Kombucha is a naturally fermented drink rich in probiotics, which are live bacterial cultures. It’s brewed with tea, sugar and the starting culture called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) which is from what most of its health benefits are derived from.
The exact origins of this fermented drink remain unknown however many believe it originated in China, where the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang drank kombucha for its health benefits and subsequently gave it the name lingzhi – ‘the elixir of immortality’. Kombucha is now consumed all over the world, produced commercially as well as homebrewed.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Kombucha!
- It helps keep your gut lining healed and sealed: Kombucha contains Butyric acid which is a short-chain fatty acids that is easily absorbed by cells in the gut wall and used as a main source of energy. This allows them to continuously repair and regenerate to keep them tightly sealed and prevent a leaky gut. Butyric acid also protects against parasite and yeast infections.
- Aids in digestions: Kombucha is acidic, but it also helps achieve a favourable PH balance in your gut by either increasing or decreasing the amount of stomach acid in your stomach. Kombucha also contains digestive enzymes which are required to break down food particles into easily absorbable nutrients.
- Reduces inflammation in your joints: Kombucha contains glucosamine which is a key nutrient required for healthy joints. Glucosamine reduces inflammation and thus pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.
- It contains small amounts of alcohol: This is a by-product of the fermentation process but it’s unlikely you will be left feeling tipsy. Most leading commercial varieties such as OK Organic Kombucha Hibiscus & Lime flavour contain less than 0.5% alcohol which is very low compared to most standard alcoholic drinks.
- The sugar feeds the SCOBY: Whilst sugar isn’t typically a desirable ingredient in food and beverages, it is vital in kombucha as it acts as food for the culture so they can stay alive and ferment. As they eat the sugar, the bacteria release ethanol which is the alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is what causes the bubbles. However, some can contain up to three times the amount of sugar that’s necessary so aim for 5-7g per serve. OK Organic Kombucha Hibiscus & Lime flavour contains 5.4g per bottle.
- Supports a healthy and happy mood: This is firstly due to the B vitamins found in kombucha which are produced during the fermentation process. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, help to boost energy levels and contribute to overall mental wellbeing. Furthermore, its gut repairing benefits also help to keep the communication free flowing along the gut-brain axis which plays a key role in regulating neurotransmitters such as the feel-good hormone, serotonin.
- Fights off infections: The good bacteria found in the culture fight off harmful pathogenic bacteria and create an environment where they can’t thrive. One of the bi-products of fermentation is acetic acid which acts as an antibacterial agent targeted to the bad bacteria keeping your immune system fighting strong.
- Support healthy lungs: A likely unexpected or less known benefit but kombucha is a potential treatment method for silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles. Chinese scientists discovered that inhaling kombucha provided therapeutic effects. That being said, it’s far too tasty so I would recommend you drink it, rather than inhale it.
- Supports detoxification: Kombucha is packed with antioxidants which cleanse the liver helping to flush out harmful toxins. The antioxidants also offset any free radical damage caused by the toxins.
- It contains caffeine, which might give you a light buzz: Like many types of tea, kombucha contains some caffeine, though the amount is fairly low. Most commercial products contain anywhere from 2 to 25mg—far less than coffee which contains approximately 95mg.