Fizzy drinks?! Really?!
Now I’m sure you’re all expecting a complete diatribe now, a “Stay away for the sake of your health, wellbeing and all that you hold dear” style scenario.
Well what would you say if I told you it’s the exact opposite and that sparkling beverages are actually a regular thirst quenching feature in the MACACHA office?
Don’t believe it? Allow me to elaborate……
So firstly a point of clarification; we’re not talking corner shop cans here (sorry but there’s no saving those carbonated criminals 😉 ) the bubbly beauty we’re loving is the fabulously fermented kombucha.
Kombucha has been around for a seriously long time (it’s first recorded use was in China in 221BC) but it’s popularity as part of our modern lifestyles is relatively recent. It is made by fermenting a mixture of tea and raw sugar with the help of a pancake shaped starter known as a SCOBY (“symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”). This is very similar to “The Mother” that you may have seen mentioned as being of health benefit in raw vinegars or when referring to yeast in bread making.
SUGAR?! You really have lost the plot today haven’t you Phoebe?!
Don’t worry the sugar in this instance is used as a food source for the SCOBY to fuel the fermentation process, so by the time you get your finished product the sugar content is negligible.
Fermentation? Doesn’t fermentation by yeast produce alcohol.
Well yes that is true however the bacteria present in the SCOBY will convert the majority of this into organic acids, however most kombucha will still contain up to 1% alcohol which may be something to be mindful of.
OK so after that little bit of housekeeping let’s talk about the fun stuff, cue the big benefits of booch 😀.
As with other fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso etc) kombucha is a natural source of probiotic bacteria. Regularly including food sources of these beneficial microorganisms bolsters our body’s levels, supporting our immune function, helping to regulate our hormones and encouraging healthful digestive function.
Numerous health claims have been made about kombucha but at the moment there is far more evidence about the efficacy of fermented milk products (watch this space!). Lab tests have shown similarities in antibiotic, antiviral and anti fungal properties between kombucha and the more mainstream products like kefir however (this is also due to those organic acids I touched on earlier). Anecdotally, many long term users have noted improvements in energy levels, metabolic disorders, allergies, digestive problems, candidiasis, chronic fatigue and inflamation. Some will also use it externally use for skin problems or as a shampoo.
We would love to hear your opinion, favourite flavours or if you decide to get creative (kombucha cocktails anyone?! :D) comment below, tag us on social media or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As always we wouldn’t tickle your tastebuds and then run away without more explanation so coming later this week we’ll dive into probiotics in more detail, demystify the difference to prebiotics and generally shine a light on all things fantastically fermented.
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Written by Phoebe Liebling, Nutritional Therapist BSc DipNT mBANT mNNA mCNHC