Kombucha has been called everything from a fad to a health elixir to a cancer cure. There have been many scientific studies conducted to delve deeper into these claims and to figure out how each ingredient in the drink helps the body. And making an informed decision when choosing the right brand with the right ingredients can help create a healthy body, mind, and soul.
What is Kombucha?
- Kombucha -- a probiotic drink that restores the body’s natural microbiome and improves overall health -- is reported to have originated in northeast China about 220 B.C., spreading to Japan in 414 A.D. as a medicine, and then through trade routes to Russia and eastern Europe.
- The beverage is made by adding a SCOBY— Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast—and sugar to brewed tea (generally black tea or sometimes green and oolong tea). This mixture ferments for 7-14 days and the sugar feeds the yeast and the liquid ferments, resulting in a naturally fizzy drink.
- The SCOBY is made up of various acetic acid bacteria (e.g. Acetobacter xylinum, Acetobacter aceti, Acetobacter pasteurianus, and Gluconobacter oxydans) and yeasts (e.g. Saccharomyces sp., Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis, Torulopsis sp., Pichia spp., Brettanomyces sp., and Zygosaccharomyces bailii).
- Kombucha is a concoction of chemical components, including sugars, tea polyphenols, organic food acids, fiber, ethanol, amino acids including lysine, essential elements such as copper, iron, zinc, manganese, nickel, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B vitamins, carbon dioxide, antibiotic substances, and hydrolytic enzymes.
Kombucha is only as good as the fermentation process…
- Microbial fermentation is a metabolic process during which microorganisms convert sugars into acids, alcohol, or gases. This well-researched process includes interactions like the decomposition of natural materials, which returns chemical elements back to the source, and creates fermented food and beverage products.
- Microbial fermentation has been utilized to produce vitamins, alcohol, fermented foods, and fermented beverages. The process increases the nutritional quality of food and has positive effects on the human body.
- Fermented foods contain microorganisms that contain anabolic properties allowing it to synthesize vitamins that unfermented food do not have. Fermentation breaks down indigestible structures, in certain grains and seeds for example, which allows the release of nutritional carbohydrates and proteins. Microorganisms have the ability to split indigestible complex sugars into simple sugar, which eases the digestion of foods in the human body.
Human body and bacteria
Human microbiome is made up of over 1,000 varieties of helpful bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi that live in the body—particularly in the digestive tract. These diverse microbes help us digest food, protect us against disease-causing bacteria and make vitamins such as B12, thiamin and riboflavin. Changes in the microbiome—resulting in too many bad bacteria and not enough good ones— can make it more difficult for the body to drive away illness. Modern lifestyle with its culture of excessive processed foods, antibiotics, and animal-based diets low in fiber have damaged this microbiome, leading to negative effects on the body, mind, and soul. Restoring the microbiome by eating foods rich in good bacteria is essential for a healthy body and mental well-being.
Benefits of drinking Kombucha
- Kombucha contains live beneficial bacteria and yeasts and is a source of organic acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals.
- Research shows that kombucha has antibacterial properties against various enteric pathogens, such as E. coli, Shigella dysenteriae, S. typhimurium and Vibrio cholera. A 2019 study concluded that the presence of 8 organic acids and polyphenols (chemicals found in plant-based foods with antioxidant properties) in kombucha was positively correlated with antibacterial activity, and thus contributed to its inhibitory effect on bacterial growth.
- Improved digestion – Live beneficial bacteria in kombucha aids digestion, reduces effects of irritable bowel syndrome and helps in maintaining regular bowel movements.
- Studies conducted in rats have consistently proven that regular kombucha consumption reduces liver toxicity caused by toxic chemicals, in some cases by at least 70%.
- Kombucha can help prevent and reduce the occurrence and effects of urinary tract and yeast infections.
- Kombucha, along with good diet and exercise aids weight loss and weight control and lowers inflammation in the body and detoxifies the body.
Things to remember when drinking kombucha
- Read labels carefully for nutritional value before choosing a commercial brand. A good kombucha will have lower sugar, fresh and organic ingredients, no additives and contain fewer calories.
- Avoid brands that are pasteurized, which kills beneficial bacteria, lowering the positive effects of the kombucha.
- Refrigerate fermented kombucha to stop the fermentation process and avoid unwanted bacteria.
- To get the most out of the kombucha, add it to a healthy diet made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber-rich foods.
The easiest way to improve our gut biome is through a balanced diet rich in fiber and fermented foods/drinks (such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, certain types of yogurt, kefir, and kombucha). Get in touch with your gut bacteria today, feed it some tasty kombucha and ferments and feel the best you can feel!
Booch offers several fermented products in addition to our signature kombucha and jun drinks to help you strengthen your gut biome, and they are all made with fresh, organic ingredients sourced from local farmers.