Last week I was given some samples of kombucha to try. The person who gave it to me figured I would like it because I am a Registered Dietitian, and am therefore a health nut. Ok so maybe those assumptions are fair. Anyways, I have had kombucha before, but I was not entirely sure of all the “health benefits” of drinking it, so being the dork that I am, yours truly did a little research on this for you!
What is kombucha? (kom-boo-cha)
Essentially, kombucha is fermented black and/or green tea. Usually producers add fruit and/or herbs to add more flavor.
What does it taste like?
Well, it is acidic and sour. You could describe it as a little vinegary. The taste of kombucha varies between producers and if any fruits and/or herbs are used. For example, I have a goji ginger one sitting on my desk. Also of note, it is naturally fizzy from the fermentation process.
How is it made?
Take black or green tea then dump in some sugar, yeast, and bacteria, and let it ferment. As I mentioned before, fruit and/or herbs can be added to give more flavor.
Yes, you can be a real Susie Homemaker and make your own, however, I would be very careful if you attempt to make this at home because it could go down hill very fast leaving your house smelling like vinegar or something even worse. Oh and not to mention you could grow the “bad” bacteria and give yourself food poisoning. I mean even though it is February and not very pleasant to be outside, I would rather not be spending my time in the bathroom.
What are the Health Benefits?Well, there have been several health claims for kombucha, such as cancer fighter, reverses aging, and prevents disease...please don't get your hopes up THAT high.
Pretty much all of the claims made in the picture above are unproven. There really isn’t much evidence at all on how kombucha affects the body. Is there some benefit to drinking it? Maybe, but you definitely won't drop 10 pounds overnight or cure cancer with it. Could it boost your energy? Maybe, but it could also be a placebo effect.
Some of the more plausible claims would be helping the digestive system and strengthening your immune system. Kombucha does contain live cultures (read: bacteria) like yogurt and kefir do. Some of these cultures are probiotics. Probiotics aid digestion and there is some evidence that suggests that they may strengthen the immune system. Oh and they keep you regular...thanks Jamie Lee Curtis...
Don’t let the whole regularity thing and bacteria get you grossed out. Bacteria not all bacteria are bad. We have bacteria all over our bodies and a ton of them within our digestive system. The ones in our digestive system help us breakdown food particles that we cannot digest on our own.
Kombucha does have a very miniscule amount of alcohol in it but even if you drank a ton of it, you don’t need to worry about it.
Should I drink it?
If you like it and feel that it provides some sort of benefit to you, whether it be more energy or it "detoxifies you", then have at it. Could it be the komucha? Maybe, but it could very well just be a placebo effect as well. Moral of the story: it isn’t going to hurt you and chances are it isn’t going to save you either. It does contain some sugar in it, so as with any sugar sweetened beverage, don’t over do it.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go hide from Bumble...
Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,