Kom ‘what’ cha?!

There has been a lot of talk recently about fermented foods with people becoming increasingly aware of the important role our gut microbes play in maintaining a healthy body and mind. Kombucha is one such fermented food that has become particularly popular.

Technically kombucha is a fermented beverage, fermented tea to be exact. It is made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast) to sugar-sweetened black tea and leaving it at room temperature to ferment for a period of time. Kombucha is not a new thing, people have been brewing kombucha for thousands of years, particularly throughout Eastern Europe and Asia.

The flavour of kombucha can vary from slightly sweet and sour to a potent vinegar flavour depending on the brewing time. Once you get used to the unique flavour, kombucha can be a refreshing drink and a nice substitute for soft drink or alcohol.

Kombucha contains probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria, so aids digestion by balancing out the ‘bad’ bacteria. Kombucha also contains antioxidants, helping to decrease inflammation in the body.


Alcohol content

In Australia, the legal limit for a non-alcoholic beverages is 0.5% alcohol. Therefore, kombucha bought from a store will have less than 0.5% alcohol. From time to time though, batches of kombucha are recalled because they are found to have more than 0.5% alcohol. This is most likely due to the drink not being properly refrigerated after leaving the manufacturing facility, so fermentation continues and alcohol levels rise.

Sugar content

Kombucha is made with sugar; however, this is to feed the bacteria and mostly disappears during the fermentation process. The longer kombucha is fermented, the lower the sugar content will be. In saying this though, producers of kombucha may add fruit juices or herbs to alter the flavour of the final beverage which can increase the final sugar content. This is why it’s important to always read the label. Below is a list of popular kombucha brands and the number of teaspoons of sugar found in 100ml.

Carbohydrate/100ml (g)

Teaspoons of sugar/100ml

Mojo Original

5.5

1.4

Mojo Lemon Citrus

5.0

1.3

Kombucha Max Mixed Berry

2.8

0.7

Remedy Kombucha Hibiscus Kiss

2.4

0.6

Remedy Kombucha Original

2.1

0.5

Kombucha Max Ginger and Pear

2.0

0.5

Lemonade (for comparison)

8.5

2.0

Kombucha is available at most health food shops and many cafes and even supermarkets are taking to stocking up on this product. The prices vary and are from around $3-5 for a 330-500ml bottle.

Remember, just because there is 330-500ml in a bottle, doesn’t mean you need to drink it all at once. Having a smaller amount, spread over 2-3 days, is a great way to keep your sugar intake down but still get the goodness of beneficial bacteria. Diluting your kombucha with water is also a good option.

If you plan on consuming kombucha on a regular basis, why not have a go at making your own! Get a SCOBY from a friend or online, they usually come with instructions.

Have you tried kombucha? I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Team @ Nutrition for Life Healthcare!

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