Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Kombucha is a home brewed drink made by fermenting sweet tea within a culture of yeast and bacteria. A “SCOBY,” (short for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) creates probiotics, has antioxidants, and healthy bacteria. The Scoby, or mother, is similar to a mother of vinegar, containing one or more species each of bacteria and yeasts which ferment alcohols produced by the yeasts into acids. A scoby is not a mushroom. The bacteria and yeast build a cellulose structure (like a yeast mat) where they live together.
How does kombucha work?
The mother conducts both aerobic and anaerobic fermentation, which is why the structure grows to the size of its container. During the aerobic fermentation yeast ferment the sugar and tea which create an alcohol. Then, the bacteria convert the alcohol into gluconic acid and the other healthy acids. Because all of the ethanol is not consumed by the bacteria there is a very small amount of alcohol. Typically kombucha has .01-.3% of alcohol.
Why should I drink Kombucha?
Probiotics are living microorganisms or good bacteria, said to be beneficial for both the immune system and digestion. These bacteria can improve digestion, inflammation and help reduce free radicals and bad bacteria in the gut. While sugar is used, sucrose is converted by the yeast and bacteria into fructose and glucose, natural sugars found in juice and fruit. In addition, kombucha contains enzymes and amino acids, which are beneficial to digestive and overall health. Kombucha helps to balance the body through detoxification and improved digestion. Especially if you have taken antibiotics, kombucha can help return a body stripped of healthy flora.
Acetic acid, one of the main substances produced during the fermentation of kombucha is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms. Acetic acid is found in vinegar, which makes kombucha vinegar great for cuts, wounds, and cleaning.
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