A Gut Doctor's Favorite Microbiome-Boosting Tonic Is Crazy Easy To Make

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In my clinical practice, I have found that fermented foods can have a huge impact on the health of the gut. Fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and kefir, are rich in probiotic lactobacillus bacteria that help balance the gut ecology and promote a healthy gut lining. Fermentation was a way to prolong the shelf life of foods back in ancient times. Coincidentally, fermentation was an accidental discovery, which augmented the symbiotic relationship with bacteria that we evolved with over hundreds of years.

While you might be familiar with kombucha, water kefir is a caffeine-free alternative that uses a different type of bacteria to make a fizzy, delicious soda. It's dairy-free, easy to make in less than 48 hours, and has been shown to help lower anxiety scores. It also keeps for weeks in the fridge, so you can sip a bit of the gut-healing beverage daily! Here's my go-to recipe.

Coconut Water Kefir

A healthy prebiotic- and probiotic-rich carbonated beverage great for helping to balance your gut ecosystem.

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons water kefir grains*
  • 4 cups pasteurized coconut water
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries or blueberries (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (optional)

* Water kefir grains can be found in natural-food stores or online at Amazon. With proper care, the culture can be used indefinitely to create probiotic-rich kefir. Your grains will not grow as quickly in coconut water as they will in a nice bath of nutrient-rich sugar. Refresh and reactivate the kefir grains in sugar water (¼ cup sugar in 4 cups water) for 24 to 48 hours between batches of Coconut Water Kefir. The sugar water will keep the grains healthy for the long term.

Method

  1. Place the water kefir grains and the coconut water in a jar. Cover the jar loosely with a lid or cheesecloth and allow the kefir grains to culture the coconut water for ideally 24 to 36 (and no longer than 48) hours at room temperature.
  2. Once the culturing is complete (the mixture will have thickened), remove the kefir grains with a slotted spoon and store in a separate glass container filled with filtered water and a teaspoon of sugar to keep the kefir grains alive and active.
  3. You may drink the Coconut Water Kefir by itself, but for an added twist, puree the cultured coconut water with the berries and lemon juice in a blender to your desired consistency. The Coconut Water Kefir will last 1 to 3 weeks in the fridge; when blended with the berries and lemon juice, it will last for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. Serve cold.

Want more gut-healing goodness? This is my favorite snack for gut health.

And are you feeling a little fatigued? Feel like something's just not right, but Western Medicine tells you, "you're fine"? Jason Wachob, founder & CEO of mindbodygreen, tells all in his health story. Sign up now for FREE!

Vincent M. Pedre, M.D.

Gut Health Specialist & Best-Selling Author
Dr. Vincent M. Pedre, medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and president of Dr. Pedre Wellness, is a board-certified internist in private practice in New York City since 2004. His philosophy and practices are a blend of both Western and Eastern medical traditions. He is a clinical instructor in medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is certified in yoga and medical acupuncture. His unique methodology is best described as integrative or defined by a functional, systems-based approach to health. With his holistic understanding of both sides of the equation, he can help each patient choose the best course of action for their ailments to provide both immediate and long-term relief. His holistic approach incorporates positive, preventive health and wellness lifestyle choices. Dr. Pedre Wellness is a growing wellness platform offering health-enhancing programs along with informative social media and lifestyle products, such as dietary supplements, books, and weight-loss programs.
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Vincent M. Pedre, M.D.

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