Gut health and the role of kombucha
What is the meaning of kombucha?
Keeping up with our motto to create awareness about kombucha and a happy gut, we got a chance to catch up with the good folks at Cora Health and talk all things kombucha and gut. Here is a run down in words of what went in the Insta Live -
1) Cora: Firstly we would really like to know more about your journey, how you started as a kombucha brewer and what has it been like so far!
Honey: From volunteering at a fermentation festival in Goa in 2016 to discovering kombucha in Dallas grocery stores in 2017, who would have thought that I would leave my comfortable job at a big MNC and turn into a kombuchapreneur ? Well that's exactly what happened. My travel experience in Goa and United States led me to discover the world of fermented foods. I wanted to tell my story of how fermentation changed my life. How it inspired me to go with my gut feeling, explore the unexplored.
2) Cora: We’ve all heard about kombucha vaguely but we would like to know from you what it exactly is and how is it made.
Honey: Kombucha is a beverage made by fermenting sweetened black, green, white or oolong tea with a live-culture called SCOBY. Later it may or may not be flavoured for enhanced nutrition and flavours. It takes at least a couple of weeks to ferment depending on the temperature and the strength of the culture.
3) Cora: What does it taste like?
Honey: Apple-y sweet-sour. Unmatched distinguished flavour but definitely a crisp, pleasantly tart beverage
4) Cora: Could you tell us a little more about how and where it originated?
Honey: Kombucha's origin stories are colourful as a rainbow. Some believe that it was accidentally discovered in China where someone left a pot of sweet tea unattended. Few days later it had become sour, probably an insect would have landed on the surface of the tea transferring the bacteria (predominantly acetobacter population from its feet to the tea!
However newer studies also indicate its origin in Eastern Europe/Russia as well. Guess we will have to wait and watch until anything is confirmed.
5) Cora: How long does the whole fermentation process take?
Honey: Short answer, it depends.
Longer version: It takes a minimum of 7 days for the SCOBY to get some answer going in the fermentation vessel (depending on external factors like ingredients, temperature). with each passing the the SCOBY consumes the tea and sugar nutrients and churn healthful bioactive compounds, organic acids. You can ferment it for as long as you like the flavours of it.
6) Cora: Does it by any chance contain alcohol?
Honey: Yeasts-led fermentation releases alcohol as a by-product. The major difference in kombucha fermentation is the presence of acetobacter genus of bacteria that feeds on the alcohols and converts them into Acetic acid, Gluconic acid the foundation of kombucha flavours, resulting in minuscule percentage of natural alcohol (less than .5 ABV%)
7) Cora: Now we all know that kombucha is quite beneficial for the gut. But we’d like to know what a little more about how it benefits our gut, what are the main ingredients that are so beneficial for our health. Could you tell us more about that?
Honey: Two most important health benefits of kombucha are the abundance of gut-friendly, anti-microbial, immune-system stimulating and detoxifying organic acids - Acetic acid, gluconic acid, glucoronic acid.
Another one is the presence of bioactive compounds like polyphenols (catechins) from black/green/oolong tea. Kombucha is considerably richer in antioxidants that are easier for our bodies to assimilate. Antioxidants have the capacity to scavenge the free radicals, metals that may damage vital physiological processes.
Beside these, kombucha also contains an array of B-Vitamins, trace minerals as well.
8) Cora: What is it's shelf life? If unopened till when should one use it? And once opened how long can it be kept before it goes bad?
Honey: Our kombucha is good unopened 3 months refrigerated. Once open do consume within 7 days.
9) Cora: Can pregnant or lactating mothers have it safely?
Honey: Always ask your health practitioner if you have a pre-existing condition before you consume any raw, unpasteurised food or beverage
10) Cora: What are some common Kombucha recipes that are your personal favourites
Honey: My favourite way to consume kombucha is as a cleanser after a meal. Time to time I like to also make kombucha protein smoothies. Banana, peanut butter, singer ginger, spirulina and chia seeds smoothie make for a great pick-me-up!
11) Cora: How much Kombucha can one drink everyday?
Honey: 220 ml is alright to consume. But if you are first time drinker, limit it to half bottle a day until your body feels comfortable.
12) Cora: And what is the best time to have it?
Honey: However your body permits. You can begin my having it during or after a meal
13) For those who have never had Kombucha, what amount would be the best to start with?
Honey: under 120 ml a day is good enough
14) Cora: Does it have any side effects?
Honey: Preexisting condition like histamine intolerance may exaggerate, consult a doctor always. In most cases any such allergic reaction after consuming kombucha is a red flag to your body indicating that sometime needs fixing, it's like a litmus test.
15) Cora: can children consume kombucha? What is the advisable quantity
Honey: Research about the practices of kombucha brands, dilute with water/juice if required.
16) Cora: How's kombucha different than Yakult
Honey: Yakult is a lab made dairy-based, probiotic beverage with special strains of lactobacillus bacteria aimed to provide certain health benefits. Its not a naturally fermented product instead, probiotics are added to it. Whereas Mountain Bee Kombucha is 100% plant-based, naturally fermented, low in sugar and comes with additional benefits of metabolites, Postbiotics along with Probiotics and Prebiotics.