I LOVE BEVERAGES! Be it a sparkling water, a fresh pressed juice, a cup of Joe, or even a fancy Italian soda, I love them ALL! There is something about a refreshing sip of deliciousness that reinvigorates me…my favorite “fun” beverage of late has got to be kombucha. Who am I kidding? This is not news. My love affair with this bubbly beverage has been building for years, and I can successfully say that I am, without a doubt, hooked on the ‘buch.
So what is kombucha anyway?
Aside from being unnecessarily difficult to pronounce, this funky, delicious, little treat is mystifying. At its simplest, kombucha is a fermented beverage made from tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. The fermentation process yields a concoction of vinegar, B vitamins, and other chemical compounds (Mayo Clinic). At its most controversial, kombucha may be a divine wellness tonic no one should live without. (Maybe that’s a little dramatic…)
While there are many aboard the kombucha train, its benefits are difficult to quantify. There are a deluge of claims about kombucha; everything from boosting immune health, to probiotic properties, to lowering blood pressure. Unfortunately, there is no documented scientific evidence to support these claims (plus some people may be allergic to it) so we will just focus on its uncanny ability to delight taste buds.
So what’s the deal? Why am I hooked on this stuff?
It’s a delicious and refreshing, natural and most often organic, substitute for water that does not lead to excessive thirst or calorie intake.
In the quest for a healthy lifestyle, I began to notice that alcohol is a tricky beast. It’s a beverage, but it doesn’t quite quench thirst. It actually makes us thirsty. Most often we answer this “thirst signal” by drinking more alcohol, which makes us even more dehydrated…
This conundrum of beverages-that-leave-us-thirsty is not limited to drinks with alcohol; it can be the case for most beverages that have stuff; i.e. flavors, sweeteners, preservatives in them. The “thirst quenching” properties of said beverage are usually overshadowed by whatever is used to flavor that beverage. Maybe they are not adding calories, but these enhancements can add chemicals. And nobody wants that.
As the weather gets warmer we can appreciate the need for adequate hydration, especially for those of us who reside in these ever-so-muggy southeastern states. But, did you know that hunger can be thirst in disguise? That’s right. A hunger pang can actually just be the body begging for a little hydration. If you have ever heard a dietician recommend drinking a glass of water when hunger strikes, this is why.
Why should you drink kombucha?
It’s ALIVE! This may freak some people out, but it’s actually a cool thing. Because of the bacteria culture that is used to bring the bubbles, kombucha is a living food! This means a lot of complex things for the kombucha supply chain, but for the consumer it means that you’re getting a product that contains perishable ingredients and has a pretty aggressive shelf life. That’s what I call getting fresh!
It’s mostly good for you. You will still need to eagle-eye those labels because not all kombucha is created equal. The industry itself is still in the early stages. Lots of new companies bringing their ‘buch to market in small batches with humble ingredients. Here in Raleigh, NC I can find locally brewed ‘buch that is naturally flavored just about anywhere.
It’s a great way to stay hydrated and refreshed. Maybe it’s the bubbles, maybe it’s the seasonal flavors or the fun colors. In my (incredibly biased opinion) the taste is the VERY BEST reason to enjoy it. And, at less than 50 calories a serving, (again not all brands but a good many) it’s a great way to get hydration and flavor (and bubbles) in one magical, fizzy place.
Don’t just take my word for it, get your buns to the nearest Whole Foods (or grocer of choice) and pick up some kombucha today! It may help stave off a hunger craving, it may help you stay hydrated, it may even cure what ails you, but you will never know unless you try! That ‘buch may be a little funky, but then again so are you. Be brave and buy yourself some ‘buch! 🙂