- Dr. Liz Homan
I am not sure how the topic has been coming up so much lately, but I feel like I have been talking about Kombucha quite a bit lately. The response I get from people varies from I have never heard of it to I drink it every day.
Well, I fall in the realm of I drink it every day. I have been for at least a year now and I love it! And then there are those of you who are wondering what kombucha is…
Well, kombucha is a sweet, fizzy, fermented drink made from tea, yeast, bacteria, and sugar. During fermentation the yeast, which is in a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases probiotic bacteria.
The probiotic bacteria that is released is why kombucha is said to have many possible health benefits.
The main benefit from drinking kombucha is an improvement in gut health. Since it is rich in probiotics, it helps maintain a healthy community of microorganisms in the body. When this is done it can help with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and regulating digestion. As most of you know as well, having a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut also improves your immune system, so getting the probiotic from kombucha is a great way to improve your immune function.
Another benefit is that kombucha may help with mental health. There is a strong link between depression and inflammation so the anti-inflammatory effects of kombucha can help alleviate some symptoms of depression. It has also been found that kombucha contains antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells, which may lead to healthier liver function and a few reports have been made on benefits in managing type 2 diabetes.
One of the reasons that I drink a little bit of kombucha every morning is that I make mine with green tea. We all know that green tea is caffeinated, and this mama needs just a little pick me up each day. I feel better about getting that through kombucha than any other source (mainly because I cannot stand coffee…) and I really enjoy the taste.
Where can you get kombucha? I started buying mine from the grocery store and loved trying different flavors. And depending on the store that you go to, the flavor selection varies. After a while, buying a couple bottles of kombucha a week adds up and I started to research on how to start brewing my own. I was leaning to starting this process and then Jane was born, and we had all of her food sensitivities and this just pushed me harder to brew my own so that I could control the flavors. (One of Jane’s first known sensitivities was ginger and a lot of kombucha has ginger in it)
So, for the last year or so, I have been doing a continuous brew of kombucha. I have a 2-gallon glass container with a spigot that I do the first fermentation in. This is where I keep my SCOBY and there is always a small amount of (starter) tea left in the bottle. About every 10 days or so I add close to 14 cups of sweet green tea to this jug and let it sit for around 5-7 days for the 1st fermentation (F1). Once the drink is a little tart I know it is ready for the 2nd fermentation (F2). I then take either fresh or frozen fruit of our choice and put some chunks into the bottom of some empty old kombucha glass bottles. I then fill the bottles from my big 2-gallon bottle and let sit at room temp unit I start to see some bubbles at the top. This is how you get carbonation and the bubbly taste that you get from the store! Once it reaches your carbonation preference then place it in the fridge and drink at your own pace.
We love all different flavors but one of our favorites is raspberry. Other favorites include strawberry and mango.
If you are interested in learning more, starting to brew your own kombucha or have any questions please let me know. I have some extra SCOBYs that I could give out to those of you that are interested. This is my no means a full explanation of how to brew kombucha, but it is a great intro.
And if you have never had kombucha, I encourage you to pick up a bottle the next time you are at the store and see how your body responds to it. As with anything, it is better to start slow and to not drink a whole bottle in one sitting. 😊