Kombucha has become more and more popular in recent year. But for those of you who may not be familiar, here is a little more info about what it is and why it’s good for you.
Kombucha is generally considered to be a tea that has been mixed with sugar and fermented in a manner similar to the way vinegar is made. On its own, it has a taste that’s similar to apple cider vinegar, so it is sometimes called “vinegar tea.” For wider appeal, it is usually blended with ingredients, such as fruit juice or unfermented tea. The process has been perfected over the years and there are many delicious highly palatable varieties available.
The exact origins of kombucha are unknown, but it has been consumed in areas like Siberia, Russia, China and Tibet for thousands of years and has been called an “Immortal Health Elixir” in China.
Kombucha starts with tea (usually black or green, but others may be used) that has been mixed with sugar. It is exposed to something called a “zoogleal mat,” which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria (“beneficial bacteria”) and yeast, also known as a SCOBY. The zoogleal mat looks like a mushroom, so kombucha is sometimes called “mushroom tea.” Sugar is added for the fermentation process to take place and this fermentation results in the generation of a number of probiotic nutrients. It is typically effervescent and has a very low alcohol content.
What are the benefits?
There hasn’t been a lot of formal research on kombucha yet, so most evidence is anecdotal. In addition there are extensive cultural beliefs about the health benefits as well as personal experiences of wellness surrounding kombucha consumption.
Some of the health claims include:
Nourishes and detoxifies. Kombucha is rich in many amino-acids, enzymes, bacterial acids, probiotics, antioxidants, glucuronic acid, trace minerals, B vitamins and various other powerful nutrients.
Aids in digestive health. Living kombucha contains a huge amount of beneficial bacteria, making it a natural probiotic source. Probiotics are known to improve digestion, reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, fight off candida, and increase mood stability and mental clarity.
May prevent cancer or as some claim even cure it. It contains high amounts of glucaric acid, a substance which some studies have shown prevents cancer.
May be good for your joints. Kombucha features a group of chemical compounds called glucosamines. Glucosamines are considered to be a powerful preventer of and treatment for arthritis.