Over the past 6 weeks, I can’t stop drinking kombucha. There’s something about this cooling, sweet vinegary probiotic filled fizzy drink that my body has been really craving. And, actually, it’s probably for all of those delicious reasons. During the Summer months, it’s much easier to become overheated (not just with the weather but also with an over-heated digestive tract). Some people of Pitta nature can struggle in the summer, as the excess heat can exacerbate their already warm constitution. By incorporating more cooling, pitta balancing foods like coconut, cilantro, cardamom, coriander, vinegars and leafy greens, we can help to balance increasing heat in a pitta individual.
Kombucha seems to really hit those areas for me. With a vinegar-like astringency coupled with it’s naturally fermented sweetness and probiotic richness, it not only helps to balance excess heat, it maintains a healthy gut flora by increasing your probiotic intake on a daily basis. Win win.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a naturally fermented tea (usually a high tannin content tea like black tea) that ferments with a “scoby” or starter culture. This scoby is a combination of bacteria and yeast that symbiotically work together to ferment tea + a sugar into kombucha. After fermenting for 14-30 days, the resulting beverage has a natural effervescence and probiotic punch that aids digestion and decreases systemic heat. It can be consumed daily for the probiotic benefits for those with chronic or even occasional digestive upset.
I’ll be the first to admit that kombucha has a pretty funky smell, and after the first taste or two, you may never want to try it a third time. But I would encourage to give it a solid effort and try several different kinds. Most people I’ve talked to didn’t care for kombucha at first, but very quickly came to be obsessed with it not only for it’s (acquired) delicious taste, but for continued digestive support. My personal favorite kombucha is Barefoot Bucha (from Nelson County) and also GT’s which is more widely available.
You can also easily make your own for a fun, at-home medicinal project. When I make kombucha, I like to flavor it with pure fruit juice like pomegranate, cranberry or mango juice. Flavoring to your liking can really enhance the experience, so experiment with several batches until you find just the right combination for your taste buds.
What if you just can’t get on board with Kombucha?
Not to worry. There are plenty of other ways to get the naturally fermented probiotics into your digestive tracts while also benefiting from the cooling astringent properties of fermented foods. Eating things like Kimchi, Sauerkraut, miso, kefir, yogurt and tempeh are all excellent ways to incorporate the same beneficial probiotics into your daily nutrition routine. Summer is the best time to try these cooling foods, and Ellwood Thompsons has lots to choose from!
Read more about fermentation here!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com