What Is Kombucha SCOBY and How Does It Benefit Your Health?

0
141
Kombucha Scoby

Mankind has been using food as a natural healthcare solution and preventative measure since the dawn of time. Good for more than simply filling our bellies, proper nutrition is vital to the overall quality and longevity of our lives. As such, people from all over the world make and consuming kombucha SCOBY and have done it for hundreds of years.

Modern-day science is just now catching up with the healing power of nutrition. Recent studies have finally justified the advantageous nature of certain foods and food combinations, with more discoveries being made every day. However, it seems to have always been known that kombucha SCOBY and other fermented beverages are good for our health. 

What Is Fermentation?

Put simply, fermentation is a chemical process through which carbohydrates are completely broken down into a natural form of alcohol or organic acid by direct bacteria exposure. If done correctly, the fermentation of certain foods can make them more palatable and digestible, especially for human beings. Furthermore, properly executed fermentation involves exposing oneself to beneficial bacteria cultures such as lactobacillus, enterococcus, bifidobacterial, and bacteroides.

The earliest known use of fermented food was recorded back in 6000 BC. In the Fertile Crescent where civilization took root, fermented fruits, vegetables and grains began gaining popularity in every city market that sprang up along the way. Since then, every single culture on the planet has used fermentation in one form or another – usually for either nourishment or recreation (and sometimes for both). 

More recently, nutritionists discovered the power of ingesting fermented foods and began sharing the news with the world. According to prestigious health and wellness sources such as the USDA, WebMD, and Mercola, the list of benefits associated with consuming fermented foods and beverages is surprisingly long. Even more surprising is just how easy it is to incorporate fermentation into your everyday diet.

The famous American-born physician, Dr. Max Gerson, knew much about the power of fermentation and eating properly balanced diet that includes fermented foods. He developed a specialized diet back in the 1800s known as the Gerson Therapy and its guidelines are still respected today. His dietary strategies were designed specifically to combat cancer-causing cells, balance body hormones, promote better gut health, and prevent certain life-threatening diseases. Albeit proven effective, this rigorous diet plan is often difficult to follow.

Fortunately, there are alternative diet plans and food choices that can give you the same basic effects without upsetting your entire lifestyle. One such food, kombucha SCOBY, is an ancient recipe that offers numerous health benefits and can either be purchased online or made from scratch at home. This article will explore the many advantages of consuming kombucha SCOBY before providing an easy at-home method of production. However, before proceeding, be sure you speak with your doctor about any possible allergies and dietary restrictions.

What Is Kombucha SCOBY?

Defined as a wide variety of fermented beverages with a slightly effervescent quality, kombucha is made from a type of black or green tea prior to being lightly sweetened with sugar or other natural flavors. Considered a “functional drink,” kombucha’s is widely known as the coral reef of the bacteria and yeast universe. Production of kombucha involves fermenting the tea leaves using a process known as “Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast.”

That process, often reduced to its familiar acronym, “SCOBY,” is the very process that gives kombucha its many health benefits. Scientifically speaking, a SCOBY is the living environment for yeast and its supporting bacteria family. That same SCOBY is also what transforms the otherwise sweet tea into a fizzy kombucha. The end result is a tasty kombucha SCOBY beverage that not only presents as delicious but also promotes better bodily functions in several ways.

NOTE: The appearance of a properly made kombucha SCOBY isn’t very attractive at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not healthy. The finished product resembles a flesh-colored jelly or custard and remains intact even when it’s picked up whole.

How Does Fermentation of Kombucha Work?

The creation of a good kombucha SCOBY is not as difficult as it may seem. A SCOBY is simply an ingredient that’s used in the fermentation and production process. The safe and effective chemical procedure of fermentation uses common carbohydrates like starch and sugar, turning the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY into acid or alcohol. Thick, rubbery and cloudy, this critical mass is the key component to the finished product.

The use of a SCOBY to create delicious or advantageous beverages is not a new idea either. Even today, symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast are used to make well-known drinks during private and commercial production. Just look at any kefir, loaf of sourdough bread or bottle of ginger beer and you will see how a properly harnessed SCOBY can revolutionize the market. Such popular products may utilize high-tech production methods, but they still require a similar fermentation process that’s been used since ancient times.  

Once a food or beverage has been successfully fermented, it is either consumed immediately or stored for later use. Because of the effervescent quality of fermented kombucha tea, it’s usually recommended that you drink it or bottle it as soon as production is complete. Review the recipe at the bottom of this article for more information.

What Are the Health Benefits of Kombucha SCOBY?

Kombucha has long been a favorite beverage of mankind simply because of its unique flavor, but it’s valuable for more than just that. And while the appearance of a SCOBY can vary widely, the overall benefits to a person’s health are the same across the board. Sold in many modern-day grocery stores and offered through countless online merchants, delicious kombucha SCOBY is mostly sought-after because of its evidence-based ability to provide the following 6 health benefits:

  1. Kombucha provides all the same advantages to a person’s wellbeing as green tea, including but not limited to:
    • Immune system strengthening
    • Blood pressure lowering
    • Inflammation reduction
    • Digestive tract balancing
  2. Kombucha contains dense amounts of antioxidants which may aid in anti-aging.
  3. Kombucha can kill harmful gut bacteria instantly.
  4. It may help protect against certain types of cancer as well.
  5. Kombucha can drastically reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease too.
  6. Plus, kombucha is an edible product known for helping people manage Type 2 Diabetes.

Additionally, the simple act of fermenting the kombucha tea with a good SCOBY can increase the concentration of probiotics in the food or beverage used. Probiotics are a type of helpful bacteria in the stomach and intestines. Numerous studies have made a direct correlation between probiotic consumption and reduced cholesterol levels, boosted immunities and enhanced weight loss abilities. Therefore, probiotic-rich kombucha SCOBY will provide some of the same health benefits as foods such other delicious foods such as pickles, kimchi and yogurt.

A Quick and Easy Recipe for Homemade Kombucha SCOBY

This well-known ancient product may sound like a complicated science experiment, but it’s actually quite simple. For example, did you know that you can make your own kombucha SCOBY by simply using a few ingredients you probably have at home? As it turns out, growing your own SCOBY is easy. Here is a quick method to get you started:

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Raw, unflavored kombucha
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of black or green tea
  • 1-2 tablespoons (14-28 grams) of sugar
  • 8oz. glass jar
  • Coffee filter
  • Rubber band
  • Patience

TECHNIQUE :

  • Brew the tea in a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat for about 45-60 minutes or until the water is very dark (black tea) or opaque (green tea).
  • Set the tea aside and allow it to cool.
  • In the glass jar, combine the kombucha with the cooled tea.
  • Cover tightly using a coffee filter. Secure filter with rubber band.
  • Place the covered jar in a warm place that stays between 70-80°F (20–30°C).
  • Allow the mixture to ferment for 25-30 days or until a SCOBY begins to form.

A kombucha SCOBY may have several unique properties take make it extremely beneficial, but it’s also a practical creation that can be used numerous times. Once your new SCOBY grows to about ¼-inch (2/3- cm) thick, it can be used to brew a completely new batch of kombucha (as long as you have enough green/black tea and sugar of course).

Either way, you can always buy a kombucha SCOBY through a trusted supplier if waiting 30+ days for one to naturally form isn’t in the cards. However, making your own SCOBY means brewing your own kombucha, and that gives you constant access to a probiotic-rich treat that’s both delicious and refreshing.

The Top 13 Most Important Kombucha SCOBY Usage Tips, Tricks and Precautions

Although the creation and/or consumption of kombucha and kombucha SCOBY is considered generally safe and advantageous to the average person’s health and wellbeing, there are still a few things that everyone should know before using it. As always, consult with your doctor before consuming this product whether it’s been made at home or obtained from a different source. This is an especially important step if you’re unsure how kombucha SCOBY will affect you.

In the meantime, check out the following tips, tricks and precautions regarding kombucha, kombucha SCOBY and the production/consumption thereof:

  1. The appearance of a SCOBY formation can differ quite a bit from batch to batch. However, it’s usually round, rubbery and opaque in some way.
  2. Your SCOBY may vary in size and shape with every attempt.
  3. A properly produced kombucha SCOBY formation will have a mild, vinegar-like smell.
  4. Good kombucha is made by adding a pre-formed SCOBY into a pre-sweetened green or black tea brew. Letting it ferment in a warm place for at least 2-4 weeks for best results.
  5. The general taste of a properly executed product is fizzy, tangy and sweet. The specific flavor created is based on various factors, including but not always limited to the following:
    • How long it’s allowed to ferment
    • The type of tea that is brewed
    • The addition of other ingredients such as fruit, herbs and/or juice
  6. If you smell a strong cheese-like odor or see mold forming, it’s a good indication that the SCOBY needs to be discarded due to decay.
  7. Note that your SCOBY will continue to grow after you make kombucha, meaning it can be divided and either shared or used to make a separate batch.
  8. When a SCOBY is properly handled, the risk of contamination is relatively low.
  9. Be sure to discard any unwanted or unused SCOBY immediately and wash your hands with warm soap and water after each handling.
  10. Always purchase an organic SCOBY and only from a reputable dealer to decrease your risk of pesticide exposure and to ensure the quality of the product.
  11. Remember that homemade kombucha may contain up to 3% alcohol. Do not consume kombucha or a kombucha SCOBY if you’re pregnant or nursing without a doctor’s prior approval.
  12. Kombucha brew by itself may be kept in a cool place such as your refrigerator, but it’s recommended that a SCOBY be kept in a warm environment to encourage rapid growth and proper development.
  13. As always, the safer option is to buy kombucha and/or a kombucha SCOBY at a store or online. Commercial products are delicious and typically alcohol-free, with most of them containing less then .5% alcohol.

If you learn, appreciate and adhere to the tips and tricks provided above, your experience with kombucha and that subsequent kombucha SCOBY will be a pleasant and satisfying one. However, if you or a loved one experience any unusual side effects after consuming kombucha see a doctor as soon as possible. Remember, results and reactions vary from person to person, and kombucha isn’t typically recommended for children or people taking certain medications.

When Is the Best Time to Consume Kombucha?

Contemporary science has recently discovered that consuming certain foods and/or beverages at specific times of day can have a drastic and positive affect on some people’s health. As such, there’s an optimal time to drink kombucha tea.

For most people, kombucha should be enjoyed in the morning with a light yet well-balanced breakfast. Because of the strong effect kombucha has on the human digestive tract, it’s important to start with small doses and work your way up. If, after about a week of regular consumption, you do not experience any side effects like irregular bowel movements, cramping or diarrhea, consumption may be increased slowly.

Furthermore, the positive side effects of high-quality kombucha are enhanced when another serving is enjoyed right after the day’s main meal. Whether that be lunch or dinner, a half glass of kombucha can naturally boost the metabolism and encourage better digestion. As a general rule, test your body to see how much intake it can withstand, as too much late-night kombucha can make it hard to sleep.

Kombucha SCOBY: A Brief Overview

Kombucha is a highly potent and beneficial beverage made with organic green or black tea, with its SCOBY being one of the best natural byproducts that a health-conscious person can make or use.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article about Kombucha SCOBY, you may also like to read Exploring the Benefits of Taking Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C.