January 15th is National ‘Booch’ Day. You may be asking yourself – what in the world is ‘Booch’?! ‘Booch’ is shorthand for Kombucha, which is a health drink that has been steadily on the rise in recent years. Kombucha is a fizzy sweet-and-sour drink made from black or green tea, yeast, and sugar. Some say that it tastes like a lightly flavored, fizzy apple cider.
A SCOBY— symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast—is added to tea and sugar and set aside for a time. The mix is set aside for a week or more. During that time, bacteria and acids form in the drink, as well as a small amount of alcohol. This process is known as fermentation, and it’s similar to how cabbage is preserved as sauerkraut or kimchi, or how milk is turned into yogurt. The fermentation process produces probiotics.
Because it is fermented, kombucha contains probiotics. Probiotics support a healthy gut, which is critical to overall health. Probiotics can help with digestion, inflammation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research indicates that probiotics even strengthen your immune system because much of it is actually found in the gut.
Kombucha made from green tea may offer many of the same health benefits as green tea itself, such as weight loss and blood sugar control. This is because green tea contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body.
Kombucha is rich in antioxidants, especially when it is made with green tea. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals, reactive molecules that can damage your cells. Antioxidants promote healthy aging, as well as reduce risk of chronic diseases. Regularly consuming foods and drinks with high levels of antioxidants is very beneficial for your health!
‘Booch’ can help kill bacteria. One of the main substances produced during the fermentation of kombucha is acetic acid, which is also abundant in vinegar. Like the polyphenols in tea, acetic acid is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms. Kombucha made from black or green tea appears to have strong antibacterial properties, which antimicrobial effects suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts,
In research studies, kombucha has been shown to improve “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol levels. It may also help protect against heart disease. Also, kombucha can help manage type 2 diabetes. The drink has been known to slow down the digestion of carbs, which reduces blood sugar levels, and may also improve liver and kidney function. In addition, kombucha has the potential to help protect against cancer because in test-tube studies, kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells due to its high concentration of tea polyphenols and antioxidants.
Kombucha has been around for nearly 2,000 years. It was first brewed in China and then spread to Japan and Russia. It became popular in Europe in the early 20th century. Sales in the United States are on the rise because of its reputation as a health and energy drink. Today, sample some gut-healthy kombucha and celebrate National ‘Booch’ Day! Cheers to your health!