Move over beer, there’s new (well actually not so new) fermented beverage in town. Introducing Kombucha! “Booch” as I affectionately call it, is the life of party…literally. It’s one of the fastest growing trends in functional beverages. This fizzy, refreshing tea is nutritionally alive. Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria, known as a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). While the thought of drinking a cocktail of microorganisms that sits on your counter for a week might not initially sound savory, the sweet tasting brew might just take you by surprise. Anyone that’s new to the Kombucha market usually starts with commercially bottled brews in the grocery stores. A few popular brands include GT’s Kombucha and Health-Ade. Each brand has a slightly different flavor twist, but all tend to be pretty good.
Growing Trends in functional beverages| Kombucha
WHY KOMBUCHA IS SO POPLAR
Not all bacteria is bad. The gastrointestinal tract is home to hundreds of bacterial species, and research is starting to reveal the essential role gut microbes play in the immune system. Diseases such as depression, obesity, and autoimmune disease may be linked to imbalances in bacteria in our GI tract. In addition to immune function, microbes in our gut are capable of synthesizing B-vitamins, vitamin K, folate, and short-chain fatty acids. Finally, microbes also aide in digestion and intestinal motility. In short, having a healthy gut is critical to your overall health. Kombucha has grown in popularity because it is marketed as a probiotic drink.
PREPARE TO BE ENLIGHTENED
Many Kombucha companies boast that their product is an elixir for well-being, but what does that mean in terms of the benefits to the drinker? Some of the products benefits of Kombucha are that it helps clear up acne, headaches and stress; aids against hermorrhoids, constipation. Some companies also promote cleansing and general detoxifying with their Kombucha products. With all of these benefits, its no wonder it’s one of the fast growing trends in functional beverages. As it is derived from tea, Kombucha typically contains caffeine in differing amounts depending on the brand.
FERMENTED TEA COMES WITH A PRICE
A reason you may not find Kombucha in every natural products store, despite the growing trend, is due to the natural alcohol that results from fermentation. Certain Kombucha brands or varieties may not be allowed in the refrigerated aisle next to the coconut water and kefir drinks.
Just a few years ago, when Kombucha started its rise to more mainstream popularity, an issue arose where two large products companies were accused of having more than trace amount of alcohol, or 0.5% in their products, and not declaring so on the label. New companies hoping to break into the Kombucha market have taken this warning to heart and have been springing up with new flavors and varieties across the country. You can, however, still buy Kombuchas as your natural groceries and supermarket stores.
Kombucha continues to be one of the biggest trends in functional beverages and it won’t slow down
Blog credits to FoodAsRX