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Kombucha, the “immortal health elixir”

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The Kombucha trend is on the rise now. The recent superfood boom has put the Kombucha market up by 41%, just last 2016, and is projected to reach $4.46 billion by 2024.

What is Kombucha and why is it a must-have drink today? Kombucha is a fermented ancient Chinese sweet tea, more specifically black or green tea with the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (S.C.O.B.Y.). Kombucha is sometimes also called the mushroom tea due to the yeast culture (S.C.O.B.Y.) which is forming on top of the fermented tea as shown below.

Regardless of its unattractive “mushroom,” why is Kombucha in such great demand today? The fermentation process of Kombucha takes about 7 to 12 days, in which the good bacteria called “probiotics” are formed in the tea. The main benefit of probiotics is that they line the gut; probiotics train the good bacteria in human gut to fight the harmful ones in the immune system. This process is paramount because the human digestive tract holds 80% of body’s immune system. After fermentation, Kombucha is carbonated with sugar and vinegar, in which 20% of daily Vitamin B is also created.

Kombucha’s glutamic acids also prevent the spread of cancer cell. It is also known President Ronald Reagan also drank Kombucha since 1987 to halt his fatal colon cancer from spreading further. On top of its physical benefits, Kombucha also enhances one’s mental health. “The brain is not always the cause of mental illness, … low levels of inflammatory process in the body underlie depression, anxiety,” states Dr. Leslie Korn, a mental health expert from Harvard School of Public Health. She also adds, “wherever there is mental distress, there is digestive distress.” Once again, whatever affects your gut, affects your brain.

However, if Kombucha were the ultimate “health elixir” as a lot of its lovers call it, there should be no cancer or any other sicknesses. How come this is not a prominent remedy? Now, what are some red flags in drinking Komucha? To begin wtih, an overdose of anything good is detrimental to one’s body. Drinking too much Kombucha may create lactic acidosis, which lowers pH level in the body due to its acidity. This may inflate muscles, as well as lowering metabolism. In addition, an improper fermentation of Kombucha may also result in toxic yeast-infection. Those who are allergic to molds can have allergic reaction when drinking invisible mold-infected Kombucha.

So how much is desired for the body? Scientists and doctors recommend no more than 12oz (around 450ml) a day for a healthy person. For those who have a weak immune system, and sensitive to change in the body, drinking as little as 4oz a day is recommended.

Along with its fizziness and “health” benefits, many soda-lovers have switched to Kombucha for their daily soft drink. Some restaurants across the country even offer healthy Kombucha wine, and Kombucha infused sangria and cocktails for day-drinking menu. Kombucha tastes good, and is healthy. Yet remember: drinking too much may lead to adverse health effects — it still is a detoxifier after all.

SeoYeon (Soy) Choi

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