Why we should all be drinking Kombucha!
The one thing I miss from my old diet is fizzy pop every now and again so when I was introduced to the fizzy soda style live drink called Kombucha a few months ago I just fell in love with the taste first and then WOW I experienced the benefits. If you are looking for a refreshing drink that is a natural probiotic then you gotta jump on the fermented tea train asap (don't worry of you don't like tea as it doesn't taste the same). Within days I felt more energy, less sluggish digestion, reduced joint pain and my headaches virtually disappeared. Why was this I asked and why had I not came across this amazing health drink before now?
Kombucha is a live fermented beverage made from tea, sugar and a Kombucha culture known as a 'scoby' (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Another name for the scoby is the Kombucha 'mother' which is basically a floating piece of fibrous cellulose with beneficial microorganisms. Kombucha originated in China around 2000 years ago, known as the 'Immortal Health Elixir' and contains B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acetic, gluconic and lactic acid which have the following effects:
- Improved Digestion- Kombucha is full of probiotic bacteria and yeast that heals the gut and kills parasites and pathogens. This is especially good for those witha yeast overgrowth or candida and leaky gut.
- Weight Loss - due the natural probiotic properties and the fact that it balances blood sugar levels killing that sweet tooth and killing cravings
- Increased Energy- due to it's detoxification process
- Cleanses and Detoxifies the Liver- due to the content of enzymes and organic acids the Kombucha helps the body detox by reducing the pressure on the pancreas. liver and kidneys.
- Supports the immune system- as 80% of our immune system cells originate in the gut Kombucha enhances immunity by inoculating the gut with healthy microorganisms and provides anti-oxidants and enzymes.
- Reduces Joint Pain- as Kombucha is rich in glucosamines which helps preserve cartilage structure and prevent joint degeneration. Glucosamines increase hyaluronic acid production within the joint which binds moisture.
"It is shown that Kombucha can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energising potencies and promotion of boosting immunity"
Journal of Medicinal Food 2014
Where can I get Kombucha?
You can make it yourself or buy it locally. A great resource to help and guide you is The Cultured Club (www.theculturedclub.com) who provide training sessions to show you how to make Kombucha and other fermented food and drinks like water kefir and sauerkraut. Or simply you can make your own from a live scoby which you can get locally or buy from the internet. I have to say that I went on the course and tried making it but I just couldn't get it quite right. I am not sure whether I just didn't focus enough or was too busy but it is certainly worth a try anyway. If you don't succeed like me don't worry just buy some. My mum who has many catering qualifications plus health & hygiene certificates is a real natural at making Kombucha so I just buy it from her and now sell it for her to my customers so they can all benefit. She used filtered water, organic chia tea and ginger and it is delicious. If you want to try or buy some then send me an email and place an order.
Kombucha Recipe: Makes 1 litre but just double up if you wish to make more (only 1 scoby is needed)
1 large glass jar with a wide opening
1 cheese cloth
1 scoby disk
1 litre of filtered water
4 tbsp of organic cane sugar (do not substitute this for another kind of healthier sugar eg stevia, honey etc as the sugar is eaten by the yeast during the fermentation process so there is very little, if any, sugar left in the drink)
2 tea bags of black tea or chia
1. Bring your water to boil, remove from the heat and add to your glass jar along with the tea bags and sugar then stir until it dissolves.
2. Allow the jar to cool and steep for up to 60 mins, then remove the tea bags and add your scoby disk and some pre-made kombucha if you have it.
3. Cover your jar with a cheese cloth or muslin with an elastic band to keep in place so that air can get in but nothing else.
4. Allow to sit for 5-7 days depending on how warm your kitchen. The warmer your home the less time the kombucha need to ferment. After 5 days taste it and if you are happy then filter it into smaller glass bottle and even add ginger or fruit like lemons if you like. Leave to finish carbonating for 2 days and then transfer to the fridge. NB: make sure that you open the btl a few times during the two days to ensure the top doesn't blow off.
5. During the fermentation process you will notice that your scoby has produced a baby ie another scoby which you can use to make a new batch or just store it to grow in some existing kombucha.
When I drank Kombucha for the first time I did get a few stomach pains as my digestive system re-balanced itself but this is nothing to worry about but is good to be aware of it so that it doesn't put you off. I advise that you start slowly and take a small glass each day in one sitting and after a few days it should settle.