You’re probably wondering, what is kombucha? We don’t blame you. Many people have actually never heard of it, which is a bummer seeing how it’s one of the finest drinks for promoting gut health.
To keep it simple, kombucha is a fermented, quirky-tasting drink that is somewhat similar to sour apple cider vinegar. However, the taste can vary slightly based on what else is added to it. This drink is supposed to have its roots in China. Some might even think it’s part of the same territory as kimchi and other fermented foods. To learn more about kombucha, click here.
How Kombucha is Made
This drink will generally have black or green tea as the base for preparation. To this, white sugar is added which is fermented with a kind of ‘tea fungus’.
The fungus is supposed to be a symbiotic culture of bacteria, yeast, and acetic acid. This tea fungus is prepared over prolonged periods of 1-2 weeks.
Kombucha’s taste changes consistently during the fermentation process where it goes from being fruity/sour to having ‘vinegary’ notes once the long incubation period is over.
Fermentation Process – the Heart of Kombucha
This process is important because the fungus or SCOBY involved in fermentation changes the polyphenols into organic compounds. Polyphenols are generally found in fruits, vegetables, and teas. This leads to increased acidity which prevents the growth of other microorganisms.
Essentially the presence of these organic compounds is what is supposed to aid gut health and offer myriad health benefits that extend well beyond that of black or green tea.
The fermentation process also elongates the shelf-life of foods like kombucha and other historically popular and fermented foods/drinks like sauerkraut, wine, kimchi, beer, yogurt, and cheese.
Claims about Gut Health
It’s common knowledge that certain fermented foods like yogurt contain ‘the good bacteria’. According to a few theories as well as some early research, these bacteria improve gut health by colonizing and thus improving a range of bodily functions. They are supposedly helpful in suppressing weird cravings and weight loss. They may also act as mood-enhancer and stress buster.
It is, however, important to note that simply ingesting those bacteria is not going to facilitate gut health. The key to helping them colonize and live in your gut permanently is to consume them on a regular basis. That is why some people would have probiotics first thing in the morning because they contain those good live bacteria.
While there is some anecdotal evidence that kombucha may help with certain gut issues like C. difficile infection; it remains largely unknown whether it could help with inflammatory bowel issues.
The best thing you can do is to consume kombucha with a variety of other healthy and gut-friendly foods and see how your body reacts/adjusts to them.
If you love foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt; chances are you will love the taste and flavor of kombucha as well. So, if you haven’t tried it out yet, by all means – go ahead and have at it. Who knows! Perhaps you will add one more ad