Benefits of Kvass
Kvass is yet another traditional ferment which is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Originating in Eastern Europe and Russia, kvass is now becoming known and liked in many other countries as well.
Kvass’s History as a Health Tonic
In premodern times kvass was valued for its believed health benefits. It was often drunk in preference to water in places where water sources were contaminated. Kvass was considered to hold antiseptic properties and have the ability to fight infection, and for these reasons it was also sometimes drunk as a precursory measure before coming into contact with sick people. Besides being considered a protector against disease, kvass was thought to be a general health tonic with other strengthening properties.
Modern Day Kvass Health Benefits
Modern day research with regards to fermentation and the base ingredients of kvass has shown that the beliefs of past days which surround kvass are eerily accurate. Studies (1,2) have shown that products of fermentation are extremely beneficial for the immune system. This supports the millennium old belief in kvass and its power to keep disease and illness at bay.
Kvass the Probiotic General Tonic
Kvass’s place as a health drink and general tonic is more than backed up recent research. Published studies (3) on fermented foods have shown that fermented food and drink can be beneficial and helpful for a wide array of health problems and areas of the body.
The Power of Probiotics
The reason why kvass and other products of fermentation can have such a wide and varied positive impact on health is because they are a natural source of probiotics. Probiotics have come into the limelight recently as a key to good health and vitality. This is because they have the power to populate and balance the GI tract with its naturally occurring microbes. These organisms are what imbue it with most of its functions and capabilities.
In fact – probiotic bacteria play once of the most critical roles in the digestive system. Without them all of the basic functions of eating, digestion, absorbing nutrition and elimination of waste and toxins would be severely impaired. If not totally impossible!
While the first and foremost effect of probiotics is to strengthen the digestive system, the positive impact reaches much further. This is because enhanced nutrient uptake and availability, as well as waste excretion, supports and optimizes the functioning of many other areas of the body. Exciting isn’t it! To give you are idea of how many different areas probiotics can be of benefit to, have a look at the below list.
Areas of health for which fermented foods can be beneficial:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- High blood cholesterol
- Urinary tract infections
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- HIV and impaired immune function
- Alleviation of food intolerances
- Inflammation & arthritis
- Liver disease
- Impaired nutrients synthesis
Source of Nutrients
Besides containing probiotic bacteria, and all the health benefits which they bring – kvass is also a source of nutrients.
Vitamins & Minerals In Bread Kvass (10 ounce serving)
- Vitamin B12 12 %
- Selenium 7.4 %
- Manganese 7.2 %
- Thiamine 5.0 %
- Folate 3.6 %
- Vitamin B2 3.5 %
- Niacin 3.2 %
- Iron 2.8 %
- Copper 2.4 %
- Phosphorus 2.3 %
- Magnesium 2.2 %
Vitamins & Minerals In Beet Kvass (8 ounce serving)
- Vitamin A 0.2 %
- Calcium 1.1 %
- Vitamin B12 0.4 %
- Copper 1.1 %
- Vitamin B6 0.9 %
- Folate 5.6 %
- Vitamin C 1.8 %
- Iron 1.4 %
- Vitamin E 0.3 %
- Magnesium 1.8 %
- Manganese 11.8 %
- Niacin 0.4 %
- Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
- Phosphorus 1.2 %
- Riboflavin 1.2 %
- Selenium 0.5 %
- Thiamin 0.6 %
- Zinc 2%
Beet Kvass versus Bread Kvass: Health Benefits
Beet kvass can be made from a variety of ingredients, but the two main kinds are bread kvass and beet kvass. With regards to health benefits it is important to distinguish between these two main variations.
Being a fermented product and therefore a probiotic, bread kvass is definitely a super healthy beverage. If it is made with good quality bread then it will also contain decent amounts of fibre (for a drink!) as well as the nutrition from the grain out of which the bread is made. However, it is not regarded quite as highly as its ruby red counterpart, beet kvass. Here is why.
Because beet kvass is made out of the base ingredient of beetroots, the finished product carries with it the health properties of those uber healthy red root tubers. Beetroots have been known to be highly beneficial for the liver and bloodstream, as well as being a source of vitamins and minerals.
Beets are beneficial for the liver because they are able to assist it to process and excrete toxins. They can prevent it from storing toxins, and from becoming inflamed due too much stress placed upon it.
Beetroots are good for healthy blood because they contain a set of substances called betalains which are used by the body for the production of new red blood cells. Isnt it funny that a food the color of blood is naturally good for the blood!
Additional Vitamins and Minerals
It is for these added benefits of detoxification, as well as the additional minerals and vitamins which beetroot brings, that beet kvass is considered more of a ‘health drink’ than bread kvass. As you can see from the above contents of vitamins and minerals specific to both beet kvass and bread kvass, beet kvass contains more than bread kvass. Here is a short list of the additional vitamins and minerals which are found in beet kvass and not in bread kvass.
Vitamins & Minerals Found in Beet Kvass and Not in Bread Kvass
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
As you can see, both beet kvass and bread kvass are bursting with health benefits. Due to the inherent health benefits of beetroots, beet kvass often is considered by the ‘health world’ to be the better of the two kvasses. However this does not mean that bread kvass is not a super healthy drink. Because bread kvass is a probiotic it can have just as beneficial effect on the digestive system as beet kvass. If however you have blood or liver problems, then beet kvass would make for a good choice of kvasses.
Interestingly, our ancestors largely believed that fermented beverages possessed health benefits. As one compares the supposed health benefits of traditional fermented drinks with modern research, there starts to emerge a common thread of agreement. Although it is highly unlikely that any food or drink can stand as a magical cure all – products of fermentation definitely deserve a place on the kitchen counter as faithful friends to our health.