IS KOMBUCHA HEALTHY?
Before we jump into the full flow of Spring, I want to share something with you that is often on my mind, especially when I walk into my local health food store.
That something is "booch" or more commonly known as Kombucha!
The fermented tea product Kombucha is a huge favourite of health food lovers and that passion continues to grow. It seems you can find a bottle in most stores these days, but is it actually healthy for you?
You may be surprised to know that over 75 studies have been done on Kombucha attesting to its proven health properties. After all, it is a fermented food and ferments have been a part of many cultures for thousands of years.
It originated in China in the third century, and is fashioned from green, white or black tea. It's fermented for at least a week with sugar, and a culture consisting of bacteria and yeast. This is called the SCOBY, an acronym for "symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast."
Kombucha has been associated with a long list of health benefits. The beneficial bacteria support your digestion and immune system. It also contains antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids.
Before we get into some of those health benefits, it is important to learn how to drink kombucha.
In most stores, you can buy in volumes of 414ml or 1 litre. Simply put, consuming this much in one sitting or one day is way too much booch!
Too much can cause bloating and other digestive issues due to the high sugar content, you're literally consuming billions of microbes. Getting beneficial bacteria into your body is terrific, but we don’t want to promote the growth of merely the species in that bottle of kombucha.
We desire diversity.
Plus, without testing your gut populations, you don't know what is and isn't growing.
A good rule of thumb is to consume a shot glass per day.
Now here are some benefits of consuming kombucha the right way.
Antioxidants - Kombucha contains high levels of antioxidants including Vitamin E, C, carotenoids and polyphenols. All help the body deal with long term chronic oxidative stress.
This antioxidant power also protects against inflammatory disease, tumors and cell damage.
Obesity - Kombucha has been shown to balance metabolism, also in animal models it can help with weight loss by encouraging calorie restriction.
Anemia - Compounds found in kombucha allows iron from plants to be more available to the body. The high Vitamin C in kombucha increases iron absorption. This makes kombucha beneficial for elderly people and vegetarians.
Detoxification - Kombucha contains an acid that the body uses to combine with toxins and pollutants that we don’t want in the body. This combination allows us to easily excrete these harmful chemicals.
Immunity - Kombucha high levels of vitamin C help support your immune system against the constant oxidative stress the body experiences.
Because it's a fermented food, kombucha can develop an alcohol content that approaches the FDA's upper limit for a non-alcoholic beverage of 0.5% by volume. Some people report getting a buzz from the drink but others don't notice any effect at all.
If you are tempted to create your own kombucha, educate yourself first and follow instructions carefully, including using clean equipment, correct temperatures and glass containers.
Kombucha is not a drug but a traditional drink with many health-promoting properties. As with all foods, moderation is key. It's important to listen to your own body to determine whether it is an appropriate choice for you.
For more information, tips and tools around consuming ferments, don't hesitate to connect with us.
Simon Brazier. Dip HN, NNCP