Kombucha has been a huge factor in helping me to establish and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and overcome irritable bowel syndrome. Oh, and its absolutely delicious!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha [pronounced KOM-BOO-CHA] is a fermented probiotic tea, also known to the Chinese as the 'Immortal Health Elixir'.
Health benefits of drinking Kombucha daily
By drinking it, you introduce GOOD bacteria into your digestive tract, where they can improve health in a number of ways. Including improved digestion, weight loss/balancing, detoxification, increased energy and immune support.
We all have about 2kg of microbes in our gut and on our skin (by number, we are 10 times more bacteria than human cells!). This is called our microbiome.
Your microbiome is a delicate balance between good (friendly) bacteria and bad (pathogenic) bacteria. When this delicate balance is disrupted with antibiotics, stress, poor diet, sickness, invasive medical procedures (chemo, radiation etc) then a wide variety of health complaints can appear.
Our friendly bacteria:
- Keep our digestive system healthy
- Break down sugar and proteins to provide us with energy
- Prevent overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria
- Synthesise hormones, vitamin K2, B vitamins and amino acids (almost entirely responsible for our supply of B12)
- Chelate heavy metals, carcinogens and other toxic substances
- Convert food into nourishing substances for the lining of the gut
- Are the basis of our immune system by fighting pathogenic microbes
- Digestive imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, food intolerances and diseases like IBS, asthma, eczema, allergies, fight candida (harmful yeast) and autoimmune conditions may all be improved by restoring the gut.
What is in it?
An article published in the journal Food Microbiology established that 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)
Additionally, the final brew has;
Ethanol (around 0.5% compared to Beer about 5%) Research shows that ethanol and acetic acid have antimicrobial activity against pathogenic (bad) bacteria. The alcohol content of a brew increases after bottling and can reach 2-5%.
Carbon dioxide/carbonic acid Carbonates the 2nd ferment brew, making it fizzy
Sugar Added to feed yeast and bacteria, mostly gone when fermented adequately
Vitamins Some B & C vitamins left behind when yeast breaks down sugars
Acetic acid Considered healthy, but when left too long can react with alcohol and form acetates which should not be consumed. If your Kombucha smells like acetone, don’t drink it.
Lactic acid Byproduct of fermenting process, may have a slight laxative effect.
Glucoronic Acid Binds to toxins and transforms them for easy elimination from the body
Caffeine Small residual amount may be present from the tea
Where can you get Kombucha?
Health food stores and some health-conscious restaurants have Kombucha available to purchase either bottled or on tap. Which might be a great way to sample different flavours, but to get the most value for money, brewing your own is easy!
- CARNA – Fermenting for Life. Fermented food & kombucha brewing workshops in Australia & Bali. www.carnafermentingforlife.com
- Helen Kollias, Precision Nutrition (2016). “Research Review: Say Hello to my (trillions of) little friends”. Retrieved 20/10/2016. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-review-gut-bacteria
- Ryan Andrews, Precision Nutrition (2012). “All About Kombucha”. Retrieved 20/10/2016. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-kombucha
- Wellness Mama (updated 2016) “How to make Kombucha; Recipe & tutorial” Retrieved 20/10/2016. http://wellnessmama.com/2673/kombucha-recipe/
- Dr Axe "7 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Every Day" Retrieved 20/10/2016. https://draxe.com/7-reasons-drink-kombucha-everyday