You may have been within earshot of someone raving about kombucha or you may have seen the glass bottles monopolizing the refrigerators of your grocery store. So, what is kombucha? Is it just another trendy drink in the world of acai-green tea-lemonade infusions?
Kombucha is a fizzy beverage made of tea and sugar that is fermented from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (aka. SCOBY). Like other fermented foods (i.e. yogurt), fermentation of the living bacteria and yeast in kombucha contributes probiotics to help our good gut bacteria flourish. These beneficial bugs are important to aid digestion and to optimize our health.
So, if kombucha = tea + sugar + bacteria + yeast, why the hype?
Kombucha-enthusiasts claim that it improves energy levels, boosts immunity, regulates blood sugars, and can even cure chronic diseases. However, concrete scientific evidence is scant.
I would recommend kombucha as an alternative for those that are having trouble cutting soda or juice as it is naturally low in calories and sugar.
Nutrition comparison per 250 ml (8 oz) cup:
⦁ Kombucha: 30 calories and 2 g of sugar
⦁ Coca-Cola: 100 calories and 26 g of sugar
⦁ Orange juice: 110 calories and 22 g of sugar
They key is to choose raw kombucha as pasteurization kills the live cultures (and the purpose behind it!). However, children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems should avoid unpasteurized foods.
So, can this living tea keep you living? That’s too good to be true. Kombucha is not a magic elixir but with its potential benefits, we can certainly enjoy it in moderation.