Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years and is praised for its numerous health benefits. While you may have heard of it before, do you know what kombucha is?
In a nutshell, Kombucha is fermented tea. It is made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast, and sugar to black or green tea, then allowing it to ferment for a week or longer. During this time, a SCOBY (a living symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) is formed on the surface, and it resembles a mushroom shape. This is why Kombucha is sometimes referred to as “mushroom tea.” This SCOBY can be used to ferment new kombucha.
Here are a few of the reasons kombucha is good for you:
During the fermentation process, aside from several acidic compounds and trace levels of alcohol and gases, a large amount of probiotic bacteria is produced. These probiotics help with gut health, aiding in digestion, inflammation, and even weight loss.
Green Tea Benefits
When kombucha is made from green tea, you reap the benefits of green tea as well. If you consume this regularly, these benefits can include increasing the amount of calories you burn, improving cholesterol levels, and blood sugar control, among other things.
Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants, which are substances that fight free radicals (reactive molecules that can damage your cells).
During the fermentation process, acetic acid is produced, which is able to kill potentially harmful microorganisms.
Kombucha can improve LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, which are two markers for heart disease. Tea can also protect LDL cholesterol from oxidization, which is believed to contribute to heart disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
A study in diabetic rats showed that consumption of kombucha slowed the digestion of carbs (which reduced blood sugar levels), and improved liver and kidney function. Thus, regular consumption of kombucha may aid in managing Type 2 Diabetes.
Due to the high amount of tea polyphenols and antioxidants, in test-tube studies, kombucha helped to prevent growth of cancerous cells. It is believed that polyphenols block gene mutation and the growth of cancer cells, while promoting cancer cell death.
Preparation Is Key
If you are making your own kombucha, pay very close attention that you prepare it properly. Contaminated or over-fermented kombucha can lead to serious health issues and even death, and it may even contain up to 3% alcohol. To err on the side of caution, consider buying kombucha in the store or online. These are considered good and alcohol-free (must contain less than 0.5% alcohol). Just be wary of the ingredients and added sugars for the best results.