Kombucha (kawm-boo-chah) is a fermented beverage made from tea. Like kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha has become popular because of the beneficial bacteria created during the fermentation process – because healthy bacteria equals a healthy gut.
The origin of kombucha goes back 2,000 years ago in ancient China, where it was regularly consumed as a remedy for inflammatory ailments, like arthritis. Today, this drink has gained in popularity due to its probiotic benefits, as well as claims that it can aid detoxification, metabolism, digestion and energy. We asked Dr. Angela Hind to share the key health benefits of kombucha, based on the naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients:
Healthy Gut. As a fermented food, kombucha is rich in the probiotics that promote healthy gut flora.
Vitamin B. Kombucha is unusually high in B-vitamins, which are important for a multitude of cellular activities that support good energy levels and mood.
Vitamin C. Kombucha contains high levels of Vitamin C, the antioxidant that supports a healthy immune system.
Non-Alcoholic. A residual amount of alcohol may be present in kombucha, but kombucha is still considered non-alcoholic. In fact, most bottles of kombucha contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. However, due to the very small alcohol content, it’s not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers.
The process of making kombucha starts by combining green or black tea (and sometimes fruit juices), sugar, scoby and a starter from a previous batch. Scoby is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The bacteria and the yeast work together to produce a ferment that lends beneficial bacteria. Typically kombucha is brewed for 7 to 31 days, and as it ferments a thick layer of bacteria forms on the top. This layer (which looks like a mushroom) is often called the “mother culture” and at the end of the brewing process it’s skimmed off and ready to use for the next batch.
If you’ve never tasted kombucha, then you are in for a surprise. The fermentation process creates a natural effervescence and tartness. (Sediment often settles at the bottom of the bottle, but resist the urge to shake it!) There’s a slight vinegar smell when you open a bottle of kombucha, but don’t let that scare you. It’s more like drinking a fizzy tart apple drink, and there are lots of options to satisfy your flavor palate. From ginger and pineapple to blueberry and strawberry – the combinations are endless.
You can find a wide variety of kombucha at our stores, including local and micro-brewery varieties. It’s healthy bacteria for your gut and a great way to add a little fizz into your diet.