I drink a lots and lots, or should I say glasses and glasses, of water per day. While there’s nothing better than a refreshing glass of water, I do occasionally crave a beverage with a little more flavor. However, finding a beverage that meets my standards can often be difficult.
I don’t like to drink my calories, and would rather eat a piece of fruit than drink its juice. Since I seldom buy juice, this leaves me with limited options when it comes to finding beverages that provide a change of pace from my usual water intake. My other options include soda or artificially flavored, over-sugary drinks, which certainly don’t have any fewer calories than juice and don’t taste nearly as good either. Every time I see a drink that I think may be a winner, I’m usually left with disappointment after reading the ingredient list and finding an endless list of fake sweeteners and other highly processed, artificial ingredients. This leaves me usually sticking to drinking endless cups of plain water, and maybe an occasional glass of cranberry juice or OJ.
However, a couple years ago I discovered a drink that not only tastes good and meets my low-cal, au naturel standards, but also provides some added health benefits as well. This star-studded drink which holds special VIP access in my fridge would be known as Kombucha. Many of you may be familiar with Kombucha, but for those who aren’t, let me give you the 411 on what this drink is all about.
What does Kombucha tastes like? To me, Kombucha tastes like a mix between champagne and apple cider, and almost resembles a interesting variation of beer (only much lighter and tastier). It has a slight tartness to it that leaves a puckering feeling in your mouth, but also has sweet honey-like overtones. Kombucha also has a slight natural carbonation/fizziness component, and holds a taste that can certainly be pronounced as unique. It also comes in a variety of flavors, such as citrus, cosmic cranberry, and gingeraid, of which add subtle variances to the taste.
From what and how is Kombucha made? The beverage is made by combining either green or black tea with Kombucha culture, a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast that resembles a portabello mushroom in appearance. The ingredients are typically given a period of 7-10 days to undergo a fermentation process.
What is the nutritional info. of Kombucha? Kombucha typically contains 30 calories per 8 oz. serving. GT’s, the brand pictured above, contains two servings, thus it has 60 calories per bottle. It only contains 4 grams of sugar per bottle, much less than any juice or soda! Kombucha provides an array of vitamins. It’s particularly loaded with B vitamins, which help to boost energy and are said to ward of depression. The beverage also contains a significant amount of vitamin C, which aides in boosting the immune system…Kombucha may be a tool in helping to ward off both the winter blues and the winter flus.
What are some additional health benefits of drinking Kombucha? Similar to yogurt, the fermentation process of Kombucha works to culture probiotics. Probiotics are micro-organisms that aid in digestion and proper functioning of the immune system. Our bodies naturally contain these micro-organisms, but they are continuously being destroyed by factors such as antibiotics, pesticides, and preservatives. Outside sources, such as Kombucha, are beneficial in restoring these levels and boosting overall health. There are many other health claims about Kombucha, such as appetite control, metabolic function, liver function, and anti-aging properties, but there is much less actual research on Kombucha compared to other fermented products, like yogurt and Kefir. However, the Chinese regard it as natural medicine and have been drinking it for over 2,000 years. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kombucha is referred to as the “Tea of Immortality”.
Kombucha makes a great occasional substitution for water and provides a healthy, low-calorie alternative to sodas or other sugary drinks. And while the taste may resmble that of alcohol, this drink won’t leave you drunkenly impaired or damage your liver, but actually claims to enahnce overall performance and health. Plus, with over 15 different flavors, it’s hard to ever get bored of Kombucha. Test them out and find your favorite. If you’re not sure where to start, citrus and grape are my top picks.