What IS Kombucha, Anyway?

North America is going crazy for craft beer and kombucha this year, and I do mean absolutely crazy. Entire pubs are built around the serving of craft beer, which may be regarded as hipster culture but the truth is that it’s awesome. The popularity of things like craft beer and kombucha means people are becoming more aware of things like locally-sourced ingredients, the health benefits(and, on the other side of the spectrum, the health detriments) of what we as a community are drinking and eating. More people are going vegetarian, vegan, supporting local and supporting ethical. And it’s great! Because, realistically, don’t many of us want to know what we’re putting into our bodies and how it’s going to affect us and our families? Healthy eating and drinking is great, but it does help to know what about those things makes it great for us!

So, on that note, let’s talk about kombucha and what it is. Kombucha is a drink that’s hundreds of years old and in that time, many different cultures have claimed it as their own, from the Japanese to the Russians and Germans. It’s made with that’s called a SCOBY, which is an acronym for ‘symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast’.The process of making it, essentially, involves allowing traditionally black tea, sugar and your SCOBY to ferment anywhere from one week to four depending on how strong you’d like the taste to be. It’s a lightly sweet, faintly fizzy drink that’s credited as having a myriad of health benefits. The general suggestion is that half a bottle a day will keep you happy and healthy.

What about kombucha is so good for you? Man, how much time have you got? We here drink it daily for various reasons – some of us for the energy it gives, some for the way it makes us feel, and some of us just like it for the taste. But all of us can attest to feeling that much better when we are drinking kombucha. So we’ve made you up a handy list here of reasons kombucha is great for you.

  1. It’s full of live probiotics. The same kind of healthy bacteria you get in a yogurt you also get from a good kombucha, because of the fermentation process that takes place in both. Probiotics are helpful in keeping things moving properly in your digestive system, promoting gut health and aiding conditions like IBS(irritable bowel disease) and IBD(inflammatory bowel disease). Live probiotics also help to balance your pH.
  2. Kombucha is a source of glucosamines, an amino sugar taken for its ability to help support the cartilage in your joints and relieve joint pain, as suffered by those with arthritis. Natural glucosamine production decreases in our bodies as we age, allowing our joints to weaken and ache. Taking a glucosamine supplement or drinking kombucha regularly can help to reduce joint pain.
  3. Though there is caffeine in kombucha, the amount is so low that it hardly counts as a caffeinated drink. Many drinkers do find themselves energized following drinking kombucha, and the reason for this is to us fairly comforting. The vitamins in kombucha help our red blood cells transport oxygen to our brains, enhancing our wakefulness and making us feel energized. And isn’t that just the simplest way to feel ready to tackle the day?
  4. Kombucha is full of polyphenols, which is essentially the blanket term for any and all plant-based molecules containing antioxidants. These polyphenols do a great deal for us, including but not limited to regulating our glucose levels, promoting brain health, protecting our skin from UV damage and generally keeping our hearts strong and healthy.
  5. There are B vitamins galore in kombucha, and if you’re not certain what that means for you as a kombucha-drinker, buckle up. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 are all said to be present and each has its own benefits. Vitamin B1 helps to create energy from fats and carbohydrates, as well as aiding to uphold the structure of our brains.  Vitamin B2 aids iron absorption and a deficiency can be a contributing factor in those suffering anemia. Vitamin B3