What is kombucha and 7 reasons why it is "So Good"
If you are going to grab a fizzy drink today, chances are it won't be doing you any good – it’s probably got sugar, sweeteners or alcohol and made by a massive corporation.
Cue a fresh new alternative to your fizz : Kombucha!
But wait - is kombucha just a new health fad?
Not at all! Naturally sparkling and slightly tangy, kombucha is actually an ancient fermented tea with origins thought to go back over 2000 years to Chin dynasty China (220 BC). Dubbed the “Elixir of Life” for its many health benefits, legend has it that a Korean doctor named Kombu brought the tea (or “cha”) to Japan in AD 414 where it was credited as the cure of digestive problems of the king. Reports of its consumption in East Russia was recorded as early as the 1900s, where word of its health benefits spread its usage to Western Europe.
Kombucha’s popularity soared in North America, Europe, and Australia in the 21st century as increasing health-conscious consumers look for a wellness alternative to alcoholic drinks or high-sugar fizzy drinks.
In its essence, kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast" (known as the SCOBY) to a solution of tea and raw cane sugar. During the fermentation process, the culture metabolises the sweet tea components to create a naturally carbonated beverage full of healthy components like B vitamins, acetic acids, antioxidants, enzymes, and very low trace amounts of alcohol and sugar. Commercial kombucha contains less than 0.5% alcohol (and homebrew likely to be more!) - however if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or alcohol intolerant it is recommended that you should contact your GP before consuming.
1. Kombucha is potentially a good source of probiotics
Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acids, both of which are known antimicrobials able to kill and fight a range of harmful bacteria and microbes (1). This suggests that it may help prevent infections by killing the harmful bacteria that cause them - though more human trials are necessary to confirm the hypothesis. (2)
3. Kombucha shares the same health benefits as green tea and is rich in antioxidants
Kombucha is fermented green tea - one of the healthiest beverages in the world. Studies show that regular consumption can increase calorie burn, reduce belly fat, improve cholesterol levels, and regulate blood sugar levels (3). It is also rich in powerful antioxidants which helps to fight free radicals which are reactive molecules that can damage human cells and cause cancer (4, 5, 6).
4. Kombucha may reduce risk of heart, pancreatic and liver disease
Studies done in a laboratory with mice show that kombucha can greatly improve two markers of heart disease, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, in a time period of less than 30 days (7, 8). Green tea protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is thought to contribute to heart disease (9, 10, 11). This is supported by studies which show that green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of developing heart disease, a benefit that may also apply to kombucha (12, 13).
In addition, animal studies consistently find that drinking kombucha regularly reduces liver toxicity caused by toxic chemicals, in some cases by at least 70% (14, 15). Kombucha is packed with bacterial acids and enzymes, thus there is some evidence that suggests that drinking it regularly also helps to decrease the workload and ease the burden on our pancreas and liver.
5. Kombucha may help manage type 2 diabetes
A study in diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbs, which reduced blood sugar levels. It also improved liver and kidney function (16).
6. Kombucha may help protect against cancer
In lab studies, kombucha showed promising signs of being able to support the prevention and growth / spread of cancerous cells due to its high concentration of tea polyphenols and antioxidants (17, 18). Further studies in this area are required, but it is thought that tea polyphenols block gene mutation and growth of cancer cells while also promoting cancer cell death (19), and there is also evidence that green tea drinkers have reduced risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers (20, 21).
7. Kombucha is known to have loads more other benefits!
Kombucha-lovers credit the drink with helping to fight arthritis & other degenerative diseases, as well as detoxify the body, boost energy levels / mental health, increase metabolism, rebuild connective tissue, and reduce headaches / migraines. A more thorough summary of all the possible health benefits of kombucha may be found in this Medical News Today article
You can make it yourself at home. However, be sure to prepare it properly as homemade kombucha can run the risk of getting contaminated or over-fermented which can result in high alcohol content (22, 23, 24). The safer option is to purchase an authentic commercial product - but make sure that it is raw and unfiltered so that it retains the maximum probiotic benefits!
What's So special about "So Good Kombucha"?
So Good Kombucha is authentically handcrafted in Derbyshire. It is never filtered nor pasteurised in order to maximise the living, gut-loving, friendly bacteria in every sip.
We brew the most delicious and healthy kombucha possible using the So family recipe and 100% natural, organic, vegan-friendly ingredients. Our drinks are naturally fizzy, low-in-sugar, non-alcoholic, kosher, and halal friendly. We believe that a good fizzy drink can be both tasty and healthy; and that a Good business is one that cares for our planet and local community.
Learn more about how we do Good, and join the #sogoodmovement