Kombucha is an ancient drink originating from China over 2,200 years ago. The beverage was consumed for its energising and detoxifying properties. Eventually kombucha made its way to Russia and then into other eastern European areas. Kombucha was introduced into Germany during the second world war, then became popular in North Africa and France in the 1950s. In the 1960s scientists began to discover the benefits of kombucha, with them being similar to that of yogurt.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made with black or green tea. It has a slight fizziness and a fruity sour-like taste. A specific culture called ‘scoby’ is used during the process of making kombucha. This stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.’ These bacteria and yeast are responsible for the sour taste of kombucha. Depending on the fermentation length, you may get a slight vinegary taste due to longer incubation periods.
The fermentation process is an important part of making kombucha. Not only is it responsible for the unique taste, but it also extends the shelf life of the beverage. Just as it does with other fermented foods and drinks such as yogurt, sauerkraut, cheese, beer and wine.
What are the Health Benefits of Kombucha?
Probiotic foods and drinks are known to provide many health benefits for the body. Probiotics are live microorganisms which can help to colonise the gut. However, it is important to note that to gain long-term benefits from probiotic foods and drinks, research suggests that you need to consume them regularly while providing a source of prebiotics (such as fibre) to encourage the bacteria to permanently colonise the gut.
Consuming kombucha regularly may provide the following benefits:
- A good source of probiotics
- Help to maintain a healthy gut
- A source of antioxidants
- Antimicrobial properties against undesirable bacteria and yeasts
- May improve two markers of heart disease – HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol
- May help to manage type 2 diabetes
- May help to protect against cancer
How to Make Your Own Organic Kombucha
Making your own organic kombucha is a simple process with very few ingredients. You will need good quality organic sugar, organic tea bags, water and a kombucha starter, or SCOBY. You can buy kombucha scoby from most kefir and kombucha health shops such as Nourish Me. You will also need a good quality kombucha pot.
If you prefer not to make your own kombucha you can buy kombucha in Australia from many health food shops, or some cafes may have kombucha for sale.
Kombucha is a sweet fermented tea that has been around for thousands of years. Kombucha can provide many health benefits due to its probiotic properties, including improved gut health, a good source of antioxidants, and possible protection from some diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Kombucha is very simple, with very few ingredients, which means anyone can make it at home.