Contributed by: Amanda Albiar, B.A., NCSF-CPT
I am the first to admit this is one of my favorite fads in the Health/Fitness industry. But is it a good fad?
Kombucha has been around for at least a couple thousand of years in Asia and other countries. Because it’s fermented, you get billions of powerful probiotics in your system when you drink it. Kombucha comes from black and/or green tea, water, and sugar.
During fermentation, the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY actually ‘eat’ up most (not all) of the sugar and part of the caffeine, creating vinegar and other acidic compounds, with trace amounts of alcohol, and gases that make it carbonated.
The colony of friendly bacteria that ferments the tea, and looks like a giant mushroom, is called a “SCOBY” which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”. While the tea ferments, the SCOBY helps create b-vitamins, enzymes, acetic acid, (found in apple cider vinegar), gluconic and lactic acid, and a ton of great probiotics! This giant mushroom is a biochemical powerhouse that produces amino acids, enzymes, polyphenols (antioxidants), antibiotic type substances, and a whole array of phytochemicals that are beneficial to your health.
So, while all of that sounds complicated and kind of confusing….Kombucha has been scientifically studied for its ability to:
Detox the liver
Boost immune system
Help prevent or fight cancer
Aid in weight loss
Improve mood—decrease anxiety and depression
According to the Journal of Medicine in 2014, researchers from the University of Latvia did say the following about the genuine health benefits of kombucha:
“It is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.”
Not only is Kombucha filled with probiotics and antioxidants, It is safe to say it can also aid in weight loss because of the increase in metabolism. You must note however: sugar content in kombucha can vary widely, so be sure to check label for lowest sugar content. Home brewed versions have less sugar the longer time they ferment, and more acetic acid, making them ideal for weight loss and other health benefits. With that said, most brands of kombucha only range from 2 grams of sugar to 7 grams of sugar per 8 oz. This is very small compared to 30-40 grams of sugar in most soft drinks. Therefore, there is very little blood sugar impact from kombucha, which is great.
Always read the labels!! Happy Kombuchaing….there’s so many to try!
The Nutrition Watchdog