In 2012, I was introduced to kombucha! At first, I couldn’t pronounce the name, was confused by the term ‘yeast culture,’ and didn’t understand what ‘fermented tea’ actually meant. Does this sound familiar? Or are you still looking at me sideways? (Either way, keep reading to learn more!)
After four years of dabbling in this probiotic-rich drink, I am now obsessed with it and just recently started making my own. I drink it on a daily basis and am excited to share why you should also jump on the kombucha train.
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Kombucha is a refreshing, fermented beverage. This fizzy, energizing drink can be slightly tangy or slightly sweet, and tastes absolutely delicious. Kombucha will vary in flavour depending on the choice of black or green tea and other flavours infused. It is the result of combining: (1) a symbiotic yeast culture associated with acetic acid bacteria (aka SCOBY), and (2) sweetened tea. The live yeast present in the kombucha beverage is a miraculous fungus that is actively living and is valued for its impressive range of medicinal benefits. Originating from northeast China centuries back, it is famously known as the ‘Immortal Health Elixir.’
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
When should I drink kombucha? You can consume kombucha at any point of the day. However, due to its incredible health benefits, it is extra handy when:
- you’ve had a late night and indulged in some alcohol
- you have an early morning
- you had a heavy meal and need help digesting
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How much should I drink at a time? If you’ve never tried kombucha, I would recommend starting small. Drink about a 1/2 cup and see how you feel afterwards. When I first tried kombucha, it gave me a bad headache, turning me off for the next 6 months. However, I was determined to enjoy this extremely healthy beverage, so I started dabbling—but in much smaller doses. Work your way up to about 1-1.5 cups per day and use this as your maintenance dose moving forward.
Are there side effects to drinking kombucha? Since kombucha is made with caffeinated tea and some live bacterial culture, you will likely experience increased energy, along with some digestive gurgling. While most people feel great after drinking it, there is a small portion of the population who may experience some negative side effects (see below).
When should I stay away from kombucha?
- Compromised immunity: Because the yeast culture could develop harmful bacteria that may cause illness, people who have compromised immunity, such as those living with HIV or AIDS, should avoid this drink.
- Digestive issues: Kombucha has high levels of acid, which could be irritating to individuals who experience ulcers, heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Pregnant women: There are small amounts of naturally occurring caffeine and alcohol in kombucha. Although there hasn’t been extensive research on how consumption of kombucha affects pregnant women, it is safer to stay away while pregnant.
Why does kombucha have a higher sugar content & how is that healthy for my liver? The kombucha SCOBY acts on both sugar and tea to produce fermentation. This fermentation process produces potent detoxifying substances such as acetic, lactic and glucuronic acid. The latter is an organic acid that is naturally produced by the liver to neutralize toxins within the body. When liver function becomes overloaded and the body has to deal with a super abundance of toxins from the environment, additional glucuronic acid taken in the form of kombucha is said to be a powerful aid to the body’s natural cleansing process. And it naturally boosts the immune system too!
Does it help with fighting seasonal colds and flu? Absolutely! Studies have found a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) in kombucha. It helps modulate the immune system by its ability to control free radicals. This germ-fighter was discovered during the fermentation process, so keep in mind it’s not found in black tea alone.
Where can I buy kombucha? Kombucha can be found in large retail grocery stores, in addition to your local health food store.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS:
I have listed the main seven below. But this Immortal Health Elixir reaps all kinds of health benefits when consumed consistently. Try it out and let me know what you think!
- Improves mood by recolonizing the gut with healthy bacteria (probiotics)
- Kills off candida (extra yeast build-up in the body)
- Improves digestion
- Promotes detoxification of the liver
- Naturally increases energy
- Helps fight seasonal colds and flu by boosting immunity
- Eases joint pain