I think the first time I had ever even seen the word kombucha was when I was watching Flaked on Netflix. I won’t go into what the show was about or why this guy was always drinking wine out of a container labeled “kombucha”, but I had no idea what that word even was. So I googled it.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage typically consisting of tea and sugar. While it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea. After the fermentation process, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid. While buying Kombucha from a store can get fairly pricey, making it at home can become a bit thorny. So typically I’ll wait for a good sale and then stock up. I’ve come to realize that the time and effort it takes to maintain Kombucha production is just not worth the thorn in my side. But the experiment was fun while it lasted.
Since sugar is used in making kombucha many people are concerned about the sugar content in the finished tea. However, because of the fermentation process the majority of the sugar is used as food for the bacteria and is not present in the final product. Because the sugar is the food for the bacteria, it is not possible to make without any sugar at all and the reason that sugar substitutes will not work.
While the studies performed have not provided solid evidence of the many benefits that have been touted all over the internet, the anecdotal reports are overwhelming. Here are are just some of the benefits that I have actually experienced:
1) Improved Digestion – Kombucha contains probiotics, enzymes and beneficial acids and these have been researched for their health benefits. Drinks like Kombucha, Water Kefir, Milk Kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut contain billions of these beneficial bacteria, enzymes and acids that help keep the gut in balance. The digestive enzymes present in it enhance the effects of glucuronic acid and aids in the breakdown of proteins and sacchrides thereby, making the digestive system more efficient.
2) Reduced Pain and Inflammation – Kombucha contains glucosamine , which means that it’s a great tonic for arthritis. But even if you don’t have arthritis, you may still have inflammation in your body that isn’t even causing you pain. Inflammation also happens when your digestive system is not working properly. Because Kombucha aids in digestion, this could also lead to reduced levels of pain and inflammation. This might be a big reason I’m not experiencing pain in the joint of my big toe anymore, which I SWEAR is arthritis, or “jumpers toe”, from all those years playing volleyball.
3) Helps to reduce Heart Disease – I’m always looking for natural ways to help lower and maintain cholesterol. In animal models, kombucha helps to lower triglyceride levels, as well as regulate cholesterol naturally. Research studies have provided qualitative evidence regarding the anti-lipidemic properties of kombucha which helps in reducing the absorption of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides and elevate the levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) in the body. Given the claims of benefits tea is reported to have on cholesterol and heart disease, it’s not a far stretch that a product made with tea as the primary ingredient would also sustain these benefits.
4) Boosts Immunity – Kombucha is rich in antioxidants which strengthen immune defenses and boost the energy levels of the body. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of kombucha help in fighting various bacterial and viral infections.
5) Healthier Substitute for Soda – One of the reasons I love it so much because I find it a MUCH healthier substitute for soda that satisfies the occasional craving for a fizzy drink. The high quality products typically have only a few ingredients which are mostly organic in nature. When was the last time you read the ingredients on a can of soda?