The brew that's become new health craze
The 2000-year-old fizzy tea with live bacteria is spreading across the UK - what is it and where can you try it?
Having a living concoction growing in a jar on your kitchen counter sounds more like the description of a new horror film than the latest health beverage craze. And with a history stretching back to 200 BC, kombucha is anything but new. But the fizzy fermented tea with an array of eyebrow-lifting health claims attached to it is suddenly starting to attract attention; food bloggers are raving about it and health shops are stocking it.
So what's causing the kombucha commotion?
In an age of attractive, Instagram-friendly feasts, kombucha sticks out like a sore thumb; the sugary tea also includes a live bacteria and yeast culture, similar to a sourdough starter. The drink originates from China, where it has been made for its health benefits for over two millennia.
Kombucha has been praised by the health-conscious, mostly for the abundance of probiotics which emerge in the fermentation process and supposedly work wonders for your gut health.
Recent research has found that having healthy gut bacteria improves our mood and gives us healthier skin, and kombucha could be the key - it's believed to improve digestive health and clean out our guts.
As well as being packed with probiotics, kombucha includes antioxidants, which boost heart and liver health, and may be able to improve your immune system by killing harmful bacteria. Studies have suggested the mixture might help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
It's been credited with curing everything from weight loss to acne, and some even claim it reduces the risk of cancer, but no reputable studies have backed that up yet.
While some are brewing up kombucha at home, it may be easier just to try the stuff before you get bogged down with the DIY option. Start-up LA Brewery (labrewery.co.uk) makes and bottles their own and ships them across the country.