Emily Van Eck
Kombucha for Gut Health
Updated: May 1
Kombucha is a miraculous beverage. Being a firm believer in stearing clear of "health food" trends, I was skeptical at first of this funky beverage. How wrong I was.
Fresh guava kombucha
Like many in my field, I became interested in studying nutrition seriously when I started experiencing intestinal troubles some years ago. I went full on into probiotic supplementation. I tried several types, refrigerated and not, and did experience some relief. I'd stick with one or two types rotating between them for a couple years, then I'd stop. The results weren't clear enough to warrant the money I was spending.
Then the kombucha craze hit. I loved the stuff. It simply made me feel good, all bubbly and vinegary. I'd fork it out for the $5 bottle a couple times a week, but kept hearing about how easy it was to make. My brother-in-law, Gardy, had an extra, thriving s.c.o.b.y. (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) from his own home-brew habit. He was happy to share. And now, so am I.
WOAH. I didn't anticipate the homemade version would do so much good for my digestion. Must be the freshness. It isn't bottled or processed in any way. I saw fast and noticeable benefits from drinking just a small glass (about 8 oz) a day. These clear benefits inspired me to share my experience and knowledge of gut health and fermented foods - at to encourage you to consider getting your hands on a s.c.o.b.y., especially if you struggle with anything digestive related. Kombucha has also been noted to help with seasonal allergies, fatigue, headaches, and even help protect against developing cancer and diabetes.
More and more research comes out all the time finding direct links between a healthy gut and lower risk of many types of disease - IBS, IBD, anxiety, depression, even many types of caner. It is specifically the “probiotic” effects of fermented foods that aids in health by actively modifying the bacteria in the intestinal tract. The microbiome is the entirety of the beneficial and not-so-beneficial bacteria in the body. Probiotics help increase the quantity of “good bacteria” in the gut by producing lactic acid bacteria. The healthy bacteria from fermented foods also helps digest nutrients, making them easier for our bodies to absorb. Fermented foods help decrease the acidity of the stomach, making a less hospitable environment for harmful bacteria, and aid in immunity by improving the protective mucosal barrier of the GI tract. So drink up, folks. Here's an article I wrote on the topic for the Behavioral Health Nutrition student blog.
How To Make Your Own Kombucha:
All you need is about 10 minutes once every other week, some black or green tea bags, sugar, water, a big jar or two, a cloth, and a rubber band - and the s.c.o.b.y. I've heard there are lots of companies out there that will sell you one and send it in the mail. But if I were you, I'd just put a post on Facebook asking the world for a s.c.o.b.y. Someone should come through. Then in a couple months, you can donate your extra one to a friend in need.
I follow these instructions from the oh-so-wonderful TheKitchn blog. They put it so well, but in short:
1. Make sweet tea
2. Let cool
3. Pour into jar with s.c.o.b.y.
4. Cover and let sit 7-14 days
5. Remove s.c.o.b.y. and bottle
6. Make new batch of sweet tea - return to step 1 for 2nd batch
6. Carbonate & add flavor
Please comment below - I'd love to hear your favorite flavors! Or perhaps how kombucha has helped your digestion :)