Kombucha? A Fermented Elixir?
Kombucha: What is it?
All over the internet, you’ll find lists of so-called superfoods, and you’ll often find kombucha on these lists. Some people swear by it while others say they will never swallow another mouthful. So what is it? Are there any health benefits to it, and why is it so popular? For those of you who think kombucha is a new formula that was recently created due to someone’s creativity and imagination, you’re wrong. Sure, it recently hit the shelves of numerous U.S. health food stores in the early 90s, but fermented tea is something humans have been drinking for thousands of years. Kombucha is a fermented tea, usually black or green tea, combined with specific strains of bacteria and yeast, and sugar. This fermentation process usually occurs for at least a week. As the fermentation process occurs, the bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like blob on top of the tea. Because of this, kombucha is also often referred to as “mushroom tea.” The colony of bacteria and yeast that create kombucha is also known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). SCOBY can be used to ferment new kombucha. This fermentation process leads to the production of various acids, including acetic acid, which is also found in vinegar, minimal levels of alcohol, and carbonation.
Health Benefits Of Kombucha
So what are the health benefits of this extremely weird concept of a drink? The intricate fermentation process leads to the production of a large amount of probiotics, another hot keyword in the health industry. What are probiotics? They are essentially healthy gut bacteria. Consuming probiotics can improve gastrointestinal health, providing a variety of positive health consequences, including improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and may even aid with weight loss. Kombucha may also provide the multiple benefits of the tea that serves as its base. Various studies have found results that consistent consumption of green tea can improve your metabolism, cholesterol, blood sugar control, etc. Since the foundation of kombucha is tea, these benefits still hold true. Whether the kombucha is made from green or black tea, it contains polyphenols, which act as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off free radicals, which are reactive molecules that can cause cellular damage. Although antioxidant supplements are available, many researchers and health professionals suggest that antioxidant intake from foods and drinks is more effective and better for your health.