What is Kombucha (kom-bu-cha) anyway?
It’s the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.
While there are limited amounts of research done on the beverage, there has been lots of research done on many of the nutrients and acids it contains in large quantities (such as B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids).
Kombucha is a naturally carbonated, fermented tea, which is very good for you.
While pasteurization and irradiation kill bacteria and yeast, fermentation actually uses live bacteria and yeast, as well as sugar, to create its finished product, which also include naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, beer, wine, yogurt, kefir, kvass and yes, kombucha. Kombucha is not as fermented as wine or beer — it only has a tiny amount of alcohol.
What are the health benefits?
1. Boosts the Immune System
Think of allergies, colds, and being run down in general – by consuming fermented foods and drinks, you can build up your immune system naturally. 70-80% of our immune system resides in our gut. Most of us have been on some form of antibiotics and other drugs that kill off bacteria, both good and bad. The ending results are that Kombucha’s fermentation encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are good for your gut and good for your immunity.
Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.
2. Natural Detoxifier
Kombucha has probiotics and enzymes that promote detoxification. One of the main jobs of the good bacteria in your gut is to detoxify. By adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut, you’re getting the job done faster.
Kombucha promotes detoxification. Regular consumption of kombucha tea also supports liver function.
3. Energy Boost
Kombucha is the original energy drink. Don’t mistake this to mean that you are getting this by some form of artificial boost. Because kombucha helps the body detoxify, there is less burden on your system, and as a result, you get more energy. As stated below, kombucha is also rich in B vitamins, which gives the body energy.
4. Rich in vitamins and enzymes
In addition to beneficial bacteria, kombucha contains B vitamins and enzymes.
B vitamins provide support for the body’s metabolic functions including overall energy, utilization of carbohydrates, heart health, and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Adequate intake of B vitamins can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, boost memory, and relieve PMS.
Most of us don’t get enough enzymes these days because we don’t eat enough raw food. The role of digestive enzymes is to break down the foods that we eat into smaller compounds so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.
5. Increased Metabolism
Enzymes boost metabolism. In addition, all the beneficial bacterial and enzymes in the kombucha help your body work better and take the burden off of its functioning.
6. PMS Relief
Kombucha helps to relieve PMS. How? B vitamins help to break down and flush out excess estrogen from the body (a condition called estrogen dominance). This can help to reduce PMS symptoms.
7. Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain
Kombucha contains glucosamine, a strong preventive and treatment for all forms of arthritis. Glucosamine increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.
If you’d like to tackle making this wonderful drink yourself, click here for my go-to recipe. While there are many sources and methods, this is the easiest and most satisfying. There are many sources to order a Scoby and a nice starter from, a friend or Google it and you’ll find many reputable locations. I drink it every day and so should you.
If you’re not quite ready for making it yourself, most health food stores carry it as well as stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.
Cheers to your health,
Holistic Health Coach