If you haven't heard of soda's sexy (and saintly) sister kombucha, now is the time to add the bubbly tonic to your shopping cart. While some still doubt the effectiveness and 'holy grail'-type reputation of the drink that's circulating around the wellness community, downing a bottle of komucha is undoubtedly more beneficial than a soft drink.
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A fermented and flavorful fizzy tea, kombucha is jam-packed with natural tummy-taming probiotics, which are known to ease digestive issues, ward off parasites, restore good bacteria in the body, and can even boost your mood! The drink begins with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), which serves as a starter to grow the healthy bacteria and yeast. While it is possible to brew at home, health food stores and many supermarkets have started carrying the probiotic elixir — making it the perfect on-the-go beverage. Since not all kombucha is created equal, we've compiled a few tips on how to shop for the gut-pleasing super-drink.
Scout Out Safe Packaging
Try to avoid kombucha sold in plastic or flimsy metal, as those materials can leech harmful chemicals into the mix. Look for glass bottles, particularly made of amber or dark glass (which protects the live probiotics from UV-light), which signify high-quality production from start to finish.
Look For Low Sugar Content
Even though kombucha is made with sugar, it's mostly all eaten up by the bacteria during the fermentation process, so little sugar remains. While sugar will always be present in the drink, scan how many grams of sugar on the nutritional label, for a better idea about how much actual sugar you'll be ingesting. If the kombucha has any added sugars, give it a pass.
Navigate Toward Natural Flavors
While you may have great intentions in buying kombucha, some brands are laden with sneaky additives. Dyes, extra yeasts, overly sweetened fruit purees, and synthetic flavors are just a few of the tricky ways a healthy drink can become a naughty indulgence. Look at the ingredient list — the less, the better! Top-notch kombucha is made from the starter culture and organic, whole foods like pure or cold-pressed fruits and veggies.