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What the Heck is Kombucha? (It Is Actually Good For You?)

Kombucha is So Hot Right Now but What is Kombucha?

By: Good Looking Kangaroo (w/ Good Looking Loser)

This article will examine whether you are cool or a loser for drinking Kombucha.

You should take our conclusion VERY seriously.

It might be the difference between you having lifestyle of five star dinners, elite women and bricks of gold and cocaine vs. a lifestyle of frozen pizza, low-class hookers and barely-carbonated 2-day old warm soda that sits by your computer.

Maybe, maybe not.

I first ran into Kombucha tea when I moved to Los Angeles in 2008 and lived at BradP's Pickup Mansion. I had 2 roommates that literally lived off the stuff as part of a committed vegan diet. They would stock up about 10-12 4-packs of Kombucha Tea from Whole Foods (probably at some ridiculous price) and literally wouldn't eat solid food (that's not exactly what you are supposed do if you drink this stuff). They didn't seem to have any more energy or immunity to common colds as all of us got sick about 2 times that year.

I dismissed the stuff as hippie-socialist propaganda and continued to drink my Muscle Milk and Poppy Seed Tea

kombucha_tea_bottlesIf you taste you taste buds, you might want to avoid the far right one...

Back in February of this year I felt a cold [MAYBE] coming on and a "that vegan" girl bought me a bottle of Kombucha. I opened it in the car and it exploded all over both of us.

What the hell?

This stuff is carbonated?

Trying to make sure all the liquid didn't keep spewing from the top and all over the seats, I quickly stuck it in my mouth and tried to swallow a mouthful of it.

Within seconds, I spit it all over the dashboard.

What the hell?

This stuff is the grossest tasting shit I've ever had.

And I've tasted a lot of heinous stuff.

Eventually, over a 40 minute period, I ended up getting the bottle down.

It tasted no better by the end.

Granted I got the 'MULTI-GREEN' drink which is probably way worse than the rest of the "flavors".

Long story short, I felt back to normal in an hour. No runny nose, no scratchy throat.

I didn't feel like I was getting sick anymore.

It was literally the first time that I ACTUALLY STOPPED a incoming cold.

Or at least it seemed that way.

The "mega-dose Vitamin C" thing never worked, Echinacea never did shit and pouring hydrogen peroxide in my ear felt cool but didn't help.

This disgusting, rancid, bitter, liquid-vinegar-diarrhea cocktail known as Kombucha seemed like this did.

No joke. I barely got it down too.

I probably only drank 75% of it- the rest is in the carpet of my car. I swear it knocked out my cold (... or prevented it before it started).

The whole thing got me curious, so I sent Good Looking Kangeroo to figure out what the real deal on Kombucha is.

He, like me, is highly-skeptical of dietary supplements and the claims that hippies make.

By the way- I'm exaggerating how bad it tasted, it doesn't taste good though.

The unexpected carbonation and big gulp was a lousy way to get acquainted to it.

Here is what the Kangaroo found-

WHAT IS KOMBUCHA? 

scoby for kombuchaKombucha Tea is actually made of Scoby Mold, not a mushroom like everyone says.

Kombucha tea is a fermented health drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. The drink is brewed by adding bacteria and yeast to a sugar◊ and tea liquid base. This mix is then left to ferment into the Kombucha Tea.

The yeast and bacteria colony is often confused for a mushroom, however is technically called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) – see picture. The SCOBY often also called “the mother” is what ferments the liquid tea.  The result is a liquid that is naturally high in antioxidants, rich in B group vitamins, active enzymes, amino acids and polyphenols.

Naturally brewed Kombucha tea is quite sour and bitter, mostly likely due to the vinegar content, however there are now commercial Kombucha flavored drinks which are much more palatable. See Kombucha has been around for many years, in fact it was traditionally brewed and consumed in China, Russia and Germany. More recently, it has grown in popularity in the health food scene particularly in developed countries such as the US, UK and Australia.

◊ The majority of commercial ready-to-drink Kombucha drinks don't have much sugar.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT DO?

Kombucha tea has been suggested to have a long list of health benefits when consumed regularly.

Such suggested health benefits include-

  • Immune boosting properties
  • Cancer preventing properties
  • Improved digestion
  • Improve liver function
  • Improved vitality

There are also many testimonials out there from Kombucha tea lovers who have reported improvements in the following illness/conditions.

These include-

  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Blood cholesterol, especially LDL, the "bad" cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Blood pressure
  • Eczema
  • Anxiety

Scientist - Vector Character IllustrationHowever, as a Good Looking Kangaroo/Scientist I must be honest and point out that there is no scientific evidence to support these health claims.

That’s not to say these claims are hippie lies, it’s just that very little research has actually been done on this drink.

I was able to find some research on the Kombucha tea which does support its use as a strong antioxidant and immune boosting supplement. As previously mentioned, Kombucha tea is naturally rich in antioxidants and a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that Kombucha tea had potent antioxidant and immunopotentiating activities.

Kombucha tea is sort of like a health elixir due to its nutrient make up. It’s the sort of drink, that can be consumed freely throughout the day, knowing that it’s providing your body with a cocktail of great nutrients. Home brewed Kombucha tea is the gold standard, as some commercially brewed Kombucha teas can be high in added sugars or flavorings to mask the tart vinegar taste.

 

Look for these in your local natural grocery store, if you want to try Kombucha.Look for these in your local natural grocery store, if you want to try Kombucha.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

You can expect a drink that is LOADED with healthful compounds that you probably only get small amounts of from your solid food diet.

No magic. Although it's been far less studied, it's like green tea, a healthful beverage.

Some people claim miracles from green tea but for the majority- it's just a super healthy part of their lifestyle.

Kombucha contains multiple species of both yeast and bacteria. When brewed it naturally produces organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols. Kombucha typically contains the following components:

  • Probiotics – promote healthy intestinal flora
  • Polyphenol’s – antioxidant properties
  • Vitamin C – important for tissue health and immune function
  • Organic Enzymes – including lactase and invertase which help to breakdown lactose the sugar found in milk and sucrose
  • Amino Acids – including leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine. All essential amino acids.
  • Minerals – including chromium, potassium, sulphur, iron and phosphorous
  • Acetic Acid – This is what gives the Kombucha its vinegar taste
  • Butyric Acid – This is a short chain fatty acid (a.k.a - healthy fat) often found in butter and milk
  • B-Vitamins – Important for energy production
  • Ethanol – alcohol, yes Kombucha is alcoholic, however only slightly and not enough to get you a DUI.
  • Gluconic Acid – a naturally occurring acid found in fruit that helps to break down sugar
  • Lactic Acid – a natural antibacterial
  • Malic Acid – This is what gives the Kombucha its tart/citrus taste 

ingredients in kombucha teaYou can homebrew Kombucha tea.. If you're one of those "types" haha.

ARE THERE CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES?

Given the average cost of a cup of home brewed Kombucha tea is approximately 50 cents, you will most likely struggle to find a comparable alternative probiotic and nutrient dense tea and or a cheaper alternative. You don't even have to homebrew it- there are high-quality, super inexpensive Kombucha/Green Tea available from Yogi Tea that are less than 24 cents a cup.

A combination of a probiotic supplement, a multivitamin and mineral supplement will be less than buying a lot of the bottles of the ready-to-drink Kombucha though.

Although not quite the same thing, Barlean's Chocolate Silk, is the most amazing supplement (and best tasting supplement) ever.

It also contains a fair amount of the compounds (as well as a significant amount of probiotics) that you would get in Kombucha. I will be profiling the supplement in-depth later, but I feel that is the ONLY supplement that EVERYONE NEEDS. You can get 5 servings of better-tasting, higher-quality organic vegetables in 20 seconds than you probably get in 2 or 3 days unless you make the daily effort to prepare organic vegetables at every meal.

When it comes down to it- it was likely the probiotics in a quick digesting liquid formula that may have prevented my cold from starting. I'm sure that the ready-to-drink Kombucha teas are high-quality but if you can get ingredients and compounds in the tea from elsewhere- you'll basically have the same thing.

Next time I do get sick, however, I'm going to slam 4 or 5 of these drinks a day (if I can stomach it).

If it goes away in a 24-36 hour period, then I'll be totally convinced.

We'll see what happens.

I don't see Kombucha tea as a dietary supplement, it's food (well, a beverage) that is no doubt good for you.

The ingredients are good for you, so it's good for you. No magic involved. But no reason to try and exclusively try to live off the stuff.

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Comments (5)

  1. Di

what a coincidence

I felt my throat a bit sore last week plus had runny nose, thought I was gonna get sick... stuff is fukin disgusting even heavily diluted but I took a cup of apple cider vinegar (non-refrigerated) and the symptoms were gone...

what a coincidence

I felt my throat a bit sore last week plus had runny nose, thought I was gonna get sick... stuff is fukin disgusting even heavily diluted but I took a cup of apple cider vinegar (non-refrigerated) and the symptoms were gone almost instantly... seriously. Told my sister to do it and she had the same experience.

Got the idea from this site, funny thing is that kombucha is also recommended lol:
http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/2012/10/03/how-to-naturally-cure-a-sore-throat-in-one-day/

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Di

My thoughts exactly. I'd recommended it as the "cure for the common cold" if I had more experience w/ it.. but its definitely promising

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  1. Justin Munoz

The importance of probiotics has become very apparent as of late. Experts working with them have been referring to the stomach as the caldron of health and suggest it's optimal function can only be achieved with the proper amount and strains of...

The importance of probiotics has become very apparent as of late. Experts working with them have been referring to the stomach as the caldron of health and suggest it's optimal function can only be achieved with the proper amount and strains of probiotics in the gut. Optimizing your gut health is a choice that is very high leverage. Think of consuming probiotics as good soldiers going into your body and kicking the fuck out of the bad ones, then shitting them out and all of the b.s. they have brought along with them. Lol. I'm looking to maximize my gut health with Garden of Life probiotics. They have a channel on youtube and seem to know the best way to make maximize the bio availability of there supplements. This video features Bruce from Garden of Life describing the functions of probiotics, with an emphasis on there necessity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu45wiEG_8E . Another thing. Chris, I don't know if you have researched or used adaptogenic herbs or not, but i have come to find some of them very effective. Especially holy basil and cordiceps. They will boost your immune system and greatly improve your endurance in the gym. They literally will double your cardio or weight lifting conditioning capability because they are able to modulate your immune system and put it where it needs to be depending on your physical circumstances because they help your body adapt to physical stress. I notice there efficacy most if I sleep say 5 hours instead of 7 1/2 and go work out. My mind still feels tired and my face is a bit sluggish but my body feels like it got enough rest. It's weird, you would have to try them for your self to know exactly what I mean. But I highly recommend them. I never thought an herb could be so powerful. Oh! And another thing, Dave Asprey's website http://www.thebulletproofexec.com has some fucking awesome info and products. Definitely self improvement oriented. Not sure if you knew about these things, but you drop a shit load of knowledge so I figured I would give some back regardless. I'm a tall and good looking fellow and have a decent base to apply your principals. I don't get nearly as many dates or chicks as many think I should. My issues lie mainly in my mental state. I'm a great guitar player, an impressive kickboxer, I have a good sized cock, I look like I'm in the marines, I'm pretty fit but a little on the skinny side. Like 6'1 170 and I do think that is hindering my women attracting potential. Kickboxing workouts usually don't lend well to putting on muscle so I rarely lift weights, especially low reps. My ego tells me who cares if you are skinny, I know I'm a bad ass and can beat the shit out of the jail tatooed thug guy who walks around the gym trying to display this alpha male quality he believes he possesses. If they wanna go at it straight kickboxing rules that is. I would be pretty confident in that situation.Can you provide me with a good weight lifting routine because fuck it I wanna put on 5-10 lbs of muscle. I'm saying fuck it pretty much, I will do it, I have to set my ego aside and do it to look more attractive. So I have a lot of talents and a lot going for me. But I freeze up with chicks man. I have no problem being able to strike up a conversation with a dude, but it's just a different ball game with girls. It's hard for me to be flirtacious and playful with out being a scum bag.lol.And I keep waiting for them to talk to me and engage because I do get checked out quite often, but I'm starting to realize that just isn't gonna happen. Going back to mental state, I kind of have ugly duckling syndrome, I didn't bloom until after high school, I have a history of hard drug use and injuries at a young age. So I kind of have this thought pattern imbedded in me that says when you are at the top of your game, something out of your control is going to put you at the bottom of it. Like me breaking my arm three times as a youngster and always being referred to as the gimp or the kid with one arm bigger than the other. I got bullied a lot to because of my size. But I have been face to face with some of my former foes/bullies and told them I won't hesitate to inflict pain on them if they wanna treat me like the old justin and they recognize they physical changes I have made and pursue no conflict. But the whole drug aspect I was eluding to relates to me having used lots of meth in highschool and as a a result have most likely developed permanent bi polar tendencies(Negative thinking, No Good Outcome, I fear the possibility of awkward moments with women so I get worried to much about what I will say) that don't exactly lend to being a rico suave, because girls don't like a weirdo. But I am a strong believer in a person's ability to rewire there own brain and thought patterns to work in a way that is more beneficial for them and just living a more fulfilling life in general. So I am working towards that as systematically as possible, but am kind of new to the technology like NLP, brainwave technology, meditation, brain hacking etc...What is your take on my situation? I know you have many videos and articles on this site that can help me, and I have watched several of them. Do what you want, Nice Girls Vs Mean girls, Approach Anxiety etc. But I'm a bit of procrastinator and haven't applied anything really out in the real world which is a shame and something I have to squash. I know I need to think less and act more. But dammit! Lol..I want to bang a lot of hot chicks my whole life, and never be held down by some dumb cunt, find a job that I love, and just do the stuff that I love to do. But the hot women MUST be a HUGE piece of the pie in my fate and destiny. If you have any comments or suggestions on my own unique situation I would value and appreciate your opinion. Hope you are safe from this fire that started in Camarillo, I know you are in the LA area. I work over here at a htoel in Camarillo so we are right at the mouth of the dragon.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Justin Munoz

yeah man.. I'm sold!

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[...] You may remember me talking about acetic acid when we discussed Kombucha Tea. [...]

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