Long before kombucha’s popularity swept the United States, this fermented tea has been consumed and loved for over 2,000 years. Originating from the Far East, this drink was touted as an “elixir of life” and considered to have strong medicinal value. Today, kombucha is the fastest growing segment in the functional beverages category, slated to grow 25% year-on-year according to Mintel. But what is kombucha and why is everyone drinking it?
In a nutshell, kombucha is a refreshing, naturally fizzy drink, made by putting starter tea (aka SCOBY) into sugared tea. SCOBY stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”, and the starter tea is the previous batch of kombucha, transforming sweetened tea into kombucha. This ferments for up to a week in our local climate. Additional flavours can be added into the drink, such as berries, apple, and even herbs and spices. Because of this unique brewing method, kombucha is chock-full of health benefits, such as:
Kombucha’s fermentation process produces a large amount of probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that improves the balance of flora in the digestive system, aiding digestion and reducing issues related to inflammation. And because 70% of your immune system is in your gut, probiotics can also enhance your body’s immunity!
Kombucha made with green tea will also contain all the benefits of fermentation AND green tea. Studies have shown that green tea can help you lose fat – especially belly fat – as well as boost your metabolic rate. Sweet!
Preliminary studies have shown that kombucha can help reduce bad LDL (low-density lipoproteins – bad) cholesterol, while improving good HDL (high-density lipoproteins – good!) cholesterol, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, tea protects LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, further reducing the risk of heart disease.
Evidently, drinking kombucha can have a positive impact on your health. Additionally, since kombucha is often made with other healthy ingredients, the health benefits can be far more than what has been mentioned in this post!
Perhaps what has led to its popularity is in part due to the overall trend towards health and wellness globally. Kombucha has become a great alternative to the usual carbonated (and often unhealthy) drink options. If you’re looking to take baby steps towards adopting a healthier lifestyle, without compromising too much on taste or quality of life, kombucha is a great way to start.
While you can also make your own kombucha at home using SCOBY, tea and sugar, there are contamination issues you need to take note of. Hence, particularly for those new to kombucha, off-the-shelf kombuchas are a great option.
Do you have any burning questions about kombucha? Comment below!
Author: Melissa Mak (Guest Writer), founder of Fizzicle and SG Fermentation Friends
One thought on “What is Kombucha?”
Kombucha truly is medicinal. In our household, we have a family member who needs one bottle a day. Not more – it is too much, nor less. Just one keeps the GI system functioning wonderfully.
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