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Why I drink kombucha, even though it took me time to love it

I grew up in the '80s and '90s when Special K commercials were 'pinching inches' and low-fat diets were all the rage. From an early age I was very aware of weight and was interested in knowing the 'right' way to eat to ensure I would be ...

Kombucha is an acquired taste, but for me, the health benefits are worth it

A few months ago I ran out of kombucha, and instead of making a new batch right away, I let life get in the way.

After years of experiencing the positive benefits of fermented foods, my favorite being kombucha, I started to get digestive problems, low energy and a depleted immune system. I don't want to get too graphic, but suffice it to say, I was experiencing extreme digestive upset. Yuck! I needed to get my kombucha back, stat.

Several years ago, a friend introduced me to kombucha. I was in the middle of a very busy time at work and I was coming down with a cold. She said, "Start drinking kombucha, it will help you get over the cold faster." I tried it and found it helped. After that experience, I started to research and experiment with a variety of fermented foods including kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and tempeh.

The first time I tried kombucha, I spit it back out. It tasted slightly vinegary, and there was some weird globular substance floating around it. I later found out this globular substance was part of the mother or SCOBY and was the reason kombucha is nutritious. I did not let this first experience stop me. I frequently eat and drink things just because they are good for me, not because they taste good.

Kombucha has an acquired taste, and over time I grew to like it very much. Before I liked it, I sipped it — slowly and carefully, avoiding that globular slug at all cost. Then one day, I was at work and it was a really busy time, I kind of forgot what I was drinking and I needed to get moving, so I grabbed my kombucha and took a big slug. There it was, the glob was in my mouth. It was either spit this thing out in front of my customers or swallow it. I swallowed it. It was pretty disgusting. Even that experience didn’t keep me from continuing to drink kombucha. I believed in it that much.

There is not a lot of scientific evidence backing up kombucha and its purported health benefits, but there is a lot of scientific evidence supporting eating and drinking fermented food for their healthy probiotics.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has reviewed scientific studies that prove the benefits of both probiotics and prebiotics.

Immune function enhancement has been associated with pathogenic competition. The good bacteria we ingest through fermented foods competes for attachment to the intestinal lining blocking harmful bacteria.

My experience including fermented foods in my diet helps:

  • Keep my digestion regular
  • Prevent digestive upset like heartburn and burping
  • Increase my energy (probably due to the B12 synthesis)
  • Enhance my immunity. The digestive system along with the skin is part of the first line of defense against bacterial and viral infection.

Therefore, I include fermented foods in my daily diet. Kombucha is the fermented food that I find easiest to incorporate into my lifestyle. I make it at home (do this only if you are able to do it safely and with sterilized equipment) or buy a commercial product and sip a few ounces every day. This small daily dose keeps me feeling healthy. If I feel run-down or that my immune system is compromised, I drink a bit more.

What is your favorite fermented food? How do you integrate it into your daily diet?

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