What Exactly is Kombucha and is it the Next Wave of Healthy Drinks?

Remember when the cold-pressed juice wave hit? Companies who had been selling blenders for years suddenly offered juicers and even single juicers for those on the go. Admittedly, I bought into it. Juice shops are still pretty popular and going strong. I have a few favorites of my own. Then enters something else: kombucha.

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Kombucha is fermented green or black tea with an added culture of yeast and bacteria or probiotics. It is unknown where the drink originated but is well known in China, Russia, and parts of Europe. This drink has been popping up all over on the shelves of local grocers. It is made by fermenting tea and sugar to form a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The yeast component usually being Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the bacteria portion being normally being Gluconacebactobacter xylinus. Some variations add fruit juice and flavoring to make it more appealing to the palate. What are the benefits, you ask?

The living bacteria are probiotics. These are living microorganisms that promote good gut health. Such benefits include boosting the immune system and relieving gastrointestinal discomfort.

Some More Quick Facts About Kombucha:

  1. Because it is fermented, it will contain some amount of alcohol. It if contains 0.5% of alcohol or higher, it will be regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB).
  2. It may or may not be considered an alcoholic beverage. Be sure to read the label to see what percentage of alcohol it contains.
  3. Drinking kombucha regularly has been known to cause adverse effects. This article published by the CDC is 24 years old but is a cautionary tale. If you have a delicate condition or taking various medications, consult your doctor before ingesting live cultures.

Have you tried kombucha or have more information to share? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

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