If you’ve ever ventured in the refrigerated section at most health food stores, I’m sure your eyes have a field day with the many selections of colorful (mostly) glass bottles that line the shelves.
Green tea – full of antioxidants!
Chia seed smoothie – natural energy!
Vegetable juice – cold pressed!
Kombucha – organic and raw!
Rejuvenate. Restore. Revitalize. Replenish. Regenerate.
What does it all mean? Is there any truth to the label?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage created using tea, sugar, and bacteria (from a starter culture). Depending on how long a batch ferments, the temperature used, as well as any flavors added, can make Kombucha taste sour or tangy. You can purchase it from health food stores or create your own at home adding different tea blends, fruit, herbs, and even spices.
What makes Kombucha beneficial to you is the healthy bacteria that comes from the SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY is what initiates the fermentation processes and eventually looks like a “…pancake-sized disk that looks like the top of a mushroom” according to Kombucha master brewers Stephen Lee and Ken Koopman.
So why would you want to drink that? Lee notes that
Kombucha is alive, teeming with beneficial microorganisms and active bacterial cultures that, much like the live cultures in yogurt, provide the body with a great source of nutrition. With its probiotic properties that help balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestinal tract, kombucha is regarded by many as a “wonder” food as opposed to just a healthy drink. But even though this magical tonic has been around for centuries and is chock-full of probiotics, B vitamins, and amino acids, its purported health benefits remain unproven.
Because of its detoxifying nature, it is best to start small, with 4 to 8 ounces a day, to get your body acclimated to the vitamins and amino acids. It’s recommended to drink much water throughout the day to help flush the toxins from the body, as well as to aid your body’s ability to properly absorb all the nutrients.
There is a trace amount of alcohol from fermentation (0.5 percent or below), so if you are sensitive to that, it is something to consider.
If you are pregnant or nursing, you must consult with your healthcare provider prior to consuming Kombucha, as it is very detoxifying. My son’s pediatrician gave me the green light and even said he could enjoy some sips as well, and he loves it! But check with you physician just to be on the safe side—everyone is completely different.
If you do decide to go for it, make sure to sample several different flavors and brands because it is an acquired taste, and you may dislike one or more before you find one that works for you.
I noticed that I had clearer, more radiant skin, a decrease in sugar cravings (and late-night munchies), and more energy. The energy I’m referring to is not like a caffeine or sugar-crash energy, where you’re having weird heart palpations or jitters, but a natural energy, more like feeling good and energized instead of exhausted at the end of the day. The good gut bacteria also helps in regularity as well—a big plus for those who struggle with constipation.
If you get the green light from your physician, why not try it? You’ve got nothing to lose, but good gut bacteria to gain.
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a certified personal trainer and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes.” To send in a question, email Crystal@ PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.PinkIslandFitness.com or www.101FIT.com and 239-333-5771.