The “Elixir of Life”
This superfood tea has been consumed for thousands of years and can help with gut health, your immune system and so much more. Kombucha is a live cultured vinegary, sour, sweet bubbly tea. It is simply made from black, white or green tea, cane sugar and the bacteria/yeast or “SCOBY”. If you close your eyes, it can resemble a dry champagne. With hints of spices, fruits and herbs it can even pass for a sweet-tart soda. Kombucha satisfies our need for a sparking beverage while being health conscious.
SCOBY stands for a “Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast”. These colonies grow in a flat, gooey, cellulose “pancake” on the top of the brew that resembles a slimy brownish mushroom. This amazing living organism translates sugary tea into a live fermented food for us to consume. Under the right conditions this bacteria promotes a product that has so much disease-fighting potential. Each batch of Kombucha has different strains and healing abilities depending on its origins.
Kombucha is admired by many because it can help with digestion to joint health and it is jam packed with probiotics and anti-oxidants. It boasts superior health benefits with only a few drinks per week. These fermented foods are great because when foods are partially broken down, it makes the nutrients more bioavailable. If you need a pick me up midday, say goodbye to coffee and hello to a naturally energy packed drink loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Humans are populated with bacteria, estimated at 1 human cell to every 1.3 of bacteria. “Good bugs” or beneficial bacteria are what we need to keep a balanced microbiome. Ideally we are 85% beneficial bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. This good bacteria is what keeps our gut healthy and improves immune function.
We are recovering from an age of hand sanitizing madness. We are killing too much of our good bacteria when we kill off the bad with antibacterial soaps to antibiotics. Kombucha can be an excellent way to repopulate the good bacteria. Modern diets filled with added sugars can cause your microbiome to get out of balance and overgrow the “bad bacteria” and need that extra boost that Kombucha can deliver.
- Digestion The drink is packed with probiotics which is the key to gut health. Enzymes, glucaric and lactic acid increase digestion. Kombucha can crowd out the bad bacteria by populating beneficial bacteria. Some research shows improvement with leaky gut and heal gastric ulcers.
- Antioxidants It is made with black tea which contain polyphenols that also can help with weight loss. It is also chock full of B vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and beta-carotenes.
- Detoxification Glucaric acid is a component that research has shown to prevent cancer, support natural cleaning of the body. Ronald Regan even made it part of his daily diet to battle stomach cancer.
- Joint Health Contains glucosamine, amino acids and hyaluronic acid that are great for joint health.
- Circulation Lactic acid assist in blood circulation along with alkaline ph.
- PH Although kombucha is acidic, it is alkaline in the body like lemons.
- Immune System 70% of your immune function takes place in the gut. This acid can kill off the bad bacteria and fungus that lead to disease, inhibit E. coli and increase calcium absorption.
- Mental Health Probiotics lead to positive mood changes by improving brain function. Increased bacteria in your gut helps your body produce neurochemicals that relieve anxiety with B Vitamins such as; vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12.
It is also known to be effective for a whole host of other health problems including:
- Kidney toxicity
- Endothelial function
- Liver and kidney function
- Nervous system
- Arthritis pain.
Not a Cure All
Kombucha can’t take all of the credit for single handedly curing diseases and it will not keep your hair from turning grey. If you have a serious health issue it is always best to consult your doctor. If you struggle with SIBO, have yeast intolerances, mold allergies, blocked detox pathways, methylation issues; you can experience negative side effects from fermented foods like Kombucha. So put your drink down, if you get a headache, stomach ache, feel dizzy. Trust your body, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t drink it. After resolving some of these health issues, you can try to slowly reintroduce kombucha, after 6 about months, like starting with a few ounces to see how it affects you.
Bacteria loves to multiply and is an easy DIY project. All you need is a sterile glass jar, non-herbal tea, cane sugar (organic is preferable), a clean cloth to keep out fruit flies and clean water. If you use quality ingredients and water free of fluoride and chlorine, you are good to go.
- Bring a quart of water and a cup of sugar to boil in a saucepan. Add 4-6 tsp of tea or 4-6 teabags and steep for 5-15 mins.
- Remove teabags and add mixture a glass gallon jar and fill with room temp water.
- Add your scoby and approx. ½ c of the liquid from the previous kombucha brew.
- Cover with a breathable cotton cloth or coffee filter and secure with rubber band.
- Wait for 7-14 days depending on temperature, between 2.8-3.4 ph is your target.
- Decant into liquid into clean jars and refrigerate your finished Kombucha.
- Reserve 1/2c of the liquid and the scoby to start again.
- Give the “baby” or multiplied scoby to a friend!
- Make sure and throw it out if you see black stuff, that would be mold.
If home brewing is not your cup of tea, not to worry, there is an abundance of delicious and healthy Kombucha brands on the market today. For commercial kombucha, make sure you have raw or live cultures. Pasteurization may taste just as good but it will be void of the health benefits. Sugar contents can be high so check for one with 5 grams or less per serving.
Origins of Kombucha are as mysterious and it’s appearance. This “The Tea of Immortality” is thought to have originated in 221 BC during the Chinese Tsin dynasty though it only gained popularity in the U.S. during the 1990’s.
It’s Asian roots travelled to Japan as Cha literally means tea in Japanese. Though Koucha-Kinoko is what the Japanese call Kombucha which literally means tea mushroom.
You can use kombucha as a mixer in place of a sour in a mixed drink for your next party.
If you dare, instead of throwing away your baby scoby, you can cut it up and eat it in a salad.
Kombucha is a tasty probiotic rich tea that is populating the health food stores as well as our gut. Go out and try some of this accessible, energizing, fizzy probiotic drink. You may even swap out a soda or two for the added health benefits that you will get. So kick back, and pick out a blueberry and cinnamon or a ginger or a mango habanero kombucha, give it a try, and see what you think. It is bound to grow on you.
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