New Kefir Health Benefits: The Best Probiotic to Lower Blood Pressure?
8 minute read
Probiotics are a great way to promote gut health and encourage a healthy gut bacteria balance. As the relationship becomes better understood, probiotic foods and drinks, like kefir, have increased dramatically in popularity.
The bacteria that live in your gut play an important role in your overall health and well-being. The gut-brain axis allows the two organs to communicate, which has far-reaching effects on your health.
Kefir is a powerful probiotic source and regular consumption can support this gut-brain link and promote better health, including, as researchers recently found, lowering your blood pressure.
A Link Uncovered
Countless studies have shown how important the gut microbiome is in regard to your health. Any imbalance in the system exposes you to more harmful bacteria than beneficial ones. The result is health problems, such as high blood pressure (hypertension).
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Similar studies found that taking probiotics helps to lower blood pressure, as it regulates the balance of your gut bacteria. With kefir being an excellent source of probiotics, it became a focal point for research.
Using rats, scientists studied the effects of kefir supplementation on hypertension. After nine weeks, those treated with kefir displayed lower levels of endotoxins, which are toxins known to disrupt cell function.
They also had lower blood pressure readings and improved intestinal permeability. A healthy gut will allow some substances to pass but acts as a barrier to harmful substances, so improved permeability protects you from harm.
Kefir supplementation also restored a natural balance for four different bacterial strains within the gut and balanced an enzyme known for ensuring normal nervous system function.
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These two findings suggested that both the digestive and nervous systems function together to impact hypertension. With the gut-brain axis being a known feature within the body, it seems that kefir can help to strengthen the communication between the two systems.
The gut-brain axis allows for the bacteria in your gut to communicate with your immune system and your nervous system. Where there is an imbalance in gut bacteria, your gut is essentially in distress. The message is then relayed to your brain, and hypertension results.
By regulating the gut microbiome and keeping it balanced, your brain receives normal transmissions and blood pressure can be better regulated.
Bringing Kefir on Board
Hypertension is a dangerous medical condition that affects millions in the United States. High blood pressure interferes with blood flow and places great strain on your arteries and heart.
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Prolonged exposure to the excessive force in your arteries causes damage that, if left untreated, can be irreversible. A poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress all contribute to hypertension, which increases your risk significantly for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
The research above indicated that probiotics, like kefir or probiotic supplements, can help to regulate blood pressure. By creating a balanced gut microbiome, messages between the gut and brain are positive and no distress is detected.
Your gut bacteria are essential to your overall health, so maintaining the balance is critical. Poor diet causes the balance to shift in favor of toxic bacterial strains.
This not only increases your blood pressure, but it also increases your risk of other serious conditions.
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Adding kefir to your diet is a natural way to restore balance to your gut microbiome and to restore overall health to your body. In fact, there are several ways that kefir can help improve your well-being outside of regulating your blood pressure.
While yogurt is the go-to source for probiotics these days, kefir contains more probiotics and more nutrients, making it a much healthier option.
Antibacterial properties: Kefir contains cultures that possess antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that these properties can even help protect you from bacterial strains as serious as E. coli and Salmonella.
Boost bone health: Calcium is the number one mineral required for strong and healthy bones. Adequate calcium intake can protect you from osteoporosis.
Kefir that is made from full fat dairy is an abundant source of calcium and vitamin K2. This vitamin is critical for calcium metabolism and so becomes required in caring for your bone health.
Kefir provides the natural ingredients that your body needs to maximize calcium absorption and increase bone density.
Cancer protection: Cancer is one of the scariest diseases out there, and without a definitive cure, it is something we all dread. The probiotics in kefir not only stimulate your immune system but they are believed to inhibit tumor growth.
While the studies have only been in labs and not with live humans, the results are promising.
Improved digestive health: The studies discussed already indicate that kefir helps your gut bacterial balance. Probiotics like kefir, help to restore health to a damaged digestive system and can protect you from illnesses, such as leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.
Even if you do not suffer from these diseases, kefir can help maintain regular flow to your digestive tract and prevent stomach aches, diarrhea, and gas or bloating.
Better than dairy: Because kefir doesn’t contain lactose, it is an excellent alternative for lactose-intolerant individuals. Milk delivers several essential vitamins and minerals. For lactose intolerance, though, another option is needed.
Kefir provides the same nutrients and more; plus, it is easier on the digestive system. Lactose intolerance often causes people to become malnourished because it interferes with nutrient absorption. With kefir in place of milk, you can be assured that you will get all the nutrition you need.
The Bottom Line
Your gut and your brain are in constant communication. When one system is down, the other can falter too. There is a reason that mental disorders like anxiety and depression are strongly linked with digestive troubles.
An unhappy gut can cause high blood pressure too, which increases your risk for serious cardiovascular problems.
Kefir not only provides nutrients and benefits to your whole body, but it balances your gut and keeps it happy. Probiotics like kefir might be might have gained popularity for boosting digestive health, but they do so much more. Combating hypertension is just the latest benefit to be discovered.
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