Kombucha is enjoying a reputation of being a healthy drink. But what is kombucha, and what is it made from?
If you are new to the world of fermented foods, you might not have heard of kombucha. It is a drink made from a fermented, sweetened tea. It is mildly fizzy and pleasantly sour/zingy in taste. It is a healthy alternative to fizzy bottles of pop!
Kombucha is a drink that has been enjoyed for many thousands of years, and has traditionally been used as a health tonic and medicine in Asia.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Like other fermented foods like sauerkraut and yoghurts, kombucha contains helpful bacteria that promotes health.
Pro-biotics – good for gut health and digestion.
Vitamins – Kombucha is a source of vitamin C, B1, B6 and B12.
Antioxidant – Rich in antioxidants, especially when made using green tea. Antioxidant help the body get rid of free radicals, a natural by-product of our bodies that comes from digested foods and pollutants. If not efficiently removed, free radicals cause damage to the cells.
Immune system – fermented foods, including kombucha, may help to strengthen the immune system.
Lowers your Sugar Intake – while kombucha does contain sugar, it is significantly lower than the bottles of juice and pop you find in shops. Swapping to kombucha two or three times per week will lower the amount of sugar you consume.
May help with weight loss – there is some anecdotal evidence that drinking kombucha that has been made with green tea could help weight loss. This is because regularly drinking green tea may increase metabolism, so you burn a higher number of calories.
There is a massive amount of anecdotal evidence of how kombucha tea can improve health and well-being, and it is often seen as somewhat of a cure-all. What is clear, is that more scientific research is needed into the health benefits of kombucha.
How is Kombucha Made?
Kombucha is made using SCOBY which stands for ‘Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts’. Much like home brew alcohols, the yeasts work with the tea to produce a fermented drink with a refreshing flavour.
Can you make your own Kombucha?
This delicious drink is made using filtered water, sugar, black or green tea, and scoby.
There are various recipes available online, and the process takes around 7-10 days.
You will also need some glass jars to brew it in. Large mason jars work well. You can then pour into glass bottles if you wish.
How much Kombucha can I drink?
As with anything, you should avoid excessive consumption. Too many fermented foods could bring on nausea and stomach ache. It also contains sugar, so will add to your calorie intake. There are also minute traces of caffeine and alcohol, due to the fermenting of sugars, however you would need to drink several litres of kombucha to get the effects of one alcoholic beverage.
Is Drinking Kombucha Safe?
Many kombucha drinks are unpasteurised, as pasteurisation kills off the friendly bacteria as well as harmful bacteria. This means it is possible for harmful bacteria to be present, along with the good bacteria, and this can cause digestive upsets and possibly serious illness. This is the same for any fermented food though, so as long as it is made with care, the risks of it being contaminated with harmful bacteria is
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, it is best to avoid consumption of kombucha.
As a general rule, when moderately consumed, kombucha can be a healthy drink that boosts wellness.
Where can I buy Kombucha?
If you don’t fancy brewing your own kombucha, here are some reputable brands. You can also buy kombucha from health food stores.
Four delicious flavours: Ginger and Lemon, Raspberry Lemonade, Cherry Plum and Apple Crisp.
Flavours are: Original, California Raspberry, Ginger Lemon, Pineapple Peach Splash, Coconut Summer Beach, Cayenne Pepper.
If you enjoy drinking kombucha, please share your experiences in the comments!