By Isabella Sorresso
Many health trends are often fads; they come on strong and quickly but fade quicker. However, one new health fad may just be here to stay: kombucha tea. Kombucha tea has been around for ages in the Eastern world, but the Western world only just now discovering it. Kombucha is a tea that, according to the Mayo Clinic, is made from tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast.
On occasion, you may hear someone refer to as kombucha tea as kombucha mushroom tea. This is because the bacteria and yeast colony that forms at the top of the tea during a fermentation brewing process somewhat resembles a mushroom. Due to the fermentation process, Kombucha tea also has natural carbonation, making it slightly fizzy, but not to the extent of sodas, which are artificially carbonated. While yeast and bacteria ridden tea does not sound too appealing, companies offer kombucha tea in a variety of flavors.
The teas come in different flavors depending on the brands you pick up from the supermarket, but without any added flavors, kombucha tastes like a cider with a slight vinegar taste. Flavor is often added through a variety of fruits and flowers such as guava, passion fruit, elderflower and honeysuckle. Hopefully the added natural flavors make this drink more palatable for you, as there are a variety of health benefits from drinking kombucha.
In the past, kombucha has been labeled a miracle drink because of the claims that it can cure or prevent everything from acne and hangovers to arthritis, issues with blood pressure and cancer. However, the main health benefits stem from the fact that kombucha is a probiotic when its raw or unpasteurized, which means it contains beneficial bacteria gained during the fermentation process. In addition to being healthy for your gut with probiotics, the tea is rich with B-vitamins, contains folic acid and is low in calories.
Though the drink may sound a little off-putting, remember that foods such as yogurt, tempeh, and certain cheeses also contain probiotics. Probiotics, in the right type and amount, can help promote a healthy immune system, support a weight management program and can prevent occasional diarrhea or constipation, according to the Mayo Clinic.
According to the Mayo Clinic, none of the health claims have been backed by science, and there has been limited testing on kombucha, but those who believe in the tea also believe in the results. You can find kombucha teas in just about nay grocery store in the produce section!