By Victoria Lau; First Year Project Manager
Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese, kombucha has earned it’s place in history as both a delicious and healthy drink with many health benefits. New food trends have helped propel to kombucha to its current status as one of nature’s “superfoods.” Kombucha is available in a wide range of flavors to please everyone’s palate, and can easily be found at most grocery stores and health markets. Many people find kombucha to be a healthier substitute for sodas. Kombucha can also easily be made at home by using a kombucha-making kit.
Although the origins of kombucha are not known, it is believed to have originated in China and had been consumed there for at least two thousand years. The first recorded use of kombucha came from China in 221 BC, and was dubbed the “Immortal Health Elixir.” Kombucha has also been used in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Japan for several centuries.
But what exactly is kombucha? Kombucha, when correctly prepared, is a fermented, probiotic tea that’s tart, lightly sweetened, and carbonated. It’s tang and fizziness comes from a fermentation process somewhat similar to brewing vinegar. During the production process, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts is added to sugar and tea. As the Kombucha culture digests the sugar, it produces a range of beneficial acids and vitamins. The tea in kombucha provides a slew of antioxidants and polyphenols. The antioxidants in tea are believed to help to counteract free radicals that can disturb the digestive system. However, most of the literature reviewed indicates that kombucha’s main health benefit lies in high levels of probiotics. The fermentation process involved in creating kombucha provides a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics line your digestive tract and help to support your immune system, as probiotics aid in the digestion of nutrients and fight infection and illness.
In addition to probiotics, the fermentation process creates beneficial acids, amino acids, and enzymes that also have vast health benefits. Studies have suggested kombucha’s ability to help prevent and heal stomach ulcers. Kombucha can also help maintain balance to the digestive system, with live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacterial while crowding out bad bacteria. In some people, drinking kombucha may also help in managing diabetes, protecting the liver and maintaining a healthy heart. Overall, many believe that drinking kombucha every day can help you to maintain peak digestive health, which trickles down to the overall health of your entire body. Drinking kombucha is an easy and delicious way to help improve your health!