If you are one of the health freaks, you must have come across this word before - “kombucha”. Kombucha has been a rising star in health food in these few years. Can this tangy drink really claim its name? Or it is just another gimmick to let people fall into? No worries, let’s dive into this topic now!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a tea-based fermented beverage brewed with tea, sugar, yeast and bacteria. The yeast ferments sugar in tea, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. The bacteria then feed on the alcohol, producing lactic acid and acetic acid, that give kombucha its gassy and tangy flavour.
Although it just becomes popular, kombucha has been consumed in China and the other part of Asia for thousands of years. The exact origins of kombucha are unclear, but it is believed to first made in northeast China, as the people believed it as an “immortal drink”
Health benefits of Kombucha
Even though drinking a beverage made from “yeast and bacteria” sound unpleasing, kombucha is well-known for its health benefits.
1. Support digestion
Indeed kombucha is made from bacteria, but it is good bacteria called “probiotic”. This beneficial bacteria helps in improving digestive health. Probiotics can help balance the levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut, creating an environment called “gut symbiosis”, which can help reduce symptoms of digestive issues such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
2. Antioxidant properties
Kombucha is made from tea, thus it contains antioxidants, which are compounds that help to fight free radicals from damaging your cells. The fermentation process increases the level of antioxidants like organic acids and polyphenols. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and protect against various diseases, including cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. 
3. Anti-bacterial properties
Kombucha is a fermented drink that contains various organic acids including acetic acid, which is responsible for the acidic smell of vinegar. Some studies have shown that acetic acid can kill many harmful bacterias. However, more research is needed to determine the overall effectiveness of kombucha as an antibacterial agent.
4. May improve liver function
Except for acetic acid, the fermentation process of kombucha produces glucuronic acid. Glucuronic acid plays a role in supporting liver health by helping to remove harmful substances from the body. It is conjugated with toxic substances and waste products in the liver, making these substances more water-soluble and easier to excrete from the body through urine or bile.
How to make Kombucha at home?
You can make your own kombucha at home. The procedure is very simple.
To make 1 jar of kombucha, you need:
- 8 black tea bags (or other tea)
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1 piece of Scoby (Kombucha’s starter culture)
- 4 litre of water
- 1 large glass jar
- A piece of clean cloth
- 1Sterile the glass jar with hot water.
- 2Boil 4 litres of water in a large pot. Add the teabags and sugar into the pot. Stir carefully until the sugar dissolves.
- 3Let the tea cool to room temperature and remove the tea bags.
- 4Pour the cooled tea into the glass jar.
- 5Add the kombucha Scoby.
- 6Cover the jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band.
Place the jar in a warm, dark place(out of sunlight) for 7 to 10 days and keep checking the Scoby.
After 7 days, taste the kombucha daily. If it is too sweet, let it ferment for a few more days, it will become sourer as days go by.
- 9Remove the Scoby and keep 2 cups of kombucha to use as a starter for the next batch of tea.
- 10Pour the remaining kombucha into bottles and store it in the refrigerator.
Note: You can get the Scoby by asking a friend who makes kombucha or purchasing online. Besides, also noted that it is important to maintain cleanliness throughout the process of brewing to prevent contamination.
Question: Can people with diabetes drink kombucha? Since it is prepared with a large amount of sugar?
People with diabetes can enjoy kombucha. Even though the sugar used in kombucha making looks like it is forbidden, the fermentation process reduces the sugar content overall as the Scoby feed on the sugar. However, do consult with your healthcare provider to provide more concise advice based on your condition.
Question: Does kombucha contain alcohol?
Yes, kombucha can contain alcohol. The alcohol content can range from 0.5% to 2% by volume. However, it is important to note that not all kombucha brands are the same, some may have higher or lower alcohol levels depending on the brewing process and ingredients used.
Question: How many cups of kombucha can I drink?
There is no limit on how many cups of kombucha you can drink. However, as a general guideline, it is recommended to not exceed 240ml (a cup) per day. Kombucha contains a small amount of caffeine and alcohol, and overconsume may cause side effects like stomach upset, dizziness and headache.
Please be reminded that Kombucha is not a panacea. As the drink is getting more popular, some unscrupulous businessmen try to make use of it. From losing weight to treating cancer to regrowing hair, the list goes on. These claims lack evidence to support them. Kombucha is a beverage that might help to boost your health, but it is never a miracle exilic that cures diseases. Please look for the help of a healthcare professional if you have any health problems.
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