Kombucha is a fermented tea product which has a slew of anecdotal health claims associated with it. The product has origins dating back over 2,000 years in the Eastern countries of China, Tibet, and Russia. Kombucha has only recently made its way into the United States. Since arriving, however, it has gained explosive popularity among health enthusiasts. This adds to the already large following the tea drink holds in other areas of the world. Kombucha has often been referred to as an “Immortal Health Elixir” or “Fountain of Youth Elixir” by people of Chinese decent. Interestingly, the name is said to derive from a Korean physician, Kombu, who reportedly healed a Japanese Emperor with the tea product. The word “cha” means tea in Chinese. Therefore, “Kombu” and “Cha” translate to Kombu’s Tea.
Kombucha is made by fermentation of sweetened black tea with a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, also known as a SCOBY. This unique procedure for concocting a beverage results in a product that is somewhat tart, slightly carbonated, and full of a variety of health-benefiting substances. Take a look at a few below.
Due to the fermentation process necessary for producing Kombucha, the beverage is full of probiotics. These are a healthy population of a variety of “good” bacteria. These bacteria are deemed “good” essentially due to their ability to fight the overgrowth of harmful strains of bacteria. In other words, probiotics keep levels of harmful bacteria in the body in balance. They prevent them from causing the harmful effects that would result from excessive multiplication and growth. Kombucha is packed with these probiotics and therefore, it is extremely effective at promoting health and wellbeing.
Kombucha provides a healthy dose of potent antioxidants in each and every serving. This is, in part, due to the high antioxidant content of the black tea from which Kombucha is produced. However, Kombucha has been reported to have even higher levels of antioxidants than tea itself. Antioxidants are extremely health-promoting compounds that they allow for a protection against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage has a destructive effect on a wide range of bodily structures and can lead to early-onset aging. Additionally, consuming high amounts of antioxidants is associated with higher immune function.
Kombucha is also said to contain a type of compound called glucosamine. Glucosamines increase production of synovial hyaluronic acid this acts to increase the synovial fluid in joints. By doing so, it allows for an increase in lubrication and flexibility of these joints. This helps to preserve the structure of cartilage by decreasing harmful and excessive friction. Ultimately, glucosamines contribute to both a prevention and treatment of arthritis.
Rich in B-Vitamins
Kombucha contains a wide assortment of B vitamins which each contribute to its impressive nutrient content. Some of the specific compounds found in Kombucha include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folic acid.
Low in Sugar and Calories
Kombucha is often sweetened to make the product more palatable. However, it is only lightly sweetened. Many Kombucha products on the market today contain only 60 calories per 16-ounce bottle. As compared to other sugar-sweetened beverages, this is very low. A product like soft drinks provide a hefty 180 calories for the same portion. Many sugar-sweetened beverages are touted as a bad choice, but this is primarily due to the fact that most such beverages provide no nutritional value and excessive calories. However, this is truly not the case with Kombucha. It is packed with an assortment of nutrients for a relatively low calorie value.
Other Health Claims
Kombucha has anecdotally been associated with cancer treatment and prevention. Additionally, it has boasted the ability to increase liver and pancreatic function. Many of these claims, although not supported by scientific evidence, have been passed down through the thousands of years of use in the Eastern World. Future research will have to be done to uncover the mysteries of this intriguing beverage.
Kombucha has been used as a healing beverage product in the Eastern world for a couple of thousand years. It has a wide range of anecdotal evidence which suggests a variety of health benefits. However, no significant research has been done to support most of the claims. This could likely be due to the fact that there is no monetary gain for the pharmaceutical industry from Kombucha. It can easily be made for about $0.50 a gallon at home. Despite a lack of scientific evidence on the health benefits of Kombucha specifically, the product does contain a wide variety of compounds that have been studied excessively. These compounds are known to have a role in protecting against arthritis, increasing immunity, and improving digestive health.
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