I am not going to get into the nitty gritty of explaining all the dozens of different healthy, gut supporting bacteria that exist in both Kombucha and Kefir Water and how they differ, but I am going to tell you the few must-knows about both of these 'liquids of gold' that holistically balance and harmonise the body. I like to call Kombucha the queen and Kefir-Water her little sister. Why? Because Kefir-Water acts as a general spectrum probiotic, while Kombucha acts as a digestive aid, probiotic, and detoxifier! See the difference? Both beverages however, give you that zing in the morning, are absolutely rehydrating after a sweaty workout, and curve your hunger in between meals. In short, they wake your inner house up!!!! I don't leave my house without a bottle of 1 of them.
Why do I care about ingesting good bacteria?
Good bacteria in the gut ensures the appropriate absorption of vitamins and minerals-a well functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the root of our health – the rest of our body cannot thrive without a well-functioning digestive system. The diverse and multiple functions of gut flora reach far beyond the gut itself- for example, our immune system, and having particular negative microbes in our digestive system can provide us with our own permanent source of toxicity. So no matter what we do, we can’t get better.
KOMBUCHA (kom-bu-cha. kômˈbo͞oCHə)
What is Kombucha? Kombucha originated in what is now Manchuria around 220 BCE, and was traditionally used primarily in that region, Russia, and eastern Europe. It is said to have been imported to Japan in 414 CE by the physician Kombu. Kombucha is made from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast known as 'the mother' or 'scoby', held together by polysaccharides. The base of my kombucha beyond the 'the mother' is: purified water, organic green tea, and organic cane sugar. The beverage colonizes the gut with friendly bacteria and yeasts, detoxifying the liver, and generally cleaning and rejuvenating the digestive system at large. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses kombucha to break stagnation and to move the blood and Qi thus improving circulation and contributing to the general feeling of well-being.
Why is Kombucha good for your health?
- Supports and maintains a healthy Liver by detoxing the body (it is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver).
- Aids Cancer prevention (Very high in Glucaric acid: glucaric acid helps prevent cancer).
- Aids Arthritis and prevention of (contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment all forms of arthritis).
- Aids digestion and gut health (because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast)
- Its Probiotic benefits are (and not limited to): fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.
- Boosts Immune System.
How much Kombucha should I consume? Be your bio-individual guide! People have different opinions on how much one should consume, so I say, start slow and work your way up to a comfortable level. Keeping in mind that Kombucha does indeed have caffeine in it.
KEFIR WATER (/kəˈfir/)
What is Kefir Water? The word Kefir is derived from the Turkish word 'Keif" describing a state of 'feeling good'. There are various speculations of where Kefir originated from, some say from the prickly pear of Mexico and others say kefir water originating in Tibet, when monks gave Mother Teresa of Calcutta the grains as a gift. They were later introduced to Europe (the Ionian Islands) and the west by the British Soldiers after the Crimean War in the 1800's. Kefir Water comes from what the industry calls 'kefir grains' (not to be mistaken with grains such as wheat, barley, rye, rice etc.). Kefir Grains are crystal-like translucent 'grains'- a colony of bacteria and yeast. In addition to the Kefir grains, I use Organic Cane Sugar, filtered water, lemon and some other goodies :). Kefir Water is a low glycemic, caffeine-free mildly zesty fermented beverage that supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains keeping your gut healthy and strong.
How do kefir water grains convert the sugar-water they sit in to kefir? Often people wonder how much sugar is in a batch of Kefir by the time it is ready for bottling. It is approximately equal to 1 green apple. So, how on earth is this done? Kefir grains are an amazing symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeast that work together to feed off the natural sugars found present in the initial sugary water mixture. The yeast and bacteria co-operate, making the nutrients that are inaccessible to one digested into accessible nutrients for the other.Yeasts break down the simple sugars like glucose and fructose, turning them into ethanol and acetic acid. Lactic and acid-producing bacteria (such as lactobacilli) convert sugars (such as sucrose) and complex carbohydrates (starches, etc) into simpler sugars and lactic acid. Lactic and acetic acids naturally preserve as well as stave off harmful foreign bacteria. The result is a drink that has had much of the sugar converted to simpler sugars, lactic and acetic acids, carbon dioxide and ethanol.
Why is kefir good for your health?
- Loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals (Folic acid, B & C vitamins to name a few).
- Supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Some store-bought probiotic foods or supplements can help, but they are not as potent, and do not contain the beneficial yeasts usually (just bacteria).
- Aid in digestion and overall health by replacing toxins in your gut with healthy bacteria
- Anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body.
- May also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
How much Kefir Water should I consume? Kefir Water is a very powerful probiotic, so I advise starting with low doses and working your way up. Most people can probably start at 1 cup per day, and then after a few days try the same amount a few times per day. Your body will most literally guide you to how much you can and should consume.
When is it too much? Because Kefir is such a powerful probiotic it can produce something with in you called a 'die-off' which happens any time you change the makeup of your internal ecosystem, (the new/good bacteria are replacing some bad bacteria, Candida, etc.) Temporary symptoms of 'die-off' include headache, general aches, nausea, diarrhea, etc. (Basically flu-like symptoms) which is especially strong if you have a lot of toxic overload to for the kefir water to work through. If you aren't that toxic, you may not experience this. If you are experiencing symptoms of 'die-off' do yourself a favor and take it easy! Skip a day or simply slow down.
So which Probiotic liquid of gold is better? They are both amazing for you! Some say it is preference. My Kombucha is caffeinated so if you are not into caffeine and want fizzy probiotic goodness, go for Kefir Water!
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Disclaimer: As with many alternative health practices, I do not claim that Kefir Water or Kombucha will heal you! However, they both have a myriad of possible health benefits, and through bio-individuality, both or one of these might be right solution for you. Some find that both Kefir Water and Kombucha help them digest better, others get colds and viruses less often, some get more energy. Its all up to your individuality and to test what works best for you! If you are unsure of whether you should be drinking kombucha or not, you may want to consult your doctor or a health care professional.