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Kombucha: The Millennial Overfeeding - What It Is, How to Make It, Benefits and Myths

Interested in learning more about Kombucha?

We know you are probably wondering what exactly this drink is and why it has become so popular. Well, we're here to tell you all about the history of Kombucha! So sit back and relax as we take a trip through time with our favorite brewed tea.

We'll explain everything you need to know about this fermented drink so you can decide if it's something worth trying. In addition, we will also cover some common concerns people have about drinking.

So, are you excited to learn about Kombucha? Excellent! Let's walk through the history of the drink: from the ancient Qin Dynasty to modern times.

Make sure you grab your favorite flavor (Ginger ou Lemon are great choices) before sitting down to an enlightening read!

 

What is Kombucha?

2 jars of kombucha with a scoby.

Kombucha is a fermented tea made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which is more commonly known as black or green tea. The transformation process can take approximately a month and results in a drink rich in health benefits.

Kombucha culture consists of a symbiotic relationship of bacteria and yeast that transform sugar into organic acids, vitamins, and other components that give Kombucha its unique flavor. The agent that activates the production of these organisms is SCOBY.

What exactly is SCOBY?

An image of a person with a SCOBY

Ever heard of SCOBY? Have you ever been curious to know what it's like, or what it's supposed to be like? We want to demystify SCOBY and ensure you have all the information.

SCOBY is an acronym that stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast". Let's break this down a bit.

To begin with, the word "symbiotic" implies "two distinct organisms that live in close physical proximity".

Second, "culture" is defined as "the act or practice of culturing living material (such as bacteria or viruses) in prepared nutritional media."

And lastly, 'bacteria and yeast' We all know what these bacteria are. When it comes to making Kombucha, bacteria and yeast are the wonderful ingredients no Kombucha can live without.

Let's put it all together and build something that makes sense. When certain bacteria and yeast are brought together and grown in the right environment, you get SCOBY. It is a living culture that grows and evolves, consuming sugar as its fuel.

Fermentation - The Transformation of Tea into Kombucha

Fermentation is a process of transformation of organic matter by microorganisms present or added.

In the case of Kombucha, fermentation is done aerobically with the presence of oxygen, where a culture of bacteria and yeast will consume the sugar and the properties of the tea and transform it into a new drink.

Fermented foods such as some yogurts and cheeses, when fermented and preserved properly, provide us with rich probiotics.

This type of food helps in the absorption of nutrients, synthesis of vitamins, protein degradation, alkalization of blood PH, reinforcement of the immune system, among other benefits.

The Important Role of SCOBY in Fermentation

The SCOBY is the main and central element of the fermentation process.

Kombucha's base recipe provides for the addition of a SCOBY together with the starter tea, which is nothing more than a ready-made and more fermented Kombucha, full of bacteria and yeast, a kind of liquid SCOBY that accompanies and protects the solid SCOBY.

Over the course of the fermentation cycle, the initial SCOBY will reproduce and create a new culture at the top of the flask. The species of the Kombucha culture live in symbiosis and act in a cooperative model for the balanced development of all strains. Yeasts turn sugar into CO2 and alcohol, which is then turned into organic acids by bacteria.

During the fermentation process, additional microorganisms are generated, resulting in a drink with lactic acid, acetic acid, and other chemicals that have been shown to have a probiotic effect.

How to Make Kombucha with a MAI Kombucha Kit

You don't need to be a fermentation expert to make your own Kombucha. You just need to have the necessary tools, quality ingredients, use the right amounts and be patient.

With MAI Kombucha Kit, it has everything you need to start your production, as you can see in the image below.

Mai Kombucha Kit

If you want to know more about making Kombucha at home, this article has all the details. Click here for step-by-step instructions!

Kombucha: The Tea of ​​Immortality

It has been drunk for thousands of years in China, where it was known as "the Tea of ​​Immortality". The drink is believed to have originated during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) when only Chinese emperors were allowed to drink this elixir because they thought it would prolong their lives for hundreds of years!

Legend has it that Dr. Kombu took the drink to Japan and used it to retrieve their emperor. The term Kombu Cha became widespread after being produced from the fermentation of tea (the phonetics of the word in most eastern countries are the same).

This belief continued when monks started making Kombucha in monasteries and shared it with the general public. Kombucha has been around for over 2.000 years!

Kombucha, an Ancient Chinese Medicine for Modern Times

Image of a girl making homemade kombucha

Kombucha has been around for over 2000 years but has only recently become popular in Western culture due to its impressive health benefits. The drink contains glucuronic acid which helps the body to eliminate toxins. In addition, Kombucha can aid digestion as well as reduce inflammation throughout the digestive system - all while enjoying a naturally sparkling drink!

It can be found throughout Asia and Russia, but since the 90s, Kombucha (especially homemade Kombucha) is seeing a huge rise in popularity in Western countries like Germany, Great Britain and North America.

You may still be baffled by its popularity, and we can answer that by pointing out its myriad health benefits. Kombucha is rich in probiotics, which support digestive health, improved energy levels, and a healthy metabolism.

The carbonated drink is also rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent liver damage. These, along with other factors, have been the main reasons for its widespread popularity.

Kombucha came as an alternative to soft drinks, as it is a healthier and more sustainable option. It is a fashion that continues to grow and has already become a trend for the future due to the need for more conscious habits.

Kombucha nutritional information

The amount of nutrients found in Kombucha is dependent on the manufacturer and the fermentation process. Live bacteria and yeast, antioxidants, probiotics, B vitamins and minerals are just some of the nutrients in Kombucha.

According to an article published in March 2018 in the Journal of Food Science(1), researchers still do not know everything about the chemical composition of the beverage and its potential purposes due to its complexity. 

In general, a 0,24 liter serving of unflavored Kombucha has approximately 30 calories and 2 to 3 grams of sugar. Depending on how they are prepared, servings can be between 25 and 90 calories and up to 8 grams of sugar. The sugar content in the mixtures of flavor may be higher if fruit juices are included.

Also keep in mind that, depending on the type, Kombucha may contain alcohol. Kombucha must be less than 0,5% alcohol to be considered non-alcoholic and labeled as such.

Kombucha also has caffeine, although the amount will vary based on how long the tea is brewed and what type of tea is used. Green tea, which is brewed, contains between 25 and 29 milligrams (mg) per 0,24-liter serving, while black tea contains between 25 and 48 mg per 0,24-liter serving, according to the Mayo Clinic (2). Kombucha's caffeine level will most likely be lower than that of green or black tea. 

Kombucha Recipe - 4 ingredients, 1 result

Kombucha Ginger

The Kombucha recipe only takes 4 ingredients: water, tea, sugar and the Kombucha culture (SCOBY).

Unlike many recipes, where the ingredients that are added and combined correspond to the sum of their nutritional value, Kombucha has a fermentation in which the added ingredients are transformed throughout the entire process.

During fermentation, the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, better known as SCOBY, consumes the sugar and transforms the tea into a naturally carbonated probiotic drink, full of organic acids and enzymes beneficial for intestinal balance.

Some properties of Kombucha, such as acetic acid and tea polyphenols, prevent the problem of excessive hunger and increase the feeling of satiety.

RELATED: how to make kombucha

Kombucha industrialization

The sugar content in Kombucha varies from brand to brand. It is important to pay attention to the Kombucha we are reviewing, as not all Kombucha is made the way it should be.

The industrialization of Kombucha places products on supermarket shelves that raise questions about their authenticity. A product with no natural fermentation, high added sugar, gas addition, pasteurization and other techniques creates an artificial and unnatural beverage.

In this case, the consumption of this type of product has no benefits health, but the opposite, so we don't recommend it!

The Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha

A jar of lemon kombucha

There have been a number of health benefits attributed to Kombucha. Russian research at the beginning of the century (3) claimed that the drink could prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as reduce inflammation and boost the immune and digestive system.

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is supposed to help with constipation, boost your immune system and keep your body's pH levels in check. However, as researchers still don't know enough about Kombucha's influence on humans, most recommend its use with caution.

When fermented correctly, Kombucha has the ability to destroy harmful bacteria. During the fermentation process, antibacterial characteristics are developed in the beverage when created from green or black tea. According to a study published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry (4), Kombucha was able to fight some types of bacteria that cause infections.

Learn more about Benefits of Kombucha

Kombucha side effects

Kombucha may be the key to maintaining a healthy gut, reducing inflammation, and alleviating symptoms. However, drinking too much can have negative consequences, with the potential to do more harm than good.

Like other fermented foods and drinks, Kombucha should be consumed in moderation. Make sure the beverage you are buying or making has the proper pH level and is made in a safe container.

Myths and Truths about Kombucha

Image Three flavors of kombucha on top of black tea

Kombucha is a Healthy Drink

TRUTH - Kombucha is made from a tea that is fermented and has a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and organic acids.

This millenary drink has been shown in several studies to have a beneficial influence on health and well-being, helping with digestion and nutrient absorption while promoting the recovery of the intestinal flora.

Kombucha Slimming

MYTH - The beverage's popularity has increased in recent years due to its numerous health benefits, including helping with bowel function and increasing a sense of well-being.

However, Kombucha is not responsible for weight reduction. It includes acids necessary for the intestinal flora, as well as vitamins and amino acids, but if a balanced diet combined with a healthy lifestyle is not maintained, Kombucha alone does not have this ability.

Kombucha is made up of living organisms

TRUTH. The culture used to make Kombucha is a combination of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. Pasteurized Kombucha contains probiotics, which are beneficial for intestinal and digestive health, as well as disease prevention.

Kombucha Cannot Be Consumed Daily

MYTH. Kombucha is a live drink that can be consumed every day, but since it is a live drink, when it is not pasteurized, it is important to use common sense.

Conclusion

We hope the information in this article has been helpful! Feel free to leave any comments or questions below, and thanks for reading!

Now that you know what Kombucha is and some of the health benefits it has to offer, we hope you will be inspired to experience this drink.

Finally, don't forget this tip: Don't shake the bottle before opening. Since Kombucha contains natural fermentation, gas will come out if you shake it. Health!

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