No form of life has ever lived without bacteria - every form of life lives with microbial community. We are 10:1 with microorganisms to our human cells by bacteria. This is why fermented beverages have started becoming increasingly popular and consumed globally for their benefits for the human body. Kombucha is a fermented, fizzy, sweet, and sour tea that has been consumed for thousands of years. Since kombucha drink has a culture of bacteria and yeast added, the addition of these bacteria and yeast causes fermentation which provides additional probiotic benefits along with the nutritional value of tea. Kombucha also needs transformational action of intentional anaerobic microorganisms. It also needs an acquired taste to be able to have it regularly.
Kombucha is rich in probiotics as it contains live cultures, which contain lactic acid bacteria which is one of the beneficial strains of bacteria for the gut. The other benefit of kombucha is that live bacterial cultures found in food that are not heated after fermentation are extremely beneficial to consume.
The function of the live bacterial cultures are as follows:
- Assimilation of nutrients
- Digestion of many nutrients
- Synthesizing essential nutrients
- Human being cannot reproduce without bacteria
- Produce glycogen supports lactic acid bacteria which makes the body acidic to help us to reproduce
- Bacteria in our gut - release of serotonin which is our happy hormone and release of neurochemicals which are helpful for good gut-brain chemistry.
Consuming kombucha or any other fermented beverage has many benefits which help the body - such as it transforms food or beverage nutritionally in many ways.
- It enhances Pre-digestion, while food is fermenting, the compound dense foods are being pre-digested by fermentation organisms into elemental forms for the body to assimilate easily
-It assists removal of toxins from our food which may not be visible to the naked eye, into forms that are benign elements food safe to eat or drink
- Fermentation can improve mineral and vitamin bioavailability for the body to use for different vital functions in the body.
Kombucha is good for the gut due to many factors that constantly assault or threaten our gut bacteria culture balance such as
- Use of Antibiotic or antacids of NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Drinking of chlorinated water
The use of antibacterial options for hand-wash or washing food destroy all the bacteria across the board - good or bad for the body - leading to gut and hormonal imbalances.
Consciously replenishing bacteria in our gut to help our gut bacteria is important. Having fermented beverages and a regular bowel movement tremendously help people with chronic digestive problems such as constipation, low stomach acid or acid reflux, or even inflammatory bowel disease or inflammation in the gut, the skin, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), and is also great for several other hormonal, mood and other imbalances as the root cause of every imbalance starts in the gut.
On the contrary, as Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea, it is important to ensure that people with diabetes, insulin resistance, and small intestinal bacteria overgrowth check with a health practitioner before consuming it regularly to avoid any adverse effects.
Kombucha is available on the shelves as well as can be made at home. The process of making kombucha takes about seven to ten days through a series of steps:
1. The first step is brewing the tea. Any tea of choice can be used here like green tea or black tea
2. The second step is to add SCOBY to the brewed tea. SCOBY is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast which is used in the production of kombucha, and it is readily available in the markets. It is covered and set for some time.
3. The third step is fermentation which makes this product a probiotic. This process takes six to seven days for the kombucha to get fermented
4. After the kombucha is brewed and fermented, the SCOBY has to be removed.
About the Author: Janvi Chitalia, Integrative Gut Microbiome Health Coach and Functional Medicine Nutritionist
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