Sip Your Way to Cleopatra's Complexion

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It's no surprise foods labeled as fermented, raw or probiotic send some stomachs churning. But if you’ve tried kombucha tea, sipped on a glass of beer or wine or finally dipped your spoon into the Greek yogurt craze, you may want to give what's known as the "ancient elixir of longevity," or kefir (keh-FEER), a try.

Kefir milk, discovered in the mountains of Causacus and believed to be one of the oldest cultured milk products in existence, has been used for centuries both as a beauty and health aid. Fermented with different types of bacteria, kefir offers more beneficial microorganisms (probiotics) than traditional yogurt and is more tolerable for the lactose intolerant. Once considered a "gift from the gods,” this mildly sweet, yet slightly tangy beverage is said to boost the immune system, aid in digestion, clear acne and even keep you slim.

When lathered on skin, this silky substance delivers anti-aging and skin-brightening benefits that Cleopatra—who attributed her flawless skin to soaking in milk baths—would envy. Similar to fruit-derived enzymes, kefir milk contains alphahydroxy acid (AHAs) in the form of lactic acid. This means cleansing, scrubbing and moisturizing with the "mysterious magic milk" will gently remove dead skin cells, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fading age spots and freckles.

Kefir milk can be used as a nutrient-rich base for smoothies, dips and desserts. For an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich breakfast that requires little preparation, add fresh raspberries and lemon zest to a glass of kefir milk. You can also make your own hair conditioner, hand creams and facial masks with kefir. To achieve a radiant complexion without spending a fortune or irritating sensitive skin, apply three tablespoons of ground almonds with a one-third cup of kefir to your entire face. Gently remove with a warm cloth after about 15 minutes.

Have you ever tried Kefir or any other milk product to boost your beauty? Tell us in the comments below.

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