Description: Kefir, which actually means “Good Feeling” in Turkish, is an ancient drink made from cultured milk. Delicious and healthful, it has antibiotic and antifungal properties, is more nutritive and easier to digest than yogurt, and is rich with enzymes, friendly bacteria, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Kefir helps restore balance to the intestinal flora, so it is an excellent aid to balancing the digestive system. It is slightly tangy in flavor and can be purchased from natural food stores, or, easily made at home by combining fresh, raw milk with live kefir clusters or packages of powdered kefir culture. Homemade kefir should always be created from raw milk, which can be from cow, goat or water buffalo. For a completely dairy-free alternative, it can be made from coconut water.

What to look for: Raw, organic kefir. Kefir must be raw to preserve its beneficial enzymes. To make your own, search for kefir curds online. There is ample additional information available online relating to everything kefir.

Uses: Delicious, soothing and healing in many ways, kefir has been used to treat metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, allergies, tuberculosis, cancer, poor digestion, candidiasis, osteoporosis, hypertension, HIV and heart disease. It can be substituted for yogurt as a topping to cereals, mixed with fresh fruit, in smoothies, or simply as a refreshing drink on its own.

Where to find: Health Food Stores and Online Resources. Starter kits are also available from specialty stores and online, and come with complete instructions.

Avoid: Kefir that is not raw and organic.