Benefits of Kombucha and How to Make It
Kombucha may seem like a new trend that recently hit the grocery shelves of the United States. While the kombucha trend is growing in popularity, the Chinese started fermenting teas over 2,000 years ago. Legend tells us that kombucha was called the “tea of life,” first consumed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang in ancient China. Now, you can find the sweet, fermented tea lining the supermarket shelves in dozens of flavors.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea made with black tea and sugar. It is a probiotic food that contains good bacteria and yeast which initiate the fermentation process. Carbonation joins kombucha after the fermenting process. Carbonation adds other nutrients, vitamins and a high concentration of acid.
Fresh fruit juice and another flavoring might be added to the kombucha at the end of the process. Adding flavors make the tea a bit more tasty and easy for people to drink. Kombucha requires an acquired taste; it is unique.
What are the Health Benefits of Kombucha?
Kombucha has many health benefits, so let’s take a closer look.
Kombucha is a source of enzymes and bacterial acids, which encourage natural detoxification. Gluconic acids are found in kombucha helps toxins expel from the body.
- Improves Digestion
One of the top reasons to drink kombucha is to improve and encourage healthy digestion. The enzymes and probiotics calm an upset stomach and reduce issues like diarrhea, constipation, and IBS. Your body contains beneficial bacteria and microbes, but stress, antibiotics, and other organisms reduce them. Kombucha replenishes the good bacteria.
- Lower Cholesterol Levels
Drinking kombucha may help to lower your bad cholesterol levels as well as your blood sugar levels. Studies show that kombucha lowers bad cholesterol and increases good levels.
- Immune System Stimulate
When your gut is healthy, your immune system receives a boost. The probiotics increase our natural defenses against illnesses and harmful microbes. It is believed that replenishing our natural microbiome helps to defeat inflammatory diseases, tumors, cell damage, and ulcers.
- Increases your Energy
Caffeine, in small amounts, can energize you throughout the day. Kombucha contains energizing B vitamins and iron. Iron helps to increase the hemoglobin in your blood, increasing oxygen flow, and keeping you energized throughout the day.
The energy-boosting benefits are some of the most popular, and it is why so many people opt to drink kombucha. You feel energized without consuming high concentration of caffeine, making it a healthy alternative.
- Prevent Arthritis
Glucosamine is a powerful compound in kombucha that treats all types of arthritis. This compound enhances hyaluronic acid production, protecting the cartilage in your joints, reducing arthritic pain.
- Prevent Cancer
Because kombucha strengthens our natural microbiome, scientists believe it might help to prevent cancer. All of the living microorganisms reinforce our natural defenses, preventing and killing different forms of cancer.
Glucaric acid is found in kombucha as well, and it is believed to reduce the cancer risk. Different microbes help to activate our natural cancer-killing cells.
- Weight Loss
If your gut isn’t healthy and lacks healthy microbes, obesity and diabetes can occur. Natural acids and antioxidants encourage fat loss. Kombucha increases metabolism, so make sure to drink it before you consume a meal.
- Mood Enhancement
Everyone can use a little mood enhancement from time to time. B vitamins, specifically B1, B6, and B12, stabilize your mood and enhance concentration. The vitamins battle depression. At the same time, vitamin C stops the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Due to the fermentation process, kombucha contains small amounts of alcohol, helping to reduce stress and increase positive feelings. The amounts are so small and considered safe for pregnant women.
How Do I Make Kombucha?
Kombucha bottles line the shelves of the supermarket, but you may not be able to afford to purchase as many bottles as you would like. Don’t worry. You can make kombucha at home.
- Eight bags black tea, green tea, or a mixture
- 3 ½ quarts water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups starter tea from the previous batch of kombucha or store bought (neutral flavor, unpasteurized)
- One scoby per jar
Optional flavoring includes:
- 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit
- 2 to 3 cups fruit juice
- ¼ cup honey
Scoby stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The scoby bacteria and yeast eat the sugar, causing the fermentation process. You can make your scoby, or you can purchase scoby online.
Here are the steps to make kombucha.
Make the Tea:Bring your water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Make sure it totally dissolves. Put in the tea bags and allow the tea to steep until the water is cooled. That can take a few hours. If you need to speed up the process, put the pot in an ice bath.
Put in the Starter: Once the tea is cooled, add in the starter tea. Remove the tea bags.
Transfer and Add Scoby: Next, take cleaned glass jars and put in the scoby. You can use a gallon glass jar or two 2-quart jars. Put the tea into the jars and cover the top with a few layers of cloth, paper towels or coffee filters. Secure with a rubber band or rim of the jar.
Ferment: Now, t=leave the tea at room temperature and allow to ferment for 7 to 10 days. After seven days, pour out a small amount and taste. You want a balance of sweetness and tartness.
Take Out Scoby: Remove the scoby with clean hands and set on a clean plate. Remove the bottom layer of the scoby if it is thick.
Bottle: Remove some starter tea for your next batch of kombucha. Separate into bottles, and add any juice, herbs or fruit you might want for flavoring.
Carbonate and Refrigerate: Store the bottled kombucha at room temperature for 1 to 3 days. If you opt for plastic bottles, you will know it is carbonated when the bottle is rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and drink within a month.