I’ve been in this Real Food movement for years and I still have so many things to try. Like kombucha. Kombucha is my next challenge!
I’ve tasted it at various times and been a little hesitant, mainly because of the carbonation which I never liked, but also because the sugar content in the kombucha concerned me.
Well, I’ve gotten over all that and I’m here to tell you about the incredible benefits of kombucha! I don’t want this to sound like it’s snake oil, but there are many benefits.
However, not everyone experiences all of them and some people do not experience any. I’m hoping that I will notice a difference and if you try it, maybe you will too.
Kombucha is a beverage made from fermenting white, green or black tea, by adding sugar for the cultures to consume. When the sugar is mostly gone, it is ready to drink and contains many beneficial elements.
It looks like a nasty jello pancake that is called a mushroom or mother. But it is not a mushroom at all. It is actually a SCOBY.
A SCOBY is an acronym that stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s a lot easier to say SCOBY when referring to the culture, which may also be referred to as the mother. Say that with respect!
It appears to have been around for at least 2000 years in Russia, China, Japan and Korea. Families brewed kombucha and handed down the cultures from generation to generation because they noticed the health benefits.
A kombucha culture has a wide range of organic acids, vitamins and enzymes that give it its extraordinary value.
But beyond this extensive list of beneficial elements present in kombucha, is another aspect that it very important.
Kombucha is a adaptogen. This means that it is a metabolic regulator which increases our ability to adapt to environmental factors, and to avoid damage from these factors. Environmental factors can be physical, such as injury or aging, or mental, such as anxiety or stress.
Kombucha’s adaptogen effect is seen mostly through its influence on the liver, the blood and the digestive system, where it normalizes the acidity or pH.
Human metabolism depends on the acid-alkaline balance which is constantly changing in order to prevent disturbances to homeostasis brought about by stressors.The body has a dynamic balancing system that maintains the different organs at the pH level each requires for optimal functioning.
A cell’s pH balance is disrupted by metabolism and by toxins, which create more acidity. The body gets rid of toxic acids by various means of elimination. One of the benefits of kombucha is that it helps to flush out the toxins through the kidneys and by doing so supports the liver.
While there are no million dollar, double blind, multi-clinic studies, many people offer anecdotal evidence of the health benefits of drinking kombucha. Just a few of these include improvements in:
Additionally, the health benefits due to the probiotic content and other elements in kombucha as noted above all make it a powerful health tonic.
Typical portions would be 1/2 cup three times a day. It is convenient to have it with meals and the enzymes in it will help digest food. Many people with low acid (heartburn) report that their reflux is gone once they start drinking kombucha with meals.
Of course, it is wise to work up to this amount slowly in order to avoid any die off reactions.
The yeasts in kombucha produce alcohol but the bacteria in the culture turn most of the alcohol to organic acids. Only minute quantities of alcohol, typically 1% by volume remains in the kombucha brew. This is fine for most people — however there was an incident with a child in school that was reported here, even though the alcohol content on the bottle was less than .05%. Some people just don’t understand that the benefits far outweigh the tiny drop of alcohol — others feel that the alcohol does something beneficial as well.
Before starting a new food you should have a conversation with your health care provider. See my disclaimer here.