Kombucha (pronounced as kom-boo-chaa) is a wonderful superfood beverage. It is obtained by fermenting sugared tea along with addition of beneficial bacterial and fungal cultures. Many people consume kombucha tea for its beneficial health effects. In this article, we will throw light on how to make kombucha tea, as well as its benefits for weight loss, and disease prevention.
What is Kombucha ?
Kombucha can be described as a fizzy, sour and sweet drink. The use of Kombucha was first recorded in the early 19th century in Asia. The legend about this Chinese tea (cha) became popular after a Korean physician named Kombu used it to heal the digestive troubles of a Japanese Emperor; hence the name Kombucha.
Kombucha nutrition and benefits
Kombucha tea is known as a magical elixir having many miraculous healing benefits. The science behind Kombucha tea is that it is created by (and also creates) a mass of bacteria and yeast. This mass is known as SCOBY (the acronym for Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). These microbes resemble tiny flat, pale and floating mushrooms that produce malic acid for detox, probiotics for better digestion, nucleic acid for cell regeneration, and acetic acid for stabilizing blood sugar. Here are the main benefits of Kombucha nutrition:
· Aids digestion
Fermented drinks are very beneficial for digestion. They promote diversity of the gut bacteria and the friendly microbes consume sugars and create enzymes that perform the digestive function.
· Enhanced mental clarity
The brain function is linked to gut health. Fermented drinks like Kombucha enhance gut health and lift brain fog to promote longer attention span, enhanced mental clarity focus and concentration. Unlike caffeine, you do not experience a ‘crash’ which Kombucha tea – a crash which makes you reach out for even more caffeine. You also do not feel jittery like you normally do when you consume several cups of coffee.
· Promote longevity
Fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha tea are full of probiotic bacteria. These not only aid digestion, they also detoxify and cleanse the gut and the liver. Organic acids in Kombucha bind with the toxic elements in the liver and detoxify and chelate heavy metals. They literally inoculate the digestive tract with beneficial ingredients that enhance immunity to many lifestyle diseases.
Kombucha contains many vitamins and minerals. It is a much healthier drink than soda or black coffee. While it does contain caffeine, the content is very little. So you get a boost of energy without the associated 4’o’clock crash that comes with caffeine. When you make Kombucha at home, you can ensure it contains the best ingredients and is free from toxins.
Drinking 4 to 8 oz. of Kombucha tea before meals can help curb appetite and may aid in weight loss.
Kombucha tea- How to make it?
To make kombucha tea, you will need a Kombucha starter kit. This is one of the best Kombucha and is available readily online and in health food stores. Most kits come with a Kombucha starter culture or SCOBY which you need to refrigerate until ready to use. Add 2-3 cups of hot water in a glass jar with a lid and add a little sugar to aid the fermentation. Next you add the tea bags. Steep for at least 10 minutes, then strain the tea and add ½ cup of distilled vinegar to it. Now, add the dehydrated SCOBY to the tea. Place a damp cloth on the jar and secure the jar. Allow the mixture to remain undisturbed for at least 30 days at a temperature of 60 F. After a month, taste the SCOBY-it should taste rich and vinegary. Note that it is also normal that no SCOBY gets activated or there is no visible sign of culture formation.
You can now pour the kombucha off the top of the jar and keep the SCOBY as a starter for your next batch.
How to make or obtain Kombucha SCOBY Mother?
Just like when you make yogurt at home you need a starter culture, you need a starter SCOBY for Kombucha. The best way to make or obtain Kombucha SCOBY is to buy it from the store. You can then use the culture to make a fresh batch of Kombucha. You can also acquire Kombucha from an acquaintance. Once you have Kombucha brew some black or green tea and mix sugar with it. Now cool the sugary sweet tea completely before adding it to the culture of Kombucha. Cover the mixture and place it outside for at least 7 days at 60-65 F. If after 7 days, no film of SCOBY starts appearing on top, you might have to discard the batch. Wait long enough for the SCOBY to be at least a quarter of an inch thick before consuming.
You can use any tea for making Kombucha. The best tea is black tea which is most reliable to ferment into the Kombucha. Once you are a little confident in making Kombucha, do experiment with other teas like white, oolong, green tea etc. You can also use herbal teas but always include at least one black tea bag to ensure fermentation. Avoid oil based teas like Earl Grey.
You can always add additional flavors like strawberry, peach, ginger etc to your Kombucha tea.
Kombucha side effects
According to Kombucha reviews, there are very few Kombucha side effects. The mild ones include indigestion, diarrhea and headaches. You may also experience cramps but that is just the toxins being flushed out of the system. Drink plenty of water and continue taking the tea. Your symptoms will disappear soon. It is a good idea to start drinking the tea in small doses. Some people drink Kombucha on an empty stomach the first thing in the morning. If you feel that upsets your stomach, you can eat it with some crackers or toast. Also, people with GERD or acid reflux must take Kombucha with caution as it can aggravate acid reflux.