MountainStar Health - March 13, 2019

Once found only in specialty health food stores, bottled kombucha drinks have gone mainstream

Though it may be a relatively new item in your grocery stores or neighborhood café, the fermented tea actually originated in China thousands of years ago.

Kombucha is made by adding bacteria strains, yeast and sugar to black or green tea. During the one-to three-week fermentation process, a mushroom-like cloud of bacteria and yeast forms on the surface of the liquid, hence the popular drink’s other name—mushroom tea.

Here’s why this fizzy, funky drink is surging in popularity.

Good for your gut. Kombucha contains millions of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that help your digestive system function well and absorb nutrients.

Rich in antioxidants. Similar to green tea, a super healthy drink, kombucha is teeming with antioxidants like vitamins C, E and beta-carotene that fight free radicals that can damage cells.

A soda substitute. Though much lower in calories and sugar than soda, kombucha can still satisfy cravings for a sweet, sparkling beverage. Flavor options include peach, pineapple, ginger and strawberry.

May ease joint pain. Kombucha contains glucosamine, an amino sugar that has been shown in a few studies to reduce arthritis pain.