When making your cup of tea, do you add honey? How about milk?Lemon perhaps? All of these additions seem pretty common and widely accepted, but for years, centuries even, people have been adding bacteria.
Kombucha, a drink made of tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast, has been around for centuries, so don’t call it a Health Fad. It is a fermented tea that’s been around for about 2,000 years, originating in East Asia. Kombucha is often called the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and is known for its many health benefits. Said to benefit the brain, skin, heart and gut, Kombucha is here to stay and here’s why you should be drinking it too!
Kombucha is rich in probiotics. The drink goes through a fermentation process that results in a tart, carbonated beverage. Made with black and/or green tea, sugar from various sources (honey, cane sugar, fruit), and specific strains of bacteria and yeast, kombucha sits for a week or more. During this brewing time, or fermentation, it develops a top layer. This top layer is known as SCOBY, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, and can be used to ferment a new batch of kombucha. Through this process the kombucha develops acidic compounds, including vinegar, which would explain why so many people compare kombucha’s taste to that of vinegar. The process also produces trace levels of alcohol and gas, hence the carbonation. The bacteria produced in the fermentation process are good bacteria that can improve your health in many ways. The bacteria found in kombucha are also found in the natural lining of your gut. It can help with inflammation, weight loss, and digestion.
I started drinking Kombucha because I felt my body was off balance.After returning from a trip to Mexico, my body was screaming for help. I was no longer regular, my skin had broken out in hives and I couldn’t control my cravings. I had been back and forth with a friend about the importance of a healthy gut. When you’re feeling backed up, uncomfortable, experiencing changes in your appetite, or even experiencing drastic changes in you skin, there’s a chance you need to attend to your digestive tract. I decided to start taking a daily probiotic and drinking one serving of Kombucha each day. Although studies on the health benefits of kombucha are limited, adding it to my diet may have been the best decision of my life because not only did it reverse all that I was feeling post-vacation, but it also started to help with issues that I would experience before my trip. I’ve always had issues with eczema, acne and breakouts and my love for sugar has never helped, so by adding this health drink to my diet, I was helping to clear my system of all the things that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
I’ve tried different brands of Kombucha, and while all of them have that very distinct taste, they’re not all created equal. I do my best to buy organic whenever possible and so it’s important for me to look for those brands that use organic ingredients. Why? The Kombucha is meant to help with clearing the digestive tract of foods that are not good for you, which includes artificial, genetically modified foods. If your Kombucha isn’t made with organic ingredients, it’s made with the same materials that you’re trying to clear out.
Some things to consider:
While there are plenty of raving reviews surrounding Kombucha, again studies on its benefits are limited. It’s been around for 2,000 years, and for good reason, but scientific testing has only been done on lab mice and in test tubes. It’s also important to be careful of homemade Kombucha brews, as sanitary standards may not be so high. We’re dealing with bacteria here, so contamination should be a concern. Alcohol is a natural by-product of fermentation, so those trace levels mentioned earlier can amount to about 0.5% Alcohol By Volume. Keep that in mind, especially if you drink more than the recommended 4 ounces daily.
You can find Kombucha at all major grocery stores and drugstores.A bottle can typically fall between $2.50 and $6, depending on the brand and where you purchase it.