Written by: Tinna Huynh, Florida State University Dietetic Student
Precepted by: Afaf Qasem, MS, RDN, LDN, Community Wellness Dietitian at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
Reviewed & Edited by: Candi Boucher, MS, RDN, CSO and Caroline Winer, BS, Dietetic Intern at Florida State University
Not just an ordinary tea, kombucha is a beverage that is rich in probiotics and other nutrients that can benefit everyday life. This age-old fermented tea has been popular for centuries in many different cultures.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that is commonly used for its many health benefits. Since it is fermented, kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol. However, in the U.S., commercially available kombucha sold contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume and is therefore considered non-alcoholic. But, how is it made?
The SCOBY: A colony of microbes
A SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is a rubbery disc made up of living organisms. This disc covers the surface of the brewing liquid to seal off air to allow fermentation of the drink to make kombucha. The SCOBY is responsible for turning a sweet tea beverage into a lightly carbonated beverage with health benefits.
Benefits and Nutrition of Kombucha
This carbonated beverage contains many wonderful nutrients that support our body in a variety of ways. Some of these benefits may include:
- Antioxidants to help decrease inflammation and boost your immune system.
- Probiotics that provide your gut with healthy bacteria. These bacteria can improve digestion, decrease inflammation, promote a healthy weight and decrease risk of some diseases.
- Contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Nutritious, low calorie alternative to sodas. One cup of kombucha contains only 60 calories with 14 grams of carbohydrates.
What does it taste like?
This fermented tea has a fizzy, slightly sweet, tangy and tart flavor similar to sparkling apple cider. It can be found in a variety of flavors to try in most grocery stores.
While kombucha fits into the soda or carbonated drink category, it’s healthy and low in sugar and calories! However, since Kombucha contains live active cultures, it is important that you consult with your doctor on whether or not this is the right beverage for you, especially if you are you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a compromised immune system.