I’ll have to admit, when I first heard about Kombucha I was skeptical and thought only hipster health nuts drank it. After trying it myself and doing some research, I am pleased to say that Kombucha is more than an overpriced fizzy mushroom drink that has lofty health claims. There are some real health benefits to splurging on the fizzy, tangy and sweet drink on a regular basis.
Little to our American knowledge, kombucha is a drink that has been around for 2,000 some years, originating in China and used in World War I for soldiers who had digestive problems and headaches.
When you think about how it’s made, Kombucha as a cure for certain ailments makes sense. How? Let me enlighten you.
Kombucha is produced by the fermentation of tea and sugar by a symbiotic association of bacteria and yeasts, forming a “tea fungus”. Forget about the fact that I just said fungus for a minute, and think about yogurt and mushrooms – two very popular foods that either are fungus or are prepared by fermentation and contain bacteria.
The tea most commonly used in fermentation is a simple black or green tea, of which there is substantial research-backed evidence to support health claims of drinking tea regularly, such as providing protective effects against several cancers and reduced risk of heart attack. If that already isn’t enough to get you on the kombucha train, the probiotics available from the fermented bacteria and yeasts should get you on board.
Kombucha tea’s magical feats include detoxifying of the liver, aiding in digestion and gut health, as well as boosting the immune system. It provides powerful healthy bacteria, called probiotics, that populate the intestinal tract and aids in digestion and detoxification. Because of the readily available source of antioxidants and enzymes, it lessens the burden on your liver and pancreas.
Kombucha is also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which help to reduce cancer-causing free radicals, so it boosts the immune system while also providing a protective effect against cancer.
So why doesn’t regular tea provide the same health benefits?
The fermentation of the tea and sugar with the symbiotic association of bacteria and yeasts is actually what gives the tea all that extra oomph to have such a positive impact on your body. Once the tea is fermented, it contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes and probiotics, which do all the hard work of protecting your body from free radicals and giving your gut some love.
Nothing against a classic black tea, but for the extra health benefit, splurging on a kombucha tea once or twice a week could really be worth it in the long run. If you’re into that sort of thing.
Of course, every person and body is different so use your judgment to see how kombucha makes you feel. But in my experience, I’ve had great success with healing an unhealthy gut and getting rid of a cold. My personal favorite is KT’s Gingerade.