yogurt Probiotics

Yogurt vs. Kefir: It’s a great debate. If you’re like us, you’re definitely curious as to know what the difference is between these two treats. And it’s good to know, important if you decide you would like to make either product at home.

Even though both are made from milk, there are big differences between the two, including how they’re made, the flavor and what kind probiotics are present. Here’s a little yogurt vs. kefir 101 for your reading pleasure.

It’s All in the Starter

Yogurt has two types of starters: Mesophilic and thermophilic. What’s the difference? With mesophilic, the starter is cultured at room temperature.  Thermophilic, on the other hand, is cultured around 110° F in a yogurt maker.

So what type is milk kefir?  Milk kefir is mesophilic so it will start at room temperature.

Bacteria

70% of your immune system is in your gut, so eating something like yogurt or kefir with good bacteria will help you stay healthy and strong.

Each product contains different types of bacteria and those bacteria do different things for you.

Yogurt: The bacteria found in yogurt helps keep your digestive tract healthy, and gives the friendly bacteria something to eat.  In traditionally flavored yogurts, you will have lactobacillus and acidophilus among other bacteria.

Kefir: Kefir contains a bigger range of bacteria in addition to some yeasts.

Flavors

The consistency and flavor of yogurt is what you typically expect.  Depending on the starter, you can have a mild taste or go all the way up to very tangy.  Most popular today is what’s called Greek yogurt, which is a very thick consistency.

Kefir, on the other hand, is tart but it can also taste of yeast as well.  Some describe the taste of kefir as a cross between yogurt and buttermilk.  Kefir tends to be thinner than yogurt and you can actually drink kefir instead of spooning it out of a container.

Benefits

Both yogurt and kefir are beneficial to your intestinal tract.  If you’re making it at home, a yogurt starter will require weekly maintenance depending on the culture you decide to use. Milk kefir is a great source of Probiotic bacteria and yeasts, and this starter requires you to maintain it on a daily basis especially if you’re using milk kefir grains.

Trying either one of these products will give you new insight into the benefits of making your own yogurt or kefir.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

How do you prefer your probiotics: yogurt or kefir?