Is Your Kombucha Healthy?
You're a booch fan. i get it.
I've been a raging kombucha fan for over 7 years. I've even brewed my own. My first experience buying a bottle was a little sketchy. I bought the kind with chia seeds.
It's like drinking carbonated caviar.
What exactly is it?
Kombucha is an ancient "healing drink" dating back to China near 221 BC (source). This lightly fizzy drink is made my fermenting caffeinated tea and sugar with the kombucha culture called a 'scoby'.
Not to be confused with Scooby.
What are the health benefits?
Other than tasting like a specialty brew healthy soda pop kombucha has benefits similar to fermented milk products. There's a lot of anecdotal research, along with a growing amount of documented research. A few notable health benefits include:
- Improves energy levels
- Ease for digestive disorders
- Detoxification - from Glucaric Acid (source)
- Boosts immune system - through probiotics
- Arthritis relief and prevention - glucosamine (source)
- Post workout recovery
are you drinking the healthiest booch?
Making your own
I have successfully made my own kombucha. Although it's a relatively simply process, like anything, it takes time and intention. It can be difficulty to maintain perfectly sterile brewing environment and not start growing something else suspicious on the scoby. Nowadays I prefer to let the professionals do their thing and buy a bottle.
Whenever we get groceries Haven makes sure to ask, "Mommy, get kombucha?"
Like any healthy trend kombucha is popping up all over. Remember the rise of the 'gluten free' phenomenon? Thanks to the industrialization age you can have any traditionally glutenous food in a non-glutenous version.
I've seen 'gluten free' labels on guacamole. Last time I checked avocados grew on a tree, not on in a wheat field. ;) My point is just because something is labeled 'gluten free' doesn't magically turn it into a nourishing food to eat.
The same goes for kombucha. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes along with clever marketing to understandably sell more product.
4 Tips to Buying the Healthiest Kombucha
Three cheers for booch!
1.) No added carbonation.
- Of course as a consumer, unless the packaging specifys you will not know if the company adds in carbonation or if they put their tea through a secondary ferment to create a fizzier product. One sure sign of this is extremely fizzy kombucha similar to soda. The second sign a company adds extra fizz or ferments twice is noticing bloat or weighted down after drinking.
- Kombuhca with no added carbonation will still have a slight fizz, but taste smooth and leave you feeling light.
- There's preliminary research that states carbonation isn't good for bones and can flare up existing IBS or sensitive stomachs. (I am a fizzy water addict, okay? But I always pay by having stomach pain and looking like I am 6 months pregnant. A sure sign of sensitive stomach.
2.) Unpasteurized and RAW.
- 100% living and RAW means reaping all the benefits from the probiotic bugs found in kombucha. The same that was used thousands of years ago to support vibrant health! Pasteurizing kills everything and totally negates the effects of true healthy kombucha.
- Some of the larger kombucha companies pasteurize their products and then add back probiotic powders afterward. Again, no one is mandated to state this on their packaging. So instead look on the ingredient label for "raw" ingredients.
3.) No added sweeteners.
- Often times brands will sweeten their booch up with stevia or agave. Since booch must be brewed with sugar and is often mixed with fruity flavors there is plenty of taste with only the remaining sugar after ferment.
- Every bottle contains sugar because of the initial ferment and should be listing this on the ingredient label. Check labels for added sugars like agave, honey, or sugar.
4.) Support your local brews.
- Although the market is becoming saturated with many big "breweries", I always like checking out family run kombucha companies to support locally. Many times they are most concerned about doing things right, brewing in small batches, and celebrating the art and community that comes along with the booch family.
- Lake State Kombucha is a MN family owned and operated business who does kombucha right. My favorite unique flavor of theirs is orange mango! Cue drool.