A Functional Milk Beverage: Kefir
Recently, beneficial effects of functional dairy products which are supported with many studies attract consumer interest. At this point kefir; which has a very old history, is a fermented milk product obtained as a result of alcohol and lactic acid fermentation via using grain or culture. Besides being produced by milk, synthesis of certain vitamins, partial disintegration of protein and lactose during the production increase the nutritional value of kefir. Many studies particularly about gastrointestinal diseases and health-related properties of kefir like; ability to control certain types of cancer, cholesterol-lowering effect and effects on the immune system had carried out and positive results were achieved.
Kefir is a slightly sour, alcoholic and sparkling milk product produced in many countries with different names like “Kephir, Kiaphur, Kefyr, Kepher and Kype”. It is produced for thousands of years in mountain villages of North Caucasus and steps from Northeastern Caucasus to Mongolia and spread from here to other countries. It is reported that according to the many literatures, the word of kefir derived from the Turkish word “keyf” which means “good feeling” (1 - 4).
Kefir gained popularity since the second half of 19. century in the eastern and central European countries and at the end of the same century it started to be produced industrially for the first time in the former Soviet Union. Today, high amounts of kefir are consum