St. Mark's Hospital - March 07, 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.