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Kombucha 101: What It Is, How It’s Made, and Why It’s Beneficial

Kombucha is estimated to have been around for over 2,000 years. Made through the ancient technique of preserving foods by fermentation, kombucha is a fermented drink made from certain bacteria and yeast mixed with black or green tea and sugar.

Kombucha takes already-healthy tea to a higher level of health-giving benefits.

Kombucha’s unique blend of yeast and bacteria create a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast,” or SCOBY. The sugar feeds the SCOBY and nourishes beneficial colonies of bacteria. The fermentation gives kombucha a slightly tart, slightly fizzy, mildly sweet taste.

How Is Kombucha Made?

Green or black tea is the “foundation” for making kombucha, and it is after the brewing process that the science of fermentation takes over for a week or more. During fermentation, bacteria and yeast create a mushroom-like film that floats on the surface of the liquid, which is the SCOBY. If you buy kombucha in a bottle, you can see this SCOBY at the bottom of the bottle or floating inside the liquid. This is normal. In fact, the SCOBY can be used to ferment new kombucha.

During the fermentation process, the SCOBY produces acetic acid (also present in vinegar), plus other acids. Fermentation also produces trace amounts of alcohol as well as the gases that give kombucha its fizz.

What Are Some of the Health Benefits of Kombucha?

Like many other fermented foods such as yogurts and wines, kombucha offers many health benefits. The bacteria that grow in the SCOBY contains several strains of lactic acid bacteria that are believed to have a probiotic function. Probiotics are what keep your gut supplied with healthy bacteria that improve digestion, keep inflammation in check, and which can even assist with weight loss.

Kombucha is also a great source of antioxidants, including polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals and the oxidation process that can damage cells. Studies in rodents have found that drinking kombucha significantly reduces liver toxicity caused by toxic chemicals.

You don’t have to make your own kombucha. You can find high-quality kombucha in stores and online.

Other rodent studies have found that regular consumption of kombucha can improve both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, which are two main markers of heart disease risk. What’s more, green tea kombucha, in particular, helps prevent LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing, and it is the oxidation of LDL that is believed to contribute to heart disease.

Kombucha is also good for keeping blood glucose levels steadier. In diabetic rodents, kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbohydrates, preventing spikes in blood glucose.

Some Recommended Kombucha Products

You’ll find plenty of kombucha products on store shelves, but how do you know which ones are healthiest? Here are some recommendations.

  • Brew Dr. kombucha is made from tea by Townshend’s Tea Company, and is blended with organic herbs, fruits, and other botanical ingredients.
  • Health-Ade kombucha is small-batch kombucha fermented in glass with cold-pressed flavors. It’s certified organic, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and certified R.A.W.
  • GT’s kombucha aims to make high-quality kombucha accessible to everyone, everywhere. This family-owned company handcrafts kombucha in small batches, inspired by “Mother Nature.”

Tea is healthy, but if you want to take it to the next level, then perhaps you should try kombucha. Fermented foods have been nature’s way of keeping humans healthy for thousands of years, and kombucha is an increasingly popular drink for people who are committed to building a stronger, healthier body from the inside out. If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time. 

About the Author: Lisa Jubilee

Lisa Jubilee

Lisa Jubilee is a New York State Certified Dietician-Nutritionist, who has been counseling individuals on sustainable weight management and disease prevention for over 15 years. Her mission is to empower individuals to obtain healthy food relationships and to clearly understand the concept of food as medicine. Lisa chose to create a functional nutrition practice where what, why and how we eat are all part of the conversation. In 2005, Lisa co-founded Living Proof Nutrition Strength Pilates, a private nutrition, HIST (high intensity strength training) and Pilates studio, located in midtown Manhattan. Inspired by the growing prevalence of autoimmune conditions, particularly those linked to sugar, wheat and gluten, Ms Jubilee started an entrepreneurial food business in late 2016 to provide a gluten-free, grain-free, low in sugar cookie that fits into virtually any diet. Her mission to educate the public on the power of food as either health promoting or depleting continues with her Every Day, Anytime Cookie; Keto-Snaps.com.