We ingest so many antibiotics and preservatives in our day and age (whether to treat an illness or through the food we eat), and it is important to restore our gut to a healthy state by adding probiotics to the mix.
An easy way to boost your gut bacteria and improve your overall health is by eating more fermented foods, which are rich in live cultures that help to create a optimal ecosystem in your tummy.
If you’re a regular in health shops and restaurants, you might have spotted Kombucha (pronounced kom-boo-chuh) in their fridge. This fermented drink has been gaining in popularity over the last few months for it’s unique taste and health benefits. Curious? Here’s what you need to know.
What is it?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is made by combining sugar, tea leaves, water and a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria or yeast). As the yeast or bacteria consumes the sugar they release carbon dioxide, giving the drink a naturally fizzy character.
“Kombucha is an excellent source of live probiotics” explains Dr Sonia Couto, a Cape Town-based Phytotherapist. “A healthy gut flora nourishes the nerve endings of your gut, and when the gut is happy, the brain is happy.”
Apart from supplying your gut with some fresh organisms, the culture of bacteria or yeast releases Omega 3 and Vitamin B, which help to neutralise inflammation and stress in the body. Dr Couto also explains that 98% of the sugar in Kombucha is digested by the scoby, so it is a healthy choice for those following LCHF diets or suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.
What does it taste like?
It is difficult to pinpoint the taste exactly. Perhaps something between apple sours and juice that has started to go slightly fizzy. The first sip might catch you off guard, but once you wrap your tastebuds around it, it becomes pretty addictive in a sweet-meets-zingy kind of way. And since it’s packed with living probiotics, organic enzymes, vitamins and minerals, your body will love you for it.
Kombucha to try
Kombucha Tea range by Theonista
(R32 for 330ml, theonistaproducts.com)
I particularly enjoyed the new Kombucha Tea range by Theonista, created by brewmistress Meghan Werner in Woodstock, Cape Town.
The range consists of three bottle sizes and around 10-12 flavors at any given time. “We have a really extensive core range of 9 options right now but in the past year I’ve also introduced seasonal flavors (i.e. Summer, Equinox, etc) that allow me to offer new flavors using botanicals, spices, and/or fruits to create options which are seasonally inspired. This also means some of the flavors simply cannot exist outside a certain time of year depending on what is in season,” says Werner.
Along with organic teas sourced from South Africa, Asia, and South America, only 100% pure fruit, root, and/or botanical extracts and infusions are used, meaning no artificial flavors, colorants, or preservatives.
Tea of Life Raw Kombucha
R41 for 440ml, teaoflife.co.za
I grabbed a bottle of this at the Oranjezicht City Farmers Market and it was a delicious way to refresh on after grocery shopping. It is made by Elizabeth Gunter from Muizenberg in Cape Town, who started creating the range after experiencing the impact Kombucha had on her personal health. I tried the Berry Boost flavour, which has a mildly sweet flavour over the classic Kombucha zing.
Sexy Food Cranberry Kombucha
R45 for 500ml, sexyfood.co.za
If you live in or close to the Cape Town CBD it is definitely worth popping by Sexy Food in Bree Street. Sexy Food is all about indigenous fermentation, nutrition and flavour, and helping to restore your good gut bacteria.
They are known for their delicious raw food (try the Supergreen Bunless Burger) and their Kombucha. The cranberry variant is a personal favourite.
Do you have a favourite Kombucha brand? I would love some more recommendations. Pop it in the comments section below.