Krazy for Kombucha?
Pronounced: Kom-Bu-Cha, its funny name has me thinking that this is just another fad out on the market, something the hipsters down in Austin created to make even more people move there. Yoga in the morning and paddle boarding in the afternoon, don’t forget to bring your Kombucha for a tasty refreshing drink. Yep, I can see it now.. all the city folk will be running to Whole Foods to grab themselves a taste just to play the part of a ‘Trendy Austinite’ (I can only say these things because I was born a true Austinite & I take part in those activities).
Truth be told, I was introduced to this drink about a year ago through some colleagues of mine that brought it to class one day. They told me you had to grow it, it contained active cultures, it was ALIVE. Stop right there, I was already shaking my head, “No, no, no.” I didn’t work up the nerve to actually try it until about 2 months ago when I heard it being brought up again in conversions. I thought, “If I am a true advocate for ‘real food with a purpose’ then I ought to be drinking this stuff.” The rest is history my friends because I have fallen in love with this miracle worker.
…And you thought I liked Apple Cider Vinegar.. wait till you hear what this brewed concoction can do.
I am already giddy knowing I might influence one person out there to try this fizzy drink. Try it out and see for yourself.
The History of Kombucha
First brewed about 2,000 + years ago, the Chinese and other Eastern cultures are responsible for concocting this drink. It begins as a black tea that is fermented with a mushroom-like substance called ‘SCOBY’ or Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. Trust me, don’t google what SCOBY looks like, you might never work up the nerve to try this stuff.
I told you not to google it.
When brewing, the black tea requires some sort of sugar, either sugar cane, honey, or fruit that is used to feed the bacteria for growth. After 10 days of fermenting the drink, the newly formed Kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, anti-oxidants, and other acids that contain health benefits.
The Benefits of Kombucha
1. Works Synergistically with your Detoxing Organs
Kombucha contains many enzymes and bacterial acids that your body produces on its own to help the liver and kidney perform its job of detoxifying the body. With Kombucha, the liver is being ‘helped’ with the detoxification process, allowing the toxic load to be lighter thus putting your body under less stress. One bacterial acid in particular is called Glucaric Acid.
2. Joint Care
Kombucha contains elements called glucosamines that aid in working with synovial joint fluid and Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid binds moisture to the connective tissue and maintains the integrity of the joints in the body. In some studies, it has been shown to perform like Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) or even glucocorticoids that give relief to the area of pain and can help to prevent the arthritic pain.
3. Helps Digestion and Gut Health
Kombucha is brewed with active cultures of bacteria and yeast, making this drink a probiotic. Probiotic’s work with your body to fight off candida yeast or bad microbes we might come in contact with. A healthy gut contains millions of helpful bacteria, without this bacteria we wouldn’t be able to properly fight off diseases or digest our food completely. It’s important to maintain the integrity of our gut by supplying it with probiotics like Kombucha or yogurt, which contain ‘apathogens’ or helpful bacteria.
The probiotics contained in most Kombucha drinks include
- Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
- Acetobacter (<2 percent)
- Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
- Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
4. Immunity Booster
Just like it helps digestion and improves the gut health, Kombucha boosts your immunity through the probiotic effect. It’s rich in anti-oxidants, which help to fight off free radicals produced by the body. Another element found in Kombucha, but not in black tea is D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL), which has been suggested as the root cause of the immunity boost.
5. Energy Booster
When fermented, the black tea releases iron that travels through the blood stream and ultimately generates hemoglobin growth. This process is called chelation, which causes us to feel more energized because of our increase in oxygen intake. Kombucha also contains a small amount of caffeine and alcohol (because of the fermentation). However, there is not a significant amount alcohol to feel any effects.
Where Do I Find It?
Kombucha can be fermented at home with a starter kit you can purchase online. However, making this brew at home requires careful attention to detail and cleanliness because fermenting bacteria can become dangerous.
If this is your first time trying Kombucha, I recommend buying a pre-bottled Kombucha from the nearest grocery store or health food store.
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email me at StephanieRackley@thehealthychew.org