Kombucha (a.k.a. booch as I like to call it) has become my go-to drink when I need something full of flavor, but still healthy. I started drinking it because I loved the taste of it and then later found out just how good for me it was. So I asked Zach (our wellness expert) to break down what it is, why it’s good for you, and how to find the best booch!
Before we get into it, let’s first define what Kombucha really is for those of you that are new to it. Kombucha is what you get when you take sweetened tea (green or black) and ferment it with a specific kind of bacteria (called the scoby). The bacteria breaks down the sugar and caffeine in the tea and releases healthy probiotic bacteria, antioxidants, and without getting too technical, a whole bunch of other good stuff.
This process also results in the kombucha being carbonated and fizzy. Between the probiotics, B12, and electrolytes, kombucha can be a great alternative to the high sugar, preservative filled drinks typical found at your grocery store, which is why it’s become so popular for many people.
How Is it good for you?
- The most popular benefit of kombucha is improved gut health. The probiotics made during fermentation are similar to the good bacteria found in your gut. Better gut health will result in feeling better, improved mental health, clearer skin, and lower risks of a whole host of diseases. 70-80% of our immune tissue is found in the digestive tract, so keeping it healthy will help stave off lots of other issues. Our gut is also where our body makes most of our serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes you happy. So better gut health will literally make you happier.
- The polyphenols (antioxidants) found in kombucha can reduce inflammation. Inflammation will make you feel tired, sore, and sluggish. It’s also the root cause of many other health issues. The same polyphenols have also been shown to reduce toxins in the liver and promote better liver function.
- Kombucha can also protect you from infection. The fermentation process produces acetic acid (which is also found in vinegar). Acetic acid can kill all kinds of harmful bacteria, but won’t affect the good probiotic bacteria.
- Green tea has tons of other health benefits, so any kombucha made from green tea will as well. These can include fat loss, better brain function, reduced risks of cancer, and better cardiovascular health. The residual caffeine can give you a nice little boost of energy, too!
We tapped Philippe Trinh, one of Bobby’s good friends and co-founder of Seek North to give us a bit more information as to what separates theirs from other brands. Here are a few things too look for when buying your own.
What to look for
Just because kombucha is good for you doesn’t mean all brands are equal. Here’s how to tell the good stuff from the bad.
- Pay attention to the sugar content and where it comes from. All kombucha is going to have some sugar, it’s an integral part of the fermentation process. The quality brands will use natural ingredients to add flavor to their booch. Look for one that doesn’t have added sugars or artificial flavors.
- Look for a raw, unfiltered kombucha. Real kombucha has a bit of vinegar-y flavor and stringy, globular stuff floating around in it. Don’t worry, that’s the yeast that’s necessary for the fermentation process (and what produces the carbonation). Some brands try to filter this out. The problem is that they end up filtering out all the good bacteria at the same time. That kind of defeats the whole purpose of drinking it.
- Check the alcohol content, and how they get rid of the alcohol. A byproduct of the fermentation process is alcohol and homemade kombucha can have up to 3%. In order to sell it in stores, kombucha has to be under 0.5%. How they get rid of that alcohol is extremely important. Some brands filter it out, resulting in filtering out some of the good bacteria and antioxidants like mentioned before. Brands like Seek North use what’s called a Spinning Cone Column (a type of centrifuge) to get rid of the alcohol. The process not only gives you a virtually alcohol-free booch, but keeps all the good stuff intact!