If you haven’t heard of it, kombucha (or kombucha tea) is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Kombucha starts with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (also known as a SCOBY) that is added to sugar and tea — resulting in a fermented beverage that contains vinegar, B vitamins and other compounds.
Kombucha proponents suggest that this drink may help prevent or manage certain health conditions, though these claims are not supported by clinical evidence. There is some research to support that kombucha tea may exert benefits similar to probiotic supplements — and may help promote immune function and may help prevent constipation. More research is needed to understand the role that kombucha and other fermented foods or beverages may have in the maintenance of health.
Be sure to look for kombucha brewed within appropriate food safety standards (home-brewed kombucha is often made in nonsterile conditions, leading to an increased risk of contamination) — your local co-op or grocery store should have several options available.
(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)
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