I’m not a coffee addict, a soda drinker or a green juice lover. Water is my go-to drink 90% of the time, with coconut water taking the other 10%. I consider that good for my body and wallet because bottled drinks are expensive and water is, you know, water. But last week I tried a new-to-me drink that has quickly become a favorite: kombucha. I’m well aware that kombucha has been around for a long time but I’m usually at least one year behind any food/fashion/life trend so the timing makes sense for me.
I don’t know if this will be one of my short-term obsessions or not, but I figured I’d do some research on what I’m putting into my body. Chances are you are already fully knowledgeable on kombucha, but if you’re like me and didn’t even know how to pronounce it, continue on…
How do you pronounce it?
kom·bu·cha: Com-boo-sha (at least I think so ;))
What is kombucha?
“Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavorings” (Source). Fun fact: It is also called “mushroom tea” because it looks like a mushroom during the brewing process.
But don’t look up pictures of the process because it’s gross…just an FYI because my sister made me look. Didn’t change my opinion on it, though.
What does it taste like?
To me, it tastes like a mixture of apple cider vinegar, tea and champagne (because it’s fizzy). There are different flavors of the drink so it tastes like those additional flavors as well. I’ve tried Guava Goddess, Gingerberry and Lavender.
What are the (claimed) health benefits?
There isn’t much formal research on kombucha, but because it’s full of probiotics, it’s known to improve digestion, gut health and overall immunity (Source). There are claims that it can prevent cancer and improve liver function, although I’m skeptical of those statements. I did read about the dangers of drinking unpasteurized kombucha and the risk of making it yourself (when contamination is likely) (Source).
Is there alcohol in it?
This is where I was (and still am) not fully clear. I didn’t have any problem purchasing it myself but I’ve seen many signs at Whole Foods that have said “you must be 21 to purchase.” However, I think there are certain brands/types of kombucha that have less than 0.5 percent of alcohol and would therefore be considered a non-alcoholic drink. On Synergy’s website, two of their products (the “classics”) have a warning at the top of their respective pages that says the drinks may contain more than 0.5 percent alcohol. Their other product lines do not have that warning.
As someone who has had digestive problems for their entire (yes entire) life, I was hesitant to think this drink could help me. Brace yourself for TMI… I split two bottles with my mom over a period of 4 days and sipped it like wine. During those 4 days I had, let’s say, good digestive days. It relieved some constipation and just kept things “regular,” if you know what I mean. I don’t think I could finish an entire bottle by myself in one day until my body builds up a tolerance.
I sure did feel trendy drinking it.