Have you heard of kombucha? Well if not, this will be even more of an enlightening experience for you!
So let’s start off with the basics – what actually is it?!
Kombucha is a naturally carbonated fermented tea. The process to make it is actually exceedingly simple & basically involves adding a colony of specific bacteria known as a SCOBY (which looks like a slightly alien mat, you’d have to see one to understand what I mean) to a cooled container of tea with a little sugar (this feeds those bacteria & fuels the fermentation process). That goes on for 2-4 weeks, then the SCOBY is removed & the partially fermented tea bottled under pressure. You can add flavourings like a little juice or cordial at this point & then the kombucha is left for its 2nd fermentation for another 10-14 days to produce its characteristic fizz.
So why on Earth is everyone going crazy for this stuff – well that’s the interesting bit!
As an overarching statement the fermented nature of kombucha is supportive of our general health & wellbeing as we have strong evidence to show that a more diverse colony of probiotic bacteria within the gut (which fermented foods will bolster) is linked to lower incidences of chronic disease, better immune function, more stable moods, optimal cholesterol levels, digestive efficacy & many more. I will however now go on to speak about a few of these in more detail.
I must mention before I do though that for those who have issues with yeasts or histamine, fermented foods may actually be contraindicated but this would be something to be discussed in an individual setting. If this is a concern for you please do not hesitate to be in touch, I am always more than happy to answer questions.
Within our digestive tract probiotic bacteria have a number of actions. They form a security patrol force guarding the intestinal membrane & protecting us from pathogenic bacteria we may come into contact with, they harness & indeed make nutrients for us, & they also directly interact with our nervous system positively affecting our mood, sleep cycle & cognitive function.
The colonies of bacteria found in kombucha (as a natural product the variety & proportions of the strains present will vary slightly in each batch) have been shown to vastly improve symptoms of IBS, aid in the correction of chronic diarrhoea & decrease the frequency of illness in those who include it into their diets on a regular basis.
And fascinatingly in clinical trials kombucha was also shown to have a strong antimicrobial activity against numerous pathogens including staphylococcus aureus & E. coli, in addition to numerous compounds linked to the progression of breast, cervical, prostate & colon cancers. So here we can preliminarily suggest that those who drink kombucha on a regular basis may also have a decreased risk of certain cancers.
Starting to think of it as more than a fizzy tea yet?
There are many things that will contribute to emotional instability in someone & I wouldn’t herald the drinking of kombucha as the answer to all of their ills, however there is indication that the anti-inflammatory influence of kombucha may improve symptoms of depression in certain individuals.
This benefit can be seen with the inclusion of other forms of fermented foods too so it is more than likely that this is linked to the aforementioned interplay between those probiotics & the nervous system. Personally I think this is a fascinating area of evolving research & it is 1 I am certainly keeping my beady eyes on!
In addition to probiotic bacteria kombucha is also rich in antioxidants which support the liver in protecting us from the pressures of our modern world. Everything we come into contact with externally – pollutants, toxins, chemicals etc, in addition to any medications we take, hormones that have done their job, waste products from our metabolism, the list goes on, these all pass through our liver to be broken down & excreted. Not a burden I would want on my shoulders I can tell you! So yes absolutely giving this exceptionally hardworking organ a helping hand is an incredibly good idea when it comes to being & staying well.
The 1 thing to be cautious of here however is due to the fermentation process some kombucha may contain traces of alcohol so if you have a liver condition it may be an unsuitable inclusion for you.
Again harping back to those probiotic bacteria (sorry to be a bore but they’re AWESOME aren’t they) those with a larger diversity of strains within their digestive tract are shown to be, & maintain, a more ideal weight. This can be down to the fact that those tiny little chaps influence our hunger signalling, it can be that they support better nutrient absorption from our food so we have more building blocks to make our energy & thus don’t crave foods so readily, or a combination of the 2.
Additionally if kombucha is made with green tea (it will depend on the product, some are green, some are green & black, some are black tea by itself) the additional metabolism stimulating effects & greater antioxidant levels are shown to improve fat burning & aid weight loss.
And that’s that! I hope you found this little insight into kombucha interesting, & just to clarify it is by no means a new thing, it has been around for an exceptionally long time, we have just made it the talk of the town recently!
So yes I would say it is here to stay, in my opinion at least, & to label it a ‘fizzy tea’ is more than underplaying its fantastically health supporting attributes.
And as always please do feel free to be in touch if this has raised any questions or queries.
With healthy wishes,