makes it go down a treat!
This organic kefir milk from Arla is a favourite in the UK. These guys have been around for years, developing a countless number of much-loved dairy products like Skyr, and now they're branching out into kefir.
A litre bottle and a lighter texture makes for a perfect swap for your usual milk – pour it over cereal, pop it in your tea or drink it straight. It's not as creamy as the flavoured products, which makes it the best alternative to milk. The downside? Arla only mentions a couple of cultures on their product info, so it's hard to tell how effective the product might be.
The Collective's Coconut and Honey drink is flavoured with all-natural ingredients including honey blossom and apple and grape juice, making it taste like a creamy coconut milkshake but with the signature kefir twang.
However, just because it's made from coconut milk, don't be fooled into thinking it's vegan. Cows milk is mentioned as a key ingredient as it's used to ferment the kefir. With 6.7 grams of sugar per 100g, this isn't the healthiest option, but boy is it one of the tastiest!
Who doesn't love vanilla? The Collective Dairy's yoghurt is as thick as Greek yoghurt but with the sweet taste of Madagascan vanilla and the signature light twang of kefir. This is an excellent pick if you're a newbie to the kefir game.
The product is excellent topped with muesli, fruit or enjoyed on its own, and has also been awarded the Great Taste 2019 award so you know it will be delicious. But that deliciousness does come at a price – its moderately high sugar count of 7.5 g.
With no added flavours, the original milk drink from Biotiful Dairy has that distinctive tangy kefir taste, but with its creaminess and light texture, it isn't overpowering at all. Packed with literally billions of cultures, this product contains over 40 different strains of kefir – which is a lot!
It's perfect for a healthy snack between meals or blended into a smoothie. Unfortunately, this bottle could end up being quite expensive, especially if you're pouring it over your cereal every day! But, it's an organic product which is high in protein and calcium, so you may be willing to forgive this.
The first of Yeo Valley's products to make our cut is their delicious mango and passionfruit organic yoghurt. As well as being 100% organic, it uses natural flavourings such as mango puree, passionfruit and lemon juice.
With raving reviews, this is one of the best-tasting kefir products on the market – but you pay for it with the sugar content. There's 9.7 g per 100 g, so, needless to say, it's not the best choice to be eating heaps of, but it is great dolloped on top of your morning muesli or on the side of a pudding!
Kefir is a fermented liquid made from live kefir grains, aka 'live cultures'. These live cultures deliver healthy bacteria to your gut which can help with all sorts of problems including general digestive support, reducing inflammation, improving cholesterol, and aiding overall bone health.
Kefir grains are added to milk, water or coconut milk and left to ferment. The end result is sour, tangy and tart which can take some getting used to! However, there are many ways you can incorporate this power food into your diet, such as blending it into smoothies, pouring it on your cereal or just drinking it straight-up if you like!
Kefir contains an incredible variety of vitamins, minerals and probiotics that together have been proven to improve digestive health, as well as have antibacterial properties to help your body fight infections. More recently there have even been studies into its potential to protect our bodies from cancer.
There’s no set amount of kefir that you should drink a day, and everyone's tolerance for it will differ - some will love the taste, while others will need to get used to the tanginess. Therefore, it’s probably best to start off on a cup a day and work up from there.
When stored correctly, kefir should keep its quality for around 2-3 weeks, however, you should also rely on your senses to determine if you’re happy to keep consuming it. Look out for if it smells off or tastes too sour; otherwise look out for separation or mould on the surface of the kefir.
Written and researched by Roxy Pratley
No. 1：Biotiful Dairy｜Organic Kefir Baked Milk｜500 ml
No. 2：Yeo Valley｜Natural Kefir Yoghurt｜350 g
No. 3：The Collective Dairy｜Mango & Turmeric Kefir Drink｜500 ml
No. 4：Arla｜Organic Kefir｜1 litre
No. 5：The Collective Dairy｜Coconut Kefir Drink｜500 ml
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