Have you ever heard of Kombucha?
Kombucha is an ancient beverage that was originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago for its detoxifying and energizing properties. It gained popularity again in the 1950’s and again in the past few years. But, what is it exactly? Although it’s sometimes referred to as mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom. Basically, Kombucha is made from either a green or black tea base. They add sugar which has been fermented with a type of tree fungus called “Scoby” which is an acronym for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast”. They ferment this product for 1-2 weeks which creates a drink that is best described as “a sour apple cider, perhaps with vinegary notes” but manufactures have now found ways to make it taste good by flavoring it with herbs or fruit. So why would you want this product? Firstly, anything that is fermented such as kombucha, miso (fermented barley, rice or soybeans), tempeh (fermented soybeans), kimchi (fermented cabbage), kefir (fermented milk), and yogurt are very rich in good bacteria, or probiotics. Basically, these probiotics grow during the fermentation process. They take care of your gut, improving digestion and boosting immunity. Kombucha contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body. Kombucha, especially when made with green tea, has antioxidant effects in your liver and helps to reduce liver toxicity. Kombucha has also shown to help reduce blood sugar levels and improve liver and kidney function, especially when made from green tea as green tea itself is beneficial for blood sugars. In short, kombucha has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. You can actually make your own kombucha but you need to purchase the active starter culture (scoby). Luckily, you can purchase kombucha already made in tasty flavors such as lemon ginger, coconut, green tea, all fruit flavors and many more. Be sure the label says that it’s a living product. It may say “raw” and it may list the active cultures on the label. If you’re cutting calories or carbs, be sure it is sweetened with stevia and not sugar. Also, be sure it is free of artificial ingredients or preservatives.