I first heard about Kombucha in one of Simply Quinoa’s What I eat in a day vlogs. It sounded interesting. Then, I tasted it when a brand whose name I cannot recall was promoting its Kombucha range in store. I did not find it that appealing.
Long after that, one afternoon, I fancied drinking a fizzy drink. My mind made me think of Kombucha. I wanted to taste it again. And once I did, my love for Kombucha arose and I am so glad it did.
Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to gut, your heart, and your brain.
Kombucha is a wonderfully refreshing drink, made of fermented black tea or green. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). These bacteria meaning
Due to the fermentation process, kombucha contains a large number of healthy bacteria (called “apathogens”) known as probiotics that compete with the “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract. Also known as “cellulose-producing bacteria”, the apathogens line your digestive tract with cellulose, which acts as a shield to cells, supporting your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.
The living culture that ferments and eats up the tea and sugar (the “SCOBY” – which stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), gives its naturally occurring acids, vitamins and enzymes - all things that promote wellbeing, particularly healthy digestion.
Drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.”
1) Support a healthy gut
The greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids and enzymes. There are two types of Kombucha: pasteurised and unpasteurised. I preferred the unpasteurised one as pasteurized kombucha no longer contains the probiotics that make it so beneficial.
The antioxidant prowess of Kombucha counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system, as well as detoxify the body and protect against disease.
3) Mental benefits
Kombucha can protect your mind, too, due to the B vitamins it contains (particularly B12, which is why some supplements sometimes contain dry kombucha products). The gut-repairing function of kombucha also plays a role in mental health. Depression may be a major symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation.
Kombucha’s ability to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggested it would be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression.
4) Reduce the risk of stomach ulcers and even cancer
The disease-fighting power of kombucha comes from the antioxidants it contains which help to reduce inflammation, that’s at the root of most diseases. This inflammation-reducing, detoxing quality is probably one reason kombucha might potentially decrease the risk for certain kinds of cancers.
Kombucha was also discovered to contain isorhamnetin, a metabolite of quercetin, associated with a long lifespan and anticancer properties.
One reason this happens is because antioxidants reduce oxidative stress that can damage cells, even down to DNA. Being exposed to a lot of processed foods and chemicals within your environment can lead to this stress, which in turn contributes to chronic inflammation.
Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal stomach ulcers.
Kombucha can also help heal candida from overpopulating within the gut by restoring balance to the digestive system, with live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast.
5) Beneficial for the lungs
A (probably) unexpected benefit of kombucha is its use as a potential treatment method for silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles. Chinese scientists discovered that inhalation of kombucha could be a way to treat this and other lung diseases of caused by inhalation of dangerous material.
6) Powerful antibacterial agent
Due to good bacteria found in kombucha, drinking the live cultures actually destroys bad bacteria responsible for infections. In lab studies, kombucha has been found to have antibacterial effects against staph, E. coli, Sh. sonnei, two strains of salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni.
7) Helpful in managing diabetes
Although some practitioners warn against kombucha for diabetics, it seems that some research suggests just the opposite for kombuchas with low sugar content. The antioxidants in kombucha seem to help alleviate diabetes symptoms, improving liver and kidney functions, even more efficiently than the anti-diabetic black tea from which it’s fermented.
8) Good for the cardiovascular system
Kombucha has been considered to be beneficial to the heart for some time, although research efforts in this area have been scarce. However, it seems clear that, in animal models, kombucha helps to lower triglyceride levels, as well as regulate cholesterol naturally. (21)
9) Helps maintain a healthy liver
The antioxidants in kombucha may protect the liver from oxidative stress.
However, I love Kombucha for none of these reasons. Here is what draws me to it:
1. Simply, the taste
For me, Kombucha is a real taste bud zinger. It has an acquired, distinctive taste and not many people appreciate it. However, I am the kind of person that looks forward to my morning apple cider vinegar shot.
There are many Kombucha brands that I love: Equinox, Go! Kombucha, Captain Kombucha, Lo Bros Kombucha, JARR Kombucha. They all come in multiple flavours, and most of them include in their range my all-time favourite, elderflower. If you are looking to reduce your sugar intake then I recommend Karma Kombucha, which has the lowest sugar content I have ever seen in Kombucha (2.6g). However, I find it a bit tasteless.
However, the best thing about Kombucha is that you don’t need to worry about the sugar content. Most of the sugar that is added to Kombucha gets transformed during the fermentation process.
A little note: you might find some culture in your Kombucha bottle. Take this as proof that your kombucha is a raw and unpasteurised drink. It’s what gives this elixir its vitality!
2. It’s refreshing
On a hot summer day, a cold Kombucha is a great way to quench your thirst. I look forward to opening a bottle of cold Kombucha, just as much as some people look forward to opening a can of ice cold beer. I recently went to Taste of London food festival where I had the opportunity to get a great deal on a case of 12 bottles of Kombucha (12 bottles for £20, meaning £1.66 per bottle of 200ml, which I would’ve otherwise bought for £2.50 in a supermarket). It gives me a sense of content when I open my fridge and see it stocked up with Kombucha bottles – my personal minibar.
I wake up thirsty in the mornings, and find that a glass of room-temperature water is not enough to satisfy my thirst, especially after I arrive huffing and puffing at the train station after my sprint to catch the train. In those moments, Kombucha is a great recovery boost and I love that it seems to go deeper than water in quenching my thirst.
3. Healthy alternative to Prosecco and fizzy drinks
The slight fizziness and sweetness of Kombucha is the perfect Prosecco replacement or of any other fizzy drinks. The intense, bubbly, dynamic and joyous freshness of Kombucha combines perfectly with its delicate aroma.
4. Beats cravings
Another thing I love about Kombucha is that it provides a slight sense of satiety, reducing the hunger pangs that I get mid-morning, mid-afternoon or post-dinner, due to its fizziness and slight vinegary taste. With an invigorating flavour, a mouthful is all I need to quench my thirst and invigorate myself.
So, where to buy this miraculous drink?
In London, whenever I go to Whole Foods or Planet Organic, I always look out to see if there isa good deal on any of the multiple Kombucha brands they range. Waitrose also range my favourite Equinox brand and recently I’ve seen Sainbury’s have also introduced Kombucha even in their convenience stores. It gets me very excited to see Kombucha growing in popularity.