What is Kombucha?
Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and (especially) your gut.
HOW DOES THIS ANCIENT DRINK MAKE SUCH A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR BODY?
Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.
Since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.”
Drinking kombucha every day can help you to maintain peak immune health, which trickles down into an impressive number of benefits for your overall health.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional, probiotic food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar.
After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). These bacteria are known as “cellulose-producing bacteria,” meaning they produce cellulose, which acts as a shield to cells.
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas. Contrary to common claims, a SCOBY is not a kombucha mushroom. Some people find it a healthier substitute for sodas, satisfying that craving for a fizzy drink. There are even some soda-flavored varieties — but watch the sugar content.
7 Health Benefits of Kombucha
- Fights cancer
- Strengthens immune system
- Promotes weight loss
- Eases joint pain
- Detoxifies with probiotics
- Boosts energy and libido
- Aids digestive system
THE FOLLOWING PROBIOTICS MAKE UP THIS HEALTH ELIXIR:
- Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
- Acetobacter (<2 percent)
- Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
- Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
KOMBUCHA NUTRITION FACTS
I commonly hear people getting concerned about kombucha calories. While nutrition facts will differ between brands and homemade brews, here is the breakdown of what one popular brand includes in a 16-ounce bottle of unpasteurized, organic kombucha:
- 60 calories
- 20 milligrams sodium
- 14 grams carbohydrate
- 4 grams of sugar
- 100 micrograms folate (25 percent DV)
- .34 grams riboflavin/vitamin B2 (20 percent DV)
- .4 milligrams vitamin B6 (20 percent DV)
- .3 milligrams thiamine/Vitamin B1 (20 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams niacin/Vitamin B3 (20 percent DV)
- 1.2 micrograms vitamin B12 (20 percent DV)
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