Kombucha is one of the hottest health beverage trends today, despite having been around for centuries. Its first recorded use was in China 221BC during the Tsin Dynasty. So what’s the big deal?
Let’s first take a step back and discover what kombucha actually is. Kombucha is a fermented tea which tastes like a fizzy apple cider. The tea is fermented exactly like wine, but with the Kombucha culture, called a “SCOBY,” which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
So why is it the newest health fad today? Well, according to WebMD, there has been much speculation about the numerous health benefits of kombucha including immune support, weight loss, reduced joint pain, cancer prevention, increasing energy, improving liver function, detoxification of the body, and digestion. People today are just now realizing and understanding that the probiotics in this drink can work wonders on their body and how it makes them feel.
Digestion support is one of kombucha’s potential health benefits (Dufresne, 2000). The abundance of probiotics and enzymes are what impart these potential digestive benefits. Kombucha has been speculated in experimental human studies to even be more effective than brand name drugs in treating conditions like heartburn and ulcers. Something that is very interesting is that kombucha can help maintain a healthy balance of candida yeast in the gut by populating it with what many refer to as “good bacteria” (WebMD).
For us college students, the energy that kombucha can give to its consumers might be important, especially for those 8am and afternoon classes! The fermentation of black tea produces iron; the tea also has a small amount of caffeine, and B vitamins, which are known to give energy to one’s body. In terms of cancer prevention, glucaric acid is in the drink, and has been also speculated to reduce incidences of cancer in humans (Dufresne, 2000). However, more scientific studies of this are needed to further prove this speculation.
Kombucha drinks can easily be bought at your local stores but often can run a high price range from around $3-5 per drink. As many of us are poor college students, we can save some money by making our own delicious kombucha at a fraction of the cost and it even makes for a fun and easy science project for you to do at-home. A picture of my very own kombucha brewing can be seen in the picture below.
Phillip Cox is a 4th year Bioengineering major and blogger for the Eat Well Pod within the Healthy Campus Initiative.