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A selection of colorful kombuchas in clear glasses

Kombucha – The Health Benefits Behind This Unusual Name

The name Kombucha means ‘tea of life.’ In this case, the moniker is well-earned, even if its reputation in the U.S. is not quite as infamous as of yet. This slightly effervescent, tart tea is renowned as a powerful detoxifier, binding to toxins and helping to expel them from the body.

How you ask? Through the acids and enzymes developed naturally through the process of fermentation. Those same enzymes and acids, with the help of Kombucha’s natural probiotic content are also helpful in promoting better digestion, even soothing upset stomach and providing relief of symptoms like constipation and diarrhea.

That healthier gut will also help to improve your immunity. 80% of the human body’s immune system is located in the gut! By fostering a healthier gut environment, you’ll enjoy better overall health; who wouldn’t want a better shot at fighting colds and flu? Speaking of fighting, the microorganisms found in some Kombuchas have been found to aid in combating free radicals and cancer cells. These microbes encourage the body’s own cancer-fighting cells to activate. Glucaric acid, also found in Kombucha, may help to lower cancer risk.

If that news wasn’t enough to make you happy, Kombucha can do that too! The B vitamins (B1, B6, and B12 to be precise) energize you and help to stabilize your mood. These vitamins can help to enhance your concentration and focus, and have also been found helpful in the management of depression.

Kombucha may also help to maintain healthier levels of cholesterol. Kombucha was found to increase levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, while reducing levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol. The University of Monterrey performed a research study on the potential health benefits of Kombucha and found that consumption of Kombucha can help to regulate glucose levels.

For diabetics in particular, the combination of improved gut health, better cholesterol levels, and more stable blood sugar should sound quite attractive! Fermented foods in general are quite beneficial to health and can help to manage blood sugar. When you include fermented foods in your diet, they work with your body to help optimize the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

All the action happens in the gut. The home of an estimated 100 trillion organisms, your gut is the “second brain” of your body. The gut does everything from transforming food into fuel for the body, to protecting your immune health, to lowering blood sugar. In your gut, there is a naturally-occurring compound called butyrate. Research has shown that butyrate may have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity. When insulin sensitivity is improved, the body does a better job of regulating blood sugar and is able to keep blood sugar levels lower.

Some examples of fermented foods? Along with kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi are some of the most well-known. Each of these foods has quite the interesting (and delicious) history.

Not just a topping for hot dogs, sauerkraut is a treasured ingredient in many cultures. Although thought of as a German creation, builders of the Great Wall of China enjoyed sauerkraut often and it likely spread to Europe through the plundering travels of Ghengis Khan.

Kimchi originated in Korea, where winters are cold and fertile farm land is not widely available. Koreans salted what vegetables they had in order to preserve them. This salting and preservation process caused the vegetables to ferment.

Along with kimchi and sauerkraut, some of the most popular fermented foods are yogurt, kefir (a fermented milk beverage), and tempeh (fermented soybeans.) All of these, and other fermented foods, contain healthy probiotic bacteria which improve gut health. When your gut works better, your body works better. Check out this information on the power of your gut and the benefits of probiotics for diabetics.

Now, where to find these fermented jewels? In large chain stores, you will likely find kombucha and tempeh in the refrigerated section near the produce department. In this same section, also look for kimchi and sauerkraut. The last two may only be available in cans, but strive to find them fresh. Canned or jarred foods have been processed with heat, which kills most (if not all) of the beneficial bacteria inside. Food labels should tell you which items contain “live organisms.” These are the winners!

You can also experiment by making your own fermented foods. Online resources are plentiful, and food tastes better when you make it yourself! Just check out these these 10 foods you can ferment at home. While Kombucha may have an unusual name, it also packs an unusually powerful punch in favor of better health. Give the tantalizing ‘tea of life’, and other fermented finds, a try today!






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