In my last post, I introduced the topic of why probiotics are good for healing diabetes. Today, I want to talk specifically about yogurt versus kefir as foods to obtaining the best probiotics for diabetics.
First, however, I want to stress that it is always important to eat a variety of natural foods both for your health in general and when you are curing your diabetes. This is especially true for probiotics because every brand and every source is different, even if it is labeled exactly the same. For example, two different brands of yogurt can list the same three species of live bacteria. However, the strains of the bacteria may be different even though they are the same species. There is much variation in the strains used and how they are cultured and prepared.
There are two primary differences between kefir and yogurt:
1. Kefir contains a far wider diversity of probiotics than yogurt, i.e. more species/strains of probiotics.
2. Kefir also contains much stronger strains of probiotics.
These two differences mean that the probiotics in kefir have a much higher chance of colonizing your gut on a permanent basis, or at least a semi-permanent basis until something really strong like antibiotics or disease kills them off. However, the probiotics found in almost all commercial brands of yogurt do not colonize the gut permanently. They are usually more beneficial in improving conditions for the good bacteria that already reside them. Therefore, most yogurt "probiotics" would be more accurately called "prebiotics."
Does this mean you should stop eating yogurt and switch to kefir entirely? No! Yogurt is a very healthy food and will help feed the healthy bacteria already established in your gut. However, you should not expect the probiotics in yogurt to significantly change the flora in your gut on a permanent basis (no matter what those Activia ads may suggest!).
Because kefir provides semi-permanent colonization of the gut, I do not think it is necessary to eat kefir every day. What I try to do is eat some kefir at least every couple of weeks or so to make sure I re-inoculate my gut in case I've done anything to disrupt my healthy population. I also alternate between brands of kefir get more variety. In between, I eat high quality brands of yogurt that contain more variety than just the standard strains. I believe that both kefit and yogurt are important foods to eat if you want to reverse diabetes.
Kefir not only contains beneficial bacteria, it also contains beneficial yeasts (single celled fungi) as well. These include Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces delbruecki, Saccharomyces kefir, and Torula kefir. Kefir is cultured from milk innoculated with kefir grains that contain these beneficial yeasts as well as a very wide variety of beneficial bacteria.
Besides my bi-weekly intake of kefir, I enjoy yogurt 4-7 times a week. I usually buy my yogurt at natural food stores because they have more variety and better quality. My personal favorite is Liberte (a Canadian yogurt). This is one of the foods that I used to reverse my diabetes and also maintain a healthy body now and maintain my high quality of life. Food is literally like taking medicine or poison depending on what you eat. If you have diabetes, I just can't emphasize enough that you should get the information I link to at the top of this page. In it, you will find ALL the foods you need to eat, the specific details you need to know, and much more.
Update: I now culture raw milk either with yogurt starter powders (you can order these online) or I just put in a warm place and let it clabber which turns into a consistency of yogurt... it's basically "super yogurt" as it is like yogurt only with far more variety of probiotics.