Of all the lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health, adding a beverage is among the easiest. Kombucha is a fermented beverage that has its origins in the Tsin Dynasty in China. It is known to have a wide range of health properties and can be transported just like a smoothie or water, making it a convenient addition to your heath regime. It is also easy to make yourself, which means it is an affordable drink you can fine-tune to your own liking.
Kombucha is a fermented drink made by using organic black tea, organic cane sugar, filtered water and a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). A scoby looks like a slimy pancake, or as my friend, Michelle, referred to it, chicken fat. The scoby is basically the living home for the bacteria and yeast to transform plain tea into tangy kombuncha.
Making kombucha at home is easy. First, brew some black tea. After you make the tea, add the sugar, let it cool and add the scoby, the Kombucha sits in a dark place untouched for 7-10 days. It can be left for longer, but the longer it sits, the less sugar it has and therefore the more it tastes like vinegar. During the wait time, a new scoby will grow on top of the liquid. This now allows you to create two batches at a time or give one a way for someone else to start brewing.
Kombucha is great way to help fight disease. According to Dr. Axe, it is beneficial for the immune system, decreasing inflammation, weight loss, joint pain, energy, stomach ulcers, digestion, allergies, depression, anxiety and more.
Kombucha will help populate your gut microbiome with good guys, but drinking this alone should not be the only form of probiotics you consume. We should be eating fermented foods daily like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, pickles, raw cheese and yogurt from goat or sheep milk that is organic and grass-fed. Taking a good-quality probiotic supplement is also helpful.
The benefits of kombucha come from the probiotics which are produced during the fermentation process. When kombucha is store bought, the pasteurization causes you to lose some of the good bacteria and you also lose the ability to control the ingredients. During a second fermentation process, you can get creative with the flavors and play around with the level of carbonation. Many people use kombucha as a way of transitioning off of soda. It can be carbonated like soda, but has so many health benefits.
If you are new kombucha or don’t love the taste, you can try diluting it. For my daughters, we make a 70-80% kombucha and 20-30% apple juice and they love it. We try to get it in as much as possible, so we add it to smoothies and salad dressings. Kombucha is also great for cleaning. If you let it ferment longer, it will turn into vinegar and then it is great for killing germs. It also helps to remove smells from a load of laundry.
If you want to learn how to brew your own kombucha, join me on November 9th at 5:30 p.m. at Natural Grocers in Davenport, Iowa. For more about improving your gut health, contact our office for a free health consultation at (563) 355-7411.
Mandala Integrative Medicine