Heal your mind and gut with Kombucha
Kombucha is a true wonder and it not only helps heal your gut it can boost your mood and shift depression too!
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha & Kvass contain a large number of healthy bacteria called probiotics. These friendly bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. Kombucha is also amazing for your mental health and I will share a powerful testimony later in this blog which has inspired me to be currently doing a masters degree in the gut microbiome.
Kombucha is known by the Chinese as an “Immortal Health Elixir” and is said to have originated in the Far East around 2,000 years ago. Kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and in particular your gut
An amazing fact is that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.” The gut doesn’t think like your actual brain but sends many messages to allow all of your 11 systems to work correctly, thus how the ‘second brain’ term was coined. Drinking kombucha every day can help you to maintain peak immune health, which had a huge knock on effect on your entire health, right down to a cellular level.
So what is Kombucha? It is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional probiotic food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar.
After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains B vitamins, enzymes, vinegar, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). These bacteria are known as cellulose producing bacteria, meaning they produce cellulose, which acts as a shield to your 100 trillion cells.
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a ‘Scoby’ (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas.
The following probiotics can be found in this little miracle tea;
The following probiotics can be found in this little miracle tea;
While nutrition facts will differ between brands and homemade brews, always use unpasteurised (never pasteurised it is a waste of money).
- Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
- Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
- Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent
- Acetobacter (<2 percent)
Top 3 benefits of Kombucha;
1. Helps prevent diseases & restores gut health
Not only does Kombucha help to heal your gut & reduce candida / fungus overgrowth (which, in itself, contributes to boosted immunity), it also contains powerful antioxidants and can help to detoxify the body and protect against disease.
Related to this disease-fighting power is the way these antioxidants help to reduce inflammation , which is often the root cause of any disease. This inflammation-reducing, detoxing quality is probably one reason kombucha may decrease the risk for certain kinds of cancers according to the latest research (see this research article https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248425525_Tea_Kombucha_and_health_A_review).
One reason this happens is because antioxidants reduce oxidative stress that can damage cells, even down to DNA. Being exposed to a lot of processed foods and chemicals within your environment can lead to this stress, which in turn contributes to chronic inflammation.
While normal black tea does contain antioxidants, research shows that the fermentation process of kombucha creates antioxidants not present in black tea, like glucaric acid. Research from the University of Latvia in 2014 claims that drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energising potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.”
2. Supports liver function
Since the liver helps to filter and convert harmful compounds, it’s a vital component in digestion and overall health. The antioxidants in kombucha seem to protect the liver from oxidative stress / free radicals thus helping you age slower and prevent disease. The liver is also key for fat burning so Kombucha has a knock on effect supporting the body’s overall metabolism.
3. Improves mental sate and supports brain-gut communication
Kombucha helps protects your mind too. One way it can accomplish this is by the B vitamins it contains. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, are known to increase energy levels and contribute to overall mental wellbeing. Its high vitamin B12 content is one reason supplements sometimes contain dry kombucha products.
The gut-repairing function of kombucha also plays a role in mental health. Depression may be a major symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation. Marry in with this fungus/candida over growth and parasites producing mycotoxins and your mental state can even reach suicidal levels. Kombucha’s ability to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggested it would be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression.
In fact I have an amazing testimony very close to my heart re this. Many of yo know that my dear husband suffered from severe clinical depression and anxiety for over 12 years. He tried every drug on the market and often had 2-3 various types as cocktail at any one time. Cut a long story short over a year ago it finally dawned on me to work on his gut and tested him for parasites, candida & leaky gut! Sure enough he had the hat trick! He did my 100 days health re-set program and he is mentally a totally different person! He also did some emotional work with one of my brilliant mentors in the USA but it is a lifestyle change. As soon as he goes back to eating sugar, eating gluten & drinking beer I can feel him sliding back into his ‘cave ’ as I call it. This happened after all the Christmas celebrations so as soon as i see him sliding mentally I nip this in the bud and instead of camping for weeks or years in that horrible place he only needs a week or two and he is back to his happy self.
Over the past few years I have treated so many adults with mood disorders and children with behavioural problems and each time by restoring their gut balance it has had a huge effect on their health.
Yields: 8 cups
Avoid using a plastic jar or bowl because the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the kombucha during the fermentation period. Ceramic pots might cause lead to leach into the kombucha once the acid comes into contact with the ceramic glaze. Look for a big metal or glass jug/jar/bowl and make sure the opening is wide enough to allow a lot of oxygen to reach the kombucha while it ferments.
Secure this material around the opening of the jar with a rubber band. Do not use a cheese cloth, as it allows particles to pass through. You can even try using an old thin cotton t-shirt or some simple cotton fabric from any textile store.
You can find a SCOBY disk in health food stores or online for relatively inexpensive amounts. A SCOBY disk can be vacuum-sealed in a small pouch and shipped directly to your house for only a few dollars, while still preserving all of the active yeast ingredients.
I would use filtered water, if possible, but using tap water is also a viable option. Some prefer using distilled water, which contains less contaminants or metals than tap water. Distilled water is inexpensive (around 88 cents a gallon) and can be found at most large drug or convenience stores.
Yes, this is one of the few times I’ll tell you to use real sugar! Most of it is actually “eaten” by the yeast during the fermentation process, so there is very little sugar left in the recipe by the time you consume it. It isimportant to use only organic cane sugar. There are reports of successful kombucha fermentation using raw honey, but most sources recommend cane sugar only.
Traditionally, kombucha is made from black tea, but you can also try green tea to see which you prefer.
You’ll need to purchase your first batch or get a cup from a friend who has recently made homemade kombucha. For future batches, just keep a cup on hand for the next time. Be sure to purchase only organic, unpasteurized kombucha. Pasteurized varieties do not contain the appropriate live cultures you need.
- 1 large glass or metal jar or bowl with a wide opening
- 1 large piece of cloth or a dish towel
- 1 SCOBY disk
- 8 cups of water
- ½ cup organic cane sugar or raw honey
- 4 organic tea bags
- 1 cup of pre-made kombucha
1. Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.
3. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
4. Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel and try to keep the cloth in place by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
5. Allow the kombucha to sit for 7–10 days, depending on the flavour you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a month before bottling with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation for you.