WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. Created by combining black or green tea with yeast, sugar, and bacteria and allowing it to ferment for a week or more.
Once the fermentation process is complete you are left with the SCOBY, otherwise known as the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, which resembles a mushroom-like film on the surface.
This mushroom-like film is what makes Kombucha packed with healthy gut-healing bacteria. Fizzy like a soda, with a unique, somewhat sour taste, Kombucha has a unique taste unlike anything else.
HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA
The simple answer is you combine sugar, tea, water, bacteria and yeast and let it all ferment for 7-10 days. The final product is packed with healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) and antioxidants all of which are responsible for the health benefits Kombucha connoisseurs boast about.
The fermentation process that creates the distinct Kombucha flavor profile is also what packs this beverage full of healthy probiotics.
Some of the probiotics that have been found in various Kombuchas' include gluconacetobacter, acetobacter, lactobacillus, and zygosaccharomyces.
Most-likely those probiotic names mean nothing to you, but needless to say there are many benefits from these probiotics aiding your overall digestion, helping manage your weight and regulating your blood sugar levels.
When drinking Kombucha you want it to be pasteurized. Otherwise, you are killing these helpful bacteria. If you are drinking pasteurized Kombucha you are essentially drinking a fizzy sweet tea.
Brewed with tea, especially when brewed with green tea, antioxidants are present in Kombucha.
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which cause destruction to the DNA and lead to the development of cancer over time.
Polyphenols a subcategory of antioxidants are also known for their ability to reduce the development of diabetes, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
The fermentation process also creates acetic acid as well as other acids.
Similar to the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, acetic acid kills harmful bacteria in your gut, including strains like Candida, E. Coli, Staph, Salmonella, and campylobacter jejuni.
Antioxidants are critical in helping protect your body and liver from oxidative stress. This stress degrades the DNA in your cells and can lead to cancer.
Some studies have proven Kombucha reduces the amount of toxins in your liver, helping you rid your body of unwanted waste.
80% of your immune system is located in your gut.
The gut-mind connection is vital to your overall well being. The vagus nerve connecting your stomach directly to your brain is constantly feeding you information.
If your gut is inflamed, you are eating foods that you are sensitive to, or the amount of bacteria in your gut is out of balance, your mood will reflect this.
Kombucha, by bringing balance to your body, helps reduce depression and anxiety (which are a result of a unhealthy gut).
Kombucha has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol) and reduce LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol).
A few things to note before you drink kombucha:
- Read the labels, some kombucha contain a lot of added sugar.
- Drink unpasteurized
- Consult your doctor before drinking if you are pregnant
- If you make your own, do not over ferment. Fermentation should only last 7-10 days
- Brush your teeth after or soon after drinking Kombucha, acetic acid does slowly eat away at your tooth enamel
Kombucha is a great addition to your diet if you are experiencing gut inflammation or a bacterial imbalance in the gut. It is easy enough to make at home, and can be a fun activity for you (and your kids).
If you have specific gut issues like celiac disease, consult your doctor before drinking kombucha. The jury is out on diseases like leaky gut, some doctors say kombucha will help, others say to steer clear. Do your research and see what you think is true.
If you are healthy and are looking for other ways to boost your immune system and overall wellness, have at it! Kombucha is a great addition to a healthy diet.