Kombucha... What it is and why you might want to be drinking it!

Maybe you have heard of Kombucha, maybe not... It's a fermented tea that contains millions of live cultures. For thousands of years across many cultures, it's been considered a health-promoting drink. It's gained popularity in the U.S. in the fast few years. It's available at health food stores and even in places like mainstream grocery stores now.

While Kombucha can be an acquired taste, it has many health benefits. Let's talk about them:

1) Good source of Healthy Probiotic bacteria. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is important for digestive and overall good health. Kombucha can help with digestion and balance between good and bad bacteria. Because Kombucha is made from a living organism (called a SCOBY), it produces healthy bacteria that we consume when we drink it. You want to look for raw Kombucha which will have material floating around in it. That's how you know it has the good stuff still left in it. You will want to avoid anything pasteurized as that has heated to destroy all the bacteria. A quick note on this: For most people, this Probiotic bacteria is a good thing. There are people experiencing certain health conditions like histamine intolerance or an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines who report not feel great when they consume Kombucha or any type of fermented food. If that's you, I recommend not consuming it until you get to the root of the issue.

2) Anti Inflammatory benefits - Kombucha very frequently contains fruit extracts and things like ginger that have properties to fight inflammation. The sugar that occurs is broken down by the fermentation process, so you won't experience an insulin spike and be subject to the other nasty effects that usually accompany sugary drinks. Because Kombucha also encourages a healthy bacterial balance in the gut, some of the strains of bacteria that are know to cause inflammation are pushed out by the good bacteria that results from fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha.

3) Joint health - This may surprise you, but the high glucosamine content of Kombucha can actually help your joints feel better. Glucosamines help promote the production of Hyaluronic acid which help with joint lubrication and flexibility.

One of the things that I love about Kombucha is that the tangy "bite" is a great replacement for soda if you are trying to transition to a healthier habit. It can also be a great way to feel like you are enjoying a bubbly drink without consuming alcoholic beverages (although there is a very small amount of alcohol in Kombucha due to the fermentation process).

While I find it much easier to pick up a few bottles at my local health food store, Kombucha is actually fairly easy to make at home. I did this years ago. It takes a bit of time, but it's quite easy once you get the hang of it. You can check out an article here if you are interested in more info. on making your own Kombucha at home.

For most people, adding Kombucha to their diet is a great idea. As I mentioned above, there are a small group of individuals who will not tolerate it well because of an overgrowth of bacteria. If you drink it and feel bloated, gassy and uncomfortable, you might want to meet with a functional health professional to determine if you have imbalances in your digestive system.

I hope you found this article helpful!

To your health,

Dr. Jeni

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