healthy nutrition

Water Kefir Recipes: Health Benefits and Possible Side Effects

Probiotic drinks have become a trend. But since vegetarians do not use animal products, water kefir recipes can be a healthy alternative for them. This fermented blend of probiotic cultures can quickly turn into a favorite beverage of health conscious people thanks to its delicious taste and nutrients. You can also make water kefir yourself at home to add to a dairy-free or vegan diet. However, along with the many health benefits, there are also a few side effects that you should be aware of when consuming it. Just read on to learn more about it and enjoy water kefir healthily.

Good reasons for water kefir recipes

own production of water kefir with crystals in the glass

So water kefir is a fermented drink full of probiotics and other healthy ingredients. It contains live bacteria and yeasts that have a significant impact on our intestinal flora. This is also the main reason why you include this or other fermented probiotic foods in your diet. However, the tasty drink contains not only a lot of probiotics, but also strengthens immunity, slows down the growth of cancer cells. So it can improve overall health. The fermentation process takes from 24 to 48 hours and the drink can be an alternative substitute for the milk kefir. Probiotic supplements are a great way to restore your gut flora. When you buy or make your own water kefir, you will naturally gain such good bacteria instead of taking nutritional supplements. So in this post you will find some uses of this fermented drink if you make water kefir yourself and want to conjure up your own products with it.

suitable seasonal fruits for the fermentation process with water kefir such as pineapple and oranges as well as cherries and strawberries

Although traditional kefir is made from cow, sheep or goat milk, water kefir allows you to minimize the consumption of animal products. At the same time, you can fully enjoy the benefits of its healthy ingredient. Since this is also thinner than conventional kefir, you can combine it with fruit, vegetables, herbs or spices and enjoy it instead of high-calorie drinks. For example, you can buy water kefir crystals and mix them with sugar water so that you can make water kefir and benefit from its advantages. When dieting, water kefir allows you to reduce calories and lose weight effectively. In this way you optimize your intestinal health at the same time so that you feel great. In addition, the drink tastes delicious and refreshing. Water kefir is low in calories but high in probiotics, including a variety of beneficial strains of bacteria. In fact, scientific studies have shown that water kefir is one of the best probiotics food sources available and can contain up to 56 different strains of yeast and bacteria.

Water kefir ingredients

Manufacture of water kefir crystals buy health food store and at home make water kefir yourself with a sieve and glass

Water kefir is a symbiotic mixture of different bacteria and yeasts that are enclosed in a white soft shell and that form crystals. They are also called tibicos or Japanese water crystals. The bacteria and yeast live on sugar in all forms. This makes water kefir one of the most affordable fermented probiotic drinks out there. A sugary solution is all the probiotic bacteria need to feed. They feed on sugar and thus produce lactic acid, which gives it the slightly spicy taste. Because of the fermentation, such a drink also contains around 0.5% alcohol and carbon dioxide. So water kefir can be the best probiotic drink for those who cannot consume dairy products. It’s a perfect substitute for milk kefir.

enjoy a pure probiotic drink with lemon against stomach problems

Making water kefir is very easy. Just pour water into a glass bottle and add sugar and the starter cultures. Let it ferment for 24-48 hours. As mentioned above, water kefir increases the effect on intestinal health through probiotics and beneficial bacteria that can support this. Studies show that probiotics can have far-reaching health effects. In fact, immunity and mental health, as well as metabolism, can benefit. Start by slowly introducing water kefir into your daily diet. You can do this at 1/2 cup per day initially and then gradually increase the dose. You will likely feel the effects quickly if you don’t eat or drink fermented foods on a regular basis. However, it depends on how sensitive your stomach is and what diet you are following.

Use in traditional medicine

small bowl of water kefir healthy for the digestive tract and with many advantages

Foods like kefir are often included in traditional forms of medicine. They are believed to have powerful healing properties due to their probiotic content and nutritional content. For example, in an Ayurvedic diet, fermented foods like kefir are highly recommended because the fermentation process promotes digestion and facilitates the absorption of nutrients.

Probiotic foods can also help balance the gut microbiome and prevent health issues associated with digestive issues. Similarly, the fermentation process has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a practice that goes back centuries and is based on ancient brewing technologies used in China. Fermenting certain foods like kefir can improve digestive health and enhance the healing properties of certain ingredients used in holistic medicine.

Possible side effects from water kefir recipes

possible effects of water kefir after first consumption shown as stomach pain and increased stool

The reactions can be noticeable and get more intense until your body adapts. Typically, this shows up through increased bowel movements. What happens is that the bad bacteria are flushed out of your body and new good bacteria are brought in. Sometimes it takes a good 2 weeks for your bowel movements to return to normal. Once your intestines are repopulated with benign bacteria, you will no longer feel the unpleasant symptoms. Then you will notice more energy, clearer skin, and increased immunity. Drink as much as you want because the path to good health is linked to good gut health. With moderate consumption, the potential dangers for water kefir or the side effects of kefir are minimal.

woman in the forest drinks water kefir side effects such as diarrhea or stomach problems are possible

As with other probiotic foods, taking kefir regularly can cause digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and stomach cramps. This is especially true the first time you include this in your diet. Such problems subside over time with continued use. If you have a condition that affects your immune system, you should speak to your doctor before consuming more water kefir. While most research shows that probiotics are safe to consume by these people, there are case reports as well. These indicate that probiotics may be associated with a higher risk of infection in people with impaired immune function. Finally, due to the fermentation process, water kefir contains a very small amount of alcohol. Depending on the duration of the fermentation for water kefir recipes, this can vary in the mixture. The more sugar, the greater the alcohol content. If you have any concerns about the alcohol content during fermentation, consider using a hydrometer to test the concentration.

Store water kefir

Buy glass bottles with different types of water kefir or fill them yourself

In order to obtain the living cultures of the benign bacteria and healing effects through water kefir, you must be able to store them well. These jelly-like grains can usually survive for a long time. However, there are sometimes issues to deal with when making water kefir. For example, temperature is an important factor in the fermentation of the crystals. If you live in a cooler climate, the bacteria cannot multiply as quickly and thrive as they do in the warmth. For this reason, a 48-hour fermentation instead of a 24-hour fermentation is recommended in winter. This way, more sugar is eaten up and the fizzy drink builds up better. The grains also need a chance to get used to the new water. You must therefore always follow the exact same process and use the same ingredients. Changing the variables like the types of sugar or the amount confuses the grains.

seal probiotic drink and starter cultures in glass with muslin cloth and let ferment for water kefir preparation

The nice thing about doing water kefir recipes like this is that you can stop and start whenever you want. You can put the grains to sleep by freezing the first glass of water kefir or by placing them in plain water in the refrigerator. This way the bacteria get “hungry” and can rarely produce unless you are ready to start over. They can survive in the refrigerator for up to three months. The size doesn’t really matter. After using small crystals to make your first water kefir, they can get quite large. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make them better. When the grains are smaller, there is actually more surface area involved, which allows you to make a better water kefir. The starter cultures also tend to reproduce more when they are smaller. So here are step-by-step water kefir instructions that you can do yourself at home.

Basic recipe water kefir

full glass with water kefir and fermented bacteria for digestion and general health

It’s important to get started with starter cultures by buying water kefir from a health food store or visiting an online retailer. Another way to make the bacteria is to borrow some of them. Each time you make water kefir yourself, several populations are created that you can then reuse to make a new batch. However, you should not confuse these with the starter cultures for milk kefir, which are fed with lactose in milk.

hands hold water kefir store as crystals or freeze water kefir in the freezer

Rather, they’re a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria that make probiotics and enzymes during the fermentation process. The stories about the origins of the grains seem to suggest that they came from Mexico, where they appeared as crystals on the leaves of cactus plants. The whole process usually takes 3 days. After you’ve put everything together, once you’ve added fruits and flavors, you can let the mixture ferment for 2 days and then for another day.


close up of water kefir instructions and making with crystals

Although water kefir recipes are high in sugar, most of it is eaten up by the grains during the fermentation process. This information may be useful as you monitor your sugar intake. All you need for the basic recipe are the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup starter cultures
  • 2 glasses and another larger glass to add the fruit
  • 8 cups of filtered water
  • ½ cup of raw sugar
  • Sieve
  • Fruit of your choice for any flavor
  • A few sultanas (organic, sulfite-free)
  • ¼- ½ teaspoon treacle


Make elderberry blossoms and strawberries with water kefir as a drink and enjoy

  • First, pour the 3 cups of filtered water into each of the 2 glasses. Mineral water is usually a better choice because of all the minerals, but filtered water seems to work just as well. Just try to avoid chlorinated water.
  • Add the sugar to 2 cups of warm water and stir until it dissolves. Then divide this evenly into the 2 glasses.
  • Then it’s time to add the crystals for the water kefir recipes. The grains look as if they were small, transparent, slightly gold-colored blobs of paint the size of half a grain of rice.

Add water kefir recipes with molasses syrup to the fermented mixture with sugar

  • Then add a few drops of molasses (approx. ¼ – ½ teaspoon) to each glass. This is optional, but treacle is high in minerals and nutrients, and has a nice malty taste that adds depth and character to the kefir. Add about 5 sultanas to each glass as this will also improve the flavor and add extra sweetness.
  • Then attach a muslin cloth or paper to the opening and let it stand at room temperature or in a warming cabinet when it is cold.
  • Try the water kefir in a few days to see if the drink has fermented. You can recognize this by its slightly spicy, fizzy taste. Then strain it from the grains with a sieve into a new glass.
  • With the grains you can then fill a new glass with the sugar water as in the steps above. With the drained water, add some chopped fruit of your choice (usually about ¼ – ½ cup per 4 cups of water kefir).
  • It is best to use the fruits of the season, although you can add ginger to your water kefir.

Additional fruits for water kefir recipes

Recipe water kefir combine ginger and lemon with cane sugar and grated lemon peel

For 4 cups of kefir you can use the juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, 2 pinches of ginger powder, ½ teaspoon of lemon peel and ½ tablespoon of honey. If you also have ripe pears, you can add a few pieces of them. Strawberries or other mixed berries, as well as passion fruit, peach and pineapple are also perfect for this. Then put a lid on and let it ferment for another day. It should be even more bubbly afterwards. Finally, strain the fruit again and place the drink in the refrigerator. You can easily enjoy your kefir after the first fermentation process. However, some choose to give water kefir a second fermentation which allows you to add flavor and fizz to your final product.

young woman pouring fermented probiotic drink into a glass on the beach

Before fermenting your kefir a second time, add an assortment of fruits, juices, or natural sweeteners and set it in a warm place for another 24 to 48 hours. Add water kefir to smoothies, trade it in for sodas, or consume it neat for a refreshing, bubbly indulgence that is guilt-free and full of goodness.