We have all seen kombucha at the store—the glass bottles filled with orange liquid advertising their probiotics and health benefits. But what actually is kombucha? Where did it come from? Kombucha has been used both as a delicious drink and a medicinal beverage since the late 1800s.
There are many health benefits to eating or drinking fermented food—think cheese, yogurt, sour cream, or sauerkraut—although they are not appealing to some people. The rise of mass-produced food has led to a downfall in real and fermented foods in people’s diets. Kombucha is one way to add this back into a standard diet without too much change.
Kombucha is a mixture of black tea and sugar that has had a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) placed into it. The SCOBY is the culture of beneficial bacteria and yeast that will ferment the tea. It generally takes one to four weeks before the beverage reaches its best flavor, sweetness, and carbonation. This is a process that is quite easy to do in your own home.
There are many theories about why the bacteria and yeast form this SCOBY, but the most plausible seems to be that it protects the fermenting tea from air and shields the kombucha from “unfriendly” bacteria.
The benefits of incorporating kombucha into your diet are many. Not only is it anti-microbial, but it is full of antioxidants. This helps reduce inflammation. Kombucha has also been said to detoxify the organs, reduce constipation, and boost energy. The small amount of caffeine from the tea also proves beneficial as well. It’s a probiotic and it soothes the intestinal tract. The antioxidants reduce free radicals and aid in healthy cell regeneration.
No matter what issues you are seeking to address, kombucha is both a simple and delicious addition the diet that can work miracles and also provide a fun in-home DIY project.