What is Kombucha?
There’s a new bubbly beverage out there that has been saturating shelves everywhere from natural food stores to gas stations. It’s carbonated, slightly sweet, slightly tart, unfiltered and called Kombucha. But what exactly is Kombucha, and more importantly, what makes it so good for us?
For starters, Kombucha originated about 2,000 years ago in the Far East. It was prized for its vast health benefits stemming from our heart to our brain and gut. We have a plethora of healthy bacteria in our gut, which is also the location of our immune system and constantly sends signals to our brain. Kombucha has been used along with other fermented foods to help support diversity and healthy levels of gut bacteria.
Kombucha is made mostly from black tea and a sweet source like sugar, honey or fruit. It contains a SCOBY, or, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, that causes the beverage to ferment as it is fed by the sugar. Once the mixture starts to ferment, carbonation forms and the flavor profile changes based on how long it ferments. Simple taste tests along a 7-10 day period will yield the acidity most agreeable to our taste buds. Once the ideal flavor has been reached, the majority of the fermented tea is removed from the scoby and bottled. Traces of live bacterial strains may remain in the beverage and are part of what makes this drink so good for us!
What makes Kombucha different from other sweet carbonated beverages is that it’s packed with naturally occurring components that can sky-rocket our health. It contains B-vitamins such as B12, that is known to boost our mental health. It also contains cellulose-producing bacteria that help protect our cells. The naturally occurring probiotics, acids and enzymes support digestion, gut health and protect us against harmful bacteria. A high antioxidant load reduces inflammation and helps prevent diseases. Studies have also shown it to be beneficial to cardiovascular health, lowering triglycerides and regulating cholesterol naturally.
When it comes to adding kombucha into our diets, a slow approach is usually best received. As kombucha is higher in acidity it can cause some digestive symptoms for people with poor gut health, stomach ulcers or heartburn. Starting off with small doses is a great way to slowly start reaping health benefits while testing the waters of our own tolerance. Gradually we can work to a larger quantity, and enjoy a delicious beverage while we cheers to our health!
- Jung, Youngmi, et al. “Effect of Kombucha on Gut-Microbiota in Mouse Having Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” Food Science and Biotechnology, Springer Singapore, 12 July 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30815318.
- Axe, Josh. “This ‘Immortal Health Elixir’ Protects Your Gut & Fights Food Poisoning Pathogens (and More!).” Dr. Axe, 21 Feb. 2019, draxe.com/7-reasons-drink-kombucha-everyday/