What in the world is Kombucha? Does it sound like an exotic drink? It sort of is! Kombucha is also known as tea mushroom, tea fungus, or Manchurian mushroom. Now, before you wrinkle your nose at the thought of this drink, you need to know why kombucha is so popular. And no, it’s not just because celebrities and Instagram models are posing with a bottle in every other selfie.
Kombucha may have originated in China or Japan, through the addition of particular strains of bacteria, yeast and sugar to black or green tea, then allowing it to ferment for a week or more. What happens during the process is the bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface (hence the name “mushroom tea”). What you get is a sour, slightly alcoholic and lightly acidic drink, somewhat comparable to vinegar (both have acetic acid due to the fermentation process). The specific culture used in kombucha is SCOBY or “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.”
Rich in probiotics
Essentially, Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. You should know that fermented foods and drinks are some of the healthiest things you can consume. This is because fermented foods contain bacteria–the good kind! They’re called probiotics and they can improve our overall health in so many ways. They help with gut health, digestion, inflammation and weight loss.
A source of antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which cause damage to cells. Antioxidants in kombucha made with green tea have great effects specifically to the liver. Studies have shown that regularly drinking kombucha reduces liver toxicity by at least 70 percent.
Green tea upgraded
If you don’t know about kombucha, you may at least know about green tea and how healthy it is. Green tea contains polyphenols, which are similar to antioxidants. Green tea has been proven to help burn more calories, reduce belly fat, and stabilise cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Green tea has also been found to reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.
Because it can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, kombucha can give you the chance of combating certain diseases. Green tea kombucha may lower the risk of developing heart disease by 30 percent. People at risk of type 2 diabetes can also benefit from kombucha since a study found that green tea lowers the risk of becoming diabetic by 18 percent. Another study observed that kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells.
If you think you’re ready to give kombucha a shot, you should also be aware of other side effects. Drinking kombucha is not advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, since this might compromise your immune system. Some people have also reported side effects, such as stomach aches, nausea and dizziness from drinking kombucha. If you’re planning to make your own kombucha, there are some strict rules to follow. You’re working with live micro-organisms here, so it’s not your everyday cup of tea. It’s much better to stick to buying from a reputable source.