If you haven’t heard about the latest craze in food and beverage, we’re here to tell you it’s called kombucha. It’s a sweet, fizzy beverage made of fermented tea, yeast, and sugar, and its origins are from China’s northeast region although it also has a history in Russia and eastern Europe as well.
Not to fear, however, today kombucha is made right here in the states and is widely available in grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. So, what’s all the fuss about this fizzy libation? Well, kombucha has a multitude of potential health benefits. That’s right. It has plentiful probiotics and antioxidants which can fend off harmful bacteria and may even help combat several diseases.
The Process of Making Kombucha
This sweetened tea is fermented with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (or SCOBY) and can be prepared as a green or black tea variation. But, keep it away from the kiddies, since it’s fermented it does contain alcohol. Unlike beer or tequila, this alcoholic beverage also has the same or similar health benefits as these teas.
The fermentation process usually lasts about a week as the yeast breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases its probiotic bacteria. Kombucha becomes carbonated after fermentation, which is why it is generally fizzy. During this process, bacteria and yeast form a film on the surface of the liquid which might sound kind of gross, but don’t worry, it has been consumed for thousands of years—and now people are starting to truly understand its inherent health benefits.
How Kombucha Can Improve Your Health
There are those probiotics and antioxidants we mentioned earlier which provide your gut with healthy bacteria that can help with digestion, inflammation, and even encourage weight loss. But because kombucha is green or black teas (two of the healthiest beverages out there) you also reap the benefits of these beverages when you drink kombucha. Studies have shown that drinking green tea on a regular basis can increase your metabolism, reduce belly fat, improve cholesterol levels, and help control or moderate blood sugar.
According to one study, Kombucha may help to stabilize blood sugar levels and aid in the management of Type 2 diabetes. Other studies suggest that heart and liver health are enhanced by kombucha as it reduces the number of toxins in the liver and even promotes blood flow to the heart.
The Bottom Line
If you opt not to buy kombucha in the store and plan to take matters into your own hands, please be careful. Don’t let the concoction ferment for too long or it can become contaminated. Over-fermentation or contamination can cause health problems, and nobody wants that ( especially when you’re trying to improve your health). So, if you’re feeling crafty or creative and want to go the “I-made-it-myself” route, remember that the detriments may not be worth that badge of honor. Just sayin’.
Store-bought kombucha normally has a lower alcohol content than homemade versions, too, but be sure to check the sugar content which can deplete its beneficial properties.No matter how you choose to try kombucha, make sure it’s properly prepared and let the healing and good health begin!