We all know water is crucial for gut health, but have you ever considered an alternative – kombucha (kom-BOO-cha)? Kombucha is a fermented tea drink consumed worldwide, thought to have originated in Manchuria and full of probiotic good bacteria. It has a sharp, vinegary taste and can be used as a refreshing drink on its own, over ice or mixed with fruit and spices.
So, what are the benefits of kombucha? Considered a ‘health’ drink, kombucha tea cannot be granted official health status as there has been no evidence published to date on the biological activities of kombucha in human trials. It is, however, recognized as an important part of a sound diet and a source of bioactive components that exert their effects at the cellular level to convey various health benefits. Like milk-derived kefir, the exact microbial composition of kombucha cannot be given because it varies.
Make your own kombucha. Like many other traditional beverages, the popularity of kombucha expanded due to its beneficial effects on human health and its ease in home preparation. Brewing Kombucha requires four components:
a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY)
Traditionally made with black tea; different tea leaf varieties, amounts of sugar, composition of SCOBY, fermentation time and temperature can all influence the constituents of the final product.
Analysis of kombucha has shown the presence of various organic acids, such as acetic, citric, and pyruvic; sugars, such as sucrose, glucose and fructose; vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C; minerals manganese, iron, nickel, copper and zinc.
If the kombucha culture is cultivated according to the standard recipe with black tea sweetened with sucrose, it turns this substrate into a refreshing beverage of high nutritive value and medicinal properties, with people and studies reporting numerous health benefits.