Both kefir and whey protein offer ways to boost your nutritional intake while providing additional health benefits. You may wonder which of these dietary supplements has more to offer you. On the surface, both products provide ways to increase your protein intake. To determine which may be better, look beyond their nutritional content to see which is more appropriate for your body’s needs.
Kefir vs. Whey Protein
Kefir and whey protein are similar in that they can come from the same source, namely, cow’s milk. Kefir is a fermented cow's milk product, but it can also contain goat or sheep milk, too. Whey protein is one of two proteins found in cow’s milk, explains the Whey Protein Institute, that is isolated from milk during the cheese-making process. It is refined and dried to produce whey powder.
Benefits of Kefir
Kefir contains probiotics such as live bacteria and yeasts because of its fermentation. These micro-organisms support the immune system of the body, helping it fight off disease-causing bacteria and other pathogens. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, these good bacteria found in kefir can help treat gastrointestinal distress, urinary tract infections and irritable bowel syndrome, among other conditions. In addition to these benefits, kefir is an excellent source of protein and other vital nutrients. A single one-cup serving provides 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for calcium.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Whey protein is an easily digested form of protein that you can use to supplement your protein intake. Because it is a powder, you can add it to any smoothie recipe or liquid, boosting its nutritional value. Whey differs from some proteins in that it is a complete protein. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And amino acids are the building blocks for proteins that the body uses to repair tissue and build muscle mass.
Both kefir and whey protein can improve your athletic performance. A 2007 study in the “Current Sports Medicine Reports” found that probiotics such as those found in kefir helped athletes recover from fatigue after workouts. Likewise, the Whey Protein Institute explains that whey protein can help the body repair muscle tissue damaged during workouts. Both products can provide nutritional support for physical activity.
One option you may consider to receive the benefits of kefir and whey protein is to use the two together. You can make a delicious nutritious shake by combining a cup of kefir with the recommended serving of whey protein. In this way, you can take advantage of both the immune function support of kefir and the nutritional value of whey protein in one beverage. As with any nutritional supplement, consult your doctor before adding kefir or whey protein to your diet. Either product may be inappropriate for lactose-intolerant individuals.
- Whey Protein Institute: Whey Protein FAQ's
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Introduction to Probiotics
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- “Current Sports Medicine Reports”; Probiotics and Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review; A. Nichols; July 2007
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Acidophilus and Other Probiotics