Skip to Content

Published on June 24, 2015

Kombucha Craze!

June 24, 2015

Kombuca teaCould this fermented elixir cure your ills—or is it just the latest health fad?

Kombucha is a fermented tea made from a potent combination of bacteria, yeast, tea and sugar. Originating in the Tsing Dynasty in 200 B.C.E., this tonic can now be found in health food stores and grocery stores alike. So what’s the big deal—and should you add it to your diet?

Touted as an “immortal health elixir,” many advertisements claim regularly drinking this effervescent beverage can do everything from curing cancer to boosting immunity or detoxing the body.

Some studies suggest kombucha can have a positive effect on the digestive tract by providing the digestive tract with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria. If you’ve experienced tummy troubles or are looking to improve your digestive health, kombucha might be worth a try. As for the other health claims, more research is needed.

If You Do Imbibe …

Considering giving kombucha a try? This super beverage gives the same fizzy sensation as drinking a soft drink—without added sugars and caffeine.

  • Look for commercially bottled, pasteurized kinds. While certain types of bacteria are beneficial to the body, other types could make you sick. Kombucha needs to be made in a strictly controlled environment and bottled in glass jars.
  • Try it with chia seeds. Many commercially produced types of kombucha come with chia seeds—tiny edible seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamins such as calcium and iron—floating right in the jar. Don’t be scared. Consider this a health-version of bubble tea, with chia seeds standing in for tapioca pearls.

The Fermented Four

Adding fermented foods to your diet is one of the easiest ways to support your digestive tract. Look beyond the yogurt section at your grocery store for these fermented foods.

  • Kefir is a drink that is similar to yogurt in taste, but is also an excellent source of protein and B vitamins. Unlike other dairy products, kefir is appropriate for lactose-intolerant individuals. The bacteria present in kefir can improve elimination and reduce flatulence. Try adding kefir to your favorite smoothie recipe or having a glass as an afternoon snack.
  • Kimchi is a popular Korean condiment composed of fermented cabbage, chili peppers and fish sauce. Typically served as an accompaniment to grilled meat or soup, this dish has can cure constipation and may even lower cholesterol, according to recent studies. Try eating this spicy cabbage with steamed rice, or cooking it in vegetable oil for a flavorful soup base.
  • Sauerkraut is shredded fermented cabbage, most often found layered on a Reuben sandwich. Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and B. Try making this yummy side dish at home by combining chopped cabbage and salt in a Mason jar.
  • Tempeh is a vegetarian favorite made from fermented soybeans. High in manganese, copper, fiber and protein, tempeh is typically used in place of meat in many dishes. Crumble it in marinara sauce or chili for a meatless Monday dish.

Find a gastroenterologist

Footer Curve