Kombucha : What Are The Benefits ?
Kombucha is a beverage that can provide a myriad of health benefits. Due to the process of fermenting, there are a lot of probiotics provided in the kombucha. And as well as becoming carbonated, it contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, and a high concentration of acid. Kombucha is typically made from black tea and sugar.
This sugar-tea solution is then fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). The fermentation process takes 7-12 days depending on temperature and the strength of the SCOBY. Although kombucha is usually made with black tea, you can also use green teas. You can purchase it at natural health food stores, some grocery stores, or it can also be made at home.
What Does it Taste Like?
Kombucha has a slightly sweet and slightly tangy flavor. However the flavor varies widely by brand and home-brew method.
Benefits and Probiotics
This ancient health elixir is attributed with several health benefits including :
- Liver detoxification
- Improved pancreas function
- Increased energy
- Better digestion
- Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
- Reducing Candida (yeast)
- May be beneficial for weight loss
Researchers are still studying the specific way Kombucha affects digestion. However, we do know that kombutcha contains probiotics, enzymes and beneficial acids. Drinks like this, Water Kefir, Milk Kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut contain billions of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and acids that help keep the gut in balance.
Kombucha is also naturally high in antioxidants, which makes it supportive of the immune system. As well as being high in Glucaric acid, which is beneficial to the liver and aids its natural detoxification.
Risks and Cautions
Even with all these benefits there are some cautions and side effects to be aware of when consuming it. Like with any raw/fermented product, those with any health condition or who are pregnant/nursing should check with a doctor before consuming.
- Kombucha contains both caffeine and sugar, which should be limited during pregnancy.
- Some people experience bloating from drinking it. This may in part be due to the presence of probiotics and potential changes in gut bacteria.
- Kombucha may contain harmful bacteria and could be dangerous, if made incorrectly. This is rare, but is more common with home brews.
- Preparing kombucha in a ceramic vessel may be dangerous as the acidic brew can leach any lead from this vessel into the finished drink.
- Since it is high in natural acids (but still lower than most sodas) it can be harmful to the teeth.
How to Make It
- Sterilize all equipment and wash hands thoroughly.
- Make 1 gallon of tea using black tea or a mixture of black tea with green/white tea or herbal teas.
- Add 1 cup of natural sugar.
- Let the sweetened tea cool and place in a 1 gallon or larger glass jar.
- Add 1 cup of brewed raw kombucha (or 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar).
- Carefully place the SCOBY on top of the mixture, ideally floating it on top to seal the mixture off from air.
- If the SCOBY is not the same size as the container, don’t worry. It will grow to fill the container as it ferments.
- Cover the jar with a piece of organic cloth and a rubber band.
- Let sit at room temperature for 7-12 days to desired tartness.
- Remove the SCOBY and 1 cup of finished kmobucha to start a new batch and repeat steps 1-8.
- For a fizzy kombucha, pour finished kombucha into airtight jars or bottles and add organic juice or fresh/frozen fruit. Add 1 part juice/fruit to 4 parts kombucha.
- Then cover tightly and it let sit for an additional 1-2 days until carbonated.
- Finally store in the refrigerator in airtight containers until consumed.
If teas aren’t your forte you can still get all the benefits of a probiotic with other foods or supplements such as:
- NOW Foods Probiotic 10, 25 Billion, 50 Veg Capsules
- PB8 Probiotic By Nutrition Now, 120 Caps
- MRM Digest-All 100 Caps
- Acidophilus Probiotic Blend By 21st Century, 150 Caps
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