I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell is Kombucha?” If the long list of superfoods, seeds, weird colored powders, and supplements weren’t enough, now people are drinking… fizzy fermented tea? With the recent ‘non-GMO,’ ‘vegan,’ ‘gluten-free,’ ‘Dr. Oz’ craze in Western culture, it seems we have a new miracle cure every other second. But is it all worth the hype? Well, when my brother decided to make his own Kombucha at home in what seemed like a weird sour-smelling cauldron with a thin cloth over it (that sat there for weeks), I knew it was time to get to the bottom of this odd little trend.
What the hell is it?
Kombucha, or as the Ancient Chinese called it “Immortal Health Elixir” or the “Immortality Drink,” has been around for 2,000 years and has a rich history behind its origins. That’s right folks, it’s not just a weird hipster thing. It is a drink essentially made from tea, usually black, that is fermented and is packed with probiotics that help digestion. Gaining more popularity everyday, Kombucha is a nutrient packed, low-calorie drink that is as refreshing as it is healthy.
Here are three reasons why:
1. It Promotes A Healthy Immune System (Anti-Cancer)
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Everything seems to cause cancer these days and everything seems to be able to fix cancer these days. So what’s the truth? Well, Kombucha is especially genuine when it comes to these claims. In the first half of the 20th century, Russian researchers hypothesized a link between low cancer rates and Kombucha. They then went on to continue their research for years to discover the benefits of drinking Kombucha. Due to the high amount of antioxidants found in the drink, it is able to control the ‘free radicals’ that cause cell damage and help support a healthy immune system.
2. It Improves Digestion
Someone once told me, “all disease starts in your gut.” I never knew what they meant by that until recently. Your digestive system is so much more important than many realize. It controls the absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into your body, which are all vital to staying healthy. If you neglect your gut, you neglect your health. This is why probiotics and beneficial acids (like those found in Kombucha) are so important. SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) found at the bottom of the drink is where all the good stuff is found. That’s why you must always tip your Kombucha to mix the culture into the tea. DO NOT SHAKE. It’s already fizzy as f*ck. Kombucha is a powerhouse of detoxification and digestive health.
3. It Helps Increase Energy
This is what initially attracted me about Kombucha. I have chronic fatigue and no matter how many hours I sleep, I’m still exhausted. I’m also anemic, meaning I have an iron deficiency. Kombucha helps boost your energy because of the formation of iron during the fermentation process. Iron is vital for healthy bodies and energy levels. Kombucha also contains a bit of caffeine that can help give you a boost. However, the SCOBY, also referred to as the ‘Mother’ or ‘Kombucha Culture’, metabolize the caffeine in the tea so you don’t have to. This results in a drink packed with probiotics, healthy acids, antioxidants, and enzymes.
Improved pancreas function
Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
Helps nutrient assimilation
There you have it. Who knew there were so many benefits of drinking fermented tea! Now, after reading this I was very curious to try it myself. Sure it sounds great, but what if it tastes awful? So, I went to the nearest health foods store and picked up a Rosehip & Hibiscus Kombucha. It was divine. It was fresh, a little floral, a little sour, fizzy, and not too strong. It was delightful and I couldn’t help but walk with a little extra bounce in my step on my way home. There are many brands of Kombucha but my favorite is by far Rise Kombucha and Live Kombucha. Maybe my brother was onto something, because now I want to try to make my own!
Tip: Kombucha is best cold, before a meal (to help satiate the body), after your meal (to aid with digestion of foods), or in the morning on an empty stomach for major benefits (and a ‘pick me up’). Lastly, it acts as a hangover cure for those who drank a little too much last night!
What’s your favorite flavor? Comment below!