As I look out my office window on this dreary, rainy day, it’s hard to believe summer is just around the corner. Still, it has me thinking about all the delicious, summery drinks I love enjoying on the patio, and one of my favourites is kombucha.
Kombucha has taken the world by storm over the past few years, but what makes this sweet, tangy, drink so special? And why are individuals, young and old, flocking to health food stores and supermarkets to get their hands on these bottles of fizzy deliciousness? This month I take a closer look at how kombucha is made, where it comes from, plus all of the incredible health benefits this power-house has to offer, so let’s go!
Where Did Kombucha Come From?
Before doing research for this article, I had no idea kombucha had been around for so long, over 2200 years, actually. According to The Conversation, kombucha is an ancient beverage originating in China and was used for its detoxifying and energizing properties. This delicious beverage eventually found its way to Russia and Eastern Europe as more trade routes where discovered. By WWII, kombucha had made its way to Germany, and by the 1950s, its popularity spread to France and North Africa. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s when kombucha hit the markets in North America and grew into a multi-million dollar industry.
How is Kombucha Made?
So, how is this ancient yet trendy health drink made? It all starts by introducing the Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast (otherwise known as SCOBY) into brewed, sweetened black or green tea. The mixture is then left to ferment for one to four weeks, so the sugar can munch away on the yeast, leaving behind a slightly sour, naturally carbonated beverage. Fruit, herbs, and/or spices are added to give the kombucha a boost of unique flavour. The mixture is left to ferment for a second time. Once the second fermentation is complete, the blend is off to be bottled.
What are the Health Benefits of Kombucha?
Now that you’ve got the low-down on how kombucha is made and a bit of its history, it’s time to unveil the real reason you’re still reading this article – the health benefits of kombucha. So, without further ado…
Booch (AKA kombucha) is known for being rich in probiotics due to the fermenting process used. But don’t take my word for it, this 2014 study confirms kombucha’s probiotic bacteria are similar to those found in the gut. Plus, experts in the health and wellness community believe there is a connection between probiotics and gut health, which hints it supports the digestive system, but more research is needed.
Fun Fact – incorporating probiotics into your wellness routine can keep the peace in your gut by balancing healthy bacteria. It may also help with diarrhea and IBS symptoms.
When kombucha is fermenting, acetic acid (also found in vinegar) is produced, which suggests it can kill microbes and help your body fight off a whole host of bacteria, ultimately preventing infection.
Numerous studies have concluded a secure link between depression and inflammation. There is also a known connection between probiotics and depression, which suggests the anti-inflammatory and probiotic properties of kombucha are a positivity powerhouse, but more research is needed to identify just how useful these properties are for depression and mental health in general.
For the most part, we have a clear understanding of the effects certain cholesterols can have on our bodies, including heart disease. According to two independent studies conducted in 2012 and 2015, kombucha reduced cholesterol levels linked to heart disease – insert mind-blown emoji here! Keep in mind that adding booch into your routine won’t solely prevent heart disease, it should be enjoyed in addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise, and solid lifestyle habits.
Have you heard the term antioxidants? I’m sure you have. It’s commonly found in a whole host of fruits and vegetables, but what exactly are antioxidants? Medical News Today describes antioxidants as substances that can prevent or slow the damage caused by free radical, unstable molecules that your body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. Wow, not cool. Thankfully, kombucha is packed with antioxidants that help fight off these damaging molecules and reduce unwanted toxins in the liver. Studies also advise booch may play a role in reducing liver inflammation.
Like any health product, it’s vital to know the risks. While kombucha is a relatively low-risk product, you should consider:
- If purchasing kombucha, be sure to check the label for how much sugar is in each serving.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, pass on the booch because it contains small amounts of caffeine and alcohol, plus it’s unpasteurized.
- When making kombucha at home, be careful not to over ferment or contaminate your batch as both can cause serious health concerns.
- Always consult your healthcare professional before adding new items into your wellness routine.
So, there you have it, the skinny on booch. Each Nutters Everyday Naturals location across Western Canada has an amazing selection of kombuchas in a ton of refreshing flavours, so be sure to stop in and stock up or add a couple bottles to your next Call & Collect or Call & Delivery order!