Wining & Dining
Crazy for Kombucha
9/1/2017 12:57:12 PM
Kombucha

You hear a lot lately about probiotics and their myriad of health benefits. These healthy bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system as they absorb nutrients and ward off infection and illness. They contain antioxidants which detoxify the body, decrease inflammation, and protect against disease. They are found in common foods such as yogurt and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi. But you can also drink your probiotics in the form of kombucha.

Kombucha, also known by the Chinese as "the immortal health elixir,” originated in Asia approximately 2000 years ago. The beverage is made from fermenting green or black tea and a source of sugar, such as cane sugar, honey, or fruit. This fizzy concoction contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, plenty of acids, and of course, probiotics. With high levels of B vitamins, they can protect the brain and ward off depression. While still in preliminary phases of research, studies show that kombucha may lower triglycerides and regulate cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy choice.

Kombucha can be found in the health food sections of most grocery stores. But you can also buy it locally at farmers’ markets. Maia Atkins makes kombucha and sells a variety of flavors at the Tuesday Cash and Carry. Her most requested flavor is Ginger & Pineapple. She says if stored and refrigerated properly, a bottle can keep for months.

Atkins got on the kombucha kick around nine years ago. Her friend’s mom made it, and then Atkins’ mom got hooked. At first, she didn’t care for the taste. But she helped her mom make it and upon research, discovered the many health benefits. One day, she added pineapple to the batch. "The fruit worked wonders!” she said. "I actually enjoyed drinking it and so did my younger siblings.”

Atkins says kombucha is very simple to make at home. She offers DIY kits with a detailed recipe. Basically, you brew organic tea with filtered water and add organic cane sugar. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and add a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Allow to ferment for one to two weeks or more. You can drink as is or add flavoring. 

Many kombucha fans enjoy the beverage as an alternative to sodas and plain fruit juices. For others, kombucha calls for an acquired taste. Depending on the brand and method or preparation, it can be rather sour and vinegary. But when you consider the health benefits, it’s well worth getting used to.
Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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