So far, this blog has been a random collection of ramblings, recipes, and things that excite and inspire me in the health & wellness foodie world. Yet I have been trying to carve out a more specific niche and purpose for this blog, my interest of all things wellness, food and my Institute for Integrative Nutrition education, have me gradually shifting toward “foods and beverages I love to eat, drink and prepare and the health-benefits of said food and beverages.”
That is what excites me so much about healthy food in general, not only can it taste great and look great, but it can be great for you. Putting food in your body is like putting gas in your car, you can alter the output performance by the quality of the input.
Today, we are going to discuss one of my favorite beverages from both a taste and health-promotion standpoint, kombucha.
If you’ve ever walked into your local health food store and seen a wall that looks like this, you’ve seen kombucha.
What is Kombucha?
There is nothing that makes you feel quite like an alien from another planet than explaining Kombucha to someone who has never heard of it before.
“Uhhh… it’s like a really healthy Japanese fermented tea…”
The next question that follows is usually, “why would you want to drink tea that is fermented?”
“Well, it tastes really good and there are a ton of health benefits and… just try it… you’ll see”
At which point the person may make a face, wrinkle their nose, and exclaim that it tastes like vinegar. Most of the time, it will grow on them. I’ve converted many naysayers to Kombucha devotes. My college friends now use Kombucha as their vodka chaser/mixer of choice. It’s certainly an acquired taste.
I Love Kombucha
It’s no secret that I absolutely love Kombucha. It’s quite possibly my favorite beverage and you can often spot me walking around doting a glass bottle full of the stuff or the passenger seat of my car littered with empty kombucha bottles.
I love the taste and there is just something about the way it makes me feel, an energy boost yet a calming and relaxing feeling at the same time… and I haven’t even mentioned the health benefits yet.
Some people may collect keychains or some other little memento when on vacation, I collect local Kombucha bottles. You should see my eyes light up when a place has Kombucha on tap. I’ve had the pleasure to visit a Kombucha brewery in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Although I’ve tasted many different kombuchas from around the country, my favorite brand continues to be G.T.’s and my favorite flavor continues to be Trilogy.
I’ve even experimented with brewing my own Kombucha, a very weird process that involves water, tea, cane sugar and a S.C.O.B.Y (a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacterial Yeast… do you think I’m officially a weirdo yet?) Some may call me a Kombucha addict, but I prefer dedicated fan.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Okay, now we’re getting to the good stuff. Other drinks may taste just as good as the magical wonder potion, but they most likely do not boast the same health-promoting properties.
According to DrAxe.com, the newest research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014 states that “it is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.”
Let me break it down for you in simple terms for why Kombucha has magical properties.
Kombucha has been shown to detox the body by counteracting liver cell toxicity.
Kombucha boasts high levels of beneficial acids, probiotics and enzymes, which is why is great for the digestive system.
As far the the energy promoting properties go, some of the iron that is released from the black tea during the fermentation process has been shown to increase energy. Kombucha also contains B-vitamins and trace amounts of caffeine, which help to energize the body as well.
Lately, I have been upping my kombucha intake in order to support my immune system during these winter months. Kombucha contains a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) that emerges during the fermentation process. DSL, coupled with the high levels of vitamin-C and probiotics found in Kombucha, have been shown to give the immune system a boost.
I find that Kombucha also works as a natural appetite suppressant for me, which is why it has been credited as having weight loss properties. The natural effervescence (“fizziness”) of the beverage really fills me up. When I want something to sip on and a little energy boost, but don’t want to eat a full blown snack or meal, I turn to a kombucha. Although beware of the bloating that may occur!
What About The Alcohol?
Due to the fact that kombucha is a naturally fermented product, it contains a trace amount of alcohol and you need to be 21 in order to purpose certain brands. But, I can assure you that the amount of alcohol essentially nonexistent.
Another one of my favorite, kombucha products, is Unity Vibration Kombucha Beer, a unique beverage of kombucha + hops. This product is an entirely different beast and I can assume that the amount of alcohol in this product is quite existent.
Proof that the kombucha movement is continuing to pick up traction, I found this new brand local Kombucha made in kitchen in Royal Oak, Michigan at a health-food restaurant and I have a feeling it will continue to appear around Detroit! There is talk of it being sold at Eastern Market next season which I am very excited about. I love supporting local business and local kombucha is even better!