This newly mainstream fizzy health drink can make you sparkle.
CULT PRODUCT ALERT | Kombucha is a centuries-old fermented-tea beverage consumed for its presumed health benefits. While there’s no hard scientific evidence that kombucha stimulates the immune system, improves digestion and liver function or boosts physical and mental energy in humans, growing legions of kombucha devotees will tell you otherwise, including such celebrities as Gwyneth Paltrow, who pitches GT’s Raw Organic Kombucha as part of her dietary regimen.
Science aside, all of the glowing testimonials for this fizzy concoction made from tea, sugar and a SCOBY (a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” that looks like a gelatinous pancake) prompted me to give it a shot, though I worried about what it might taste like (fermented products do taste different) and whether it might be harmful (some reports link kombucha with liver damage, toxicity and an abnormal increase of acid levels in body fluids, according to msnbc.com).
Regarding taste, some kombucha brands (and their various flavours) taste more like vinegar than others. At its flavourful best, kombucha has been described as a cross between apple cider and champagne. I was happy to discover a peach-flavoured kombucha by Tonica (a Canadian company) that reminds me of a light, sparkling wine.
While I can’t say for sure whether kombucha has improved my immune system or helped me digest food better (I assume it would help some given that fermented products are flush with enzymes that work in the digestive track), I am definitely more energetic and focused after drinking a half cup of Tonica in the morning and another midafternoon.
You can make your own kombucha (CLICK HERE for a good recipe). Commercial kombucha isn’t cheap: Tonica is $3.69 for 355 ml at Whole Foods—but hey, when you only drink a cup a day like I do, a single bottle will last two days, making it a healthier, cheaper alternative to other energy drinks such as Red Bull. —C. Rule
Find out more about Tonica at www.tonicakombucha.com.
Photos, top: Kathy Patalsky from Happy Healthy Life. Read her blog post on kombucha at kblog.lunchboxbunch.com