I love kombucha so hard. A few years ago, I even brewed my own at home, and it was so darn awesome to always have bottles of your own kombucha at home, just waiting for you in the fridge. I know from personal experience that besides me just enjoying the taste of ‘bucha, I always feel better after I drink it. Like, if I’m having a day where I don’t feel so hot or am totally stressed, I almost crave it. And, seriously, it must be like my body knows WHAT IS UP because kombucha does, in fact, have some health-boosting and stress-relieving properties!
There’s a new book out — The Big Book of Kombucha — and it’s the guide on making and customizing this awesome fermented tea at home. Written by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory (fun fact: Hannah and her company Kombucha Kamp helped me with my first foray into brewing at home), it has everything you need to know to brew your own ‘bucha at home, plus tons of recipes (including cocktails) and facts on why this superfood drink is so darn, well, super. If you’ve been thinking of trying to make kombucha at home, pick it up, stat, guys.
Today, we have an excerpt from the book, too, on how kombucha actually relieves stress. And, yes, stress relief never sipped so good …
Top 5 Ways Kombucha Relieves Stress
The stress response is one of the body’s most valuable defense mechanisms. When our body perceives a threat, a snap decision must be made — fight or flight.
Adrenaline and cortisol are released to increase heart rate, sharpen the senses, and prepare muscles for quick action. This is exactly what we need when surviving in the wild.
The modern human, however, confronts multiple stressors — almost always non-life-threatening — on a daily basis, and this overactivation of the stress response has proven detrimental to our health, creating a host of adverse effects on the body.
While many medications and treatments can alleviate the symptoms of chronic overstimulation of the stress response, they don’t tend to address the source of the problem, which is that modern humans are stressed out to the max. There are solutions: making time for exercise, getting enough sleep, enjoying the company of good friends, communing with nature, taking time to unplug from the doom-and-gloom news and electronic media. Adding kombucha to the mix can help, too! Here are five ways kombucha relieves stress.
1. Kombucha is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a plant or plant-based derivative (fermented tea in this case) that normalizes and balances the body, benefiting the entire physiology rather than a specific organ or system. Adaptogens are generally very good sources of antioxidants, which eliminate free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
They also provide liver protection, reduce cravings for sugar and alcohol, and boost immunity, energy, and stamina.
2. Kombucha supports healthy digestion. Kombucha regulates the digestive system by increasing the acidity of the gut. Gut acidity is crucial for easing digestion and absorbing nutrients from food. Stress often manifests in the gut as irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers, both of which are aided by improved digestion and acidity.
3. Kombucha contains B vitamins and vitamin C. Kombucha contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B6, and B12, all of which are known to help the body fight depression, stabilize mood, and improve concentration. It also contains vitamin C, which suppresses the release of cortisol (one of the stress hormones). Higher levels of cortisol in the blood contribute to hypertension, depression, and impaired mental clarity.
Moreover, while these vitamins are found in kombucha in trace amounts, they are bioavailable — that is, they are in a form that the body has evolved to assimilate instantly. In contrast, oftentimes the vitamins in supplements are not easily assimilated by the body; they lack the cofactors or enzymes found in whole foods that are needed to catalyze the absorption process.
4. Drinking kombucha can reduce caffeine and sugar intake. Choosing kombucha over coffee as your morning eye-opener means less caffeine in your system. And the L-theanine in tea counteracts the harmful effects of caffeine, providing focused, calm energy.
5. Low amounts of alcohol have a beneficial effect on the body. Kombucha is not an alcoholic ferment like beer or wine, but it does contain trace amounts of alcohol. These naturally occurring low levels of alcohol increase feelings of well-being and decrease stress. Numerous studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol has many positive benefits.
Excerpted from The Big Book of Kombucha (c) Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.
A huge thanks to Hannah and Alex for letting us share these awesome facts about our beloved ‘bucha. Have you tried kombucha? What do you love best about it? I’m not sure I could trade my morning cup of coffee for it, but I definitely love it as an afternoon pick-me-up! —Jenn