What’s the difference between Kefir and Kombucha, and what are the health benefits of a second fermentation

Personally, my family drinks both for different reasons. Our beloved water Kefir has been a lifesaver for my infant’s constipation and my toddler’s food aversion. I didn’t ever think my bowel movements (sorry too much information!) would ever be like you see in the “ideal poo” charts and here I am, textbook perfect. I will also add that it has certainly helped keep kilos off during those weak moments in my life.

I give my Kefir grains away so I have the fortune of hearing all the miraculous stories of people who have had far greater successes with Kefir than my family poo ones. A beautiful soul was even able to drop one of her many prescriptions for her severe rheumatoid arthritis!

As for Kombucha (we have the Jun Kombucha – raw honey and green tea) which, flavour wise, kicks butt. However, this has been reserved for myself and friends mostly because of the caffeine and reportedly (possible) higher alcohol content which is still teeny 😉 But recently I had some friends round to do a Kefir / Kombucha tasting and was asked what the differences are. Realising after some stumbling that I couldn’t give a very clued up answer I went on the hunt for answers…

In a nutshell, both have microbes that lead to greater health although Kefir has a richer source of LAB (lactic acid bacteria) meaning it goes further to assist with any gut related issues (leaky gut, IBS, bloat, indigestion, as well as indirect gut related issues; acne, eczema, food intolerances, allergies, depression, anxiety…the list goes on, there’s 77 on my blog “First steps to achieving happiness…

Basically Kombucha helps more with digestion containing up to 7 lactic acids, yeasts and bacteria strains while Kefir is a liquid probiotic containing up to 14 different lactic acids, yeasts and bacteria strains to assist your colony of good bacteria with processing your foods and emotional chemicals like stress, environment etc.

Both are beneficial in aiding natural systems of the body, and both are great for hydration.

Taste vs Health Benefits

Both K’s start as sugar water which eventually gets consumed and converted. The longer the brewing time the less sugar there is but much more organic acids. However, this does mean that Kefir gets blander (most don’t enjoy this taste) and Kombucha starts to taste closer to vinegar the longer it’s left.

During the second fermentation, additional sugars / flavours may be added to improve the taste (fruits, spices etc) and will once again get consumed by the live organisms in the liquid (this happens even quicker when it’s warm). These organisms convert the added ingredients into even more good bacteria, acids and yeasts but this time will draw out the vitamins and minerals from the additions converting the liquid into a health tonic packed full of health benefits for your body to easily and quickly absorb into the bloodstream.

For this reason, the journey between taste and health is a personal one. Some will trade the delicious sweetness of a fresh brew for a week on the bench to enjoy the additional health benefits. Whereas others are better off having yummy flavour to stay motivated. I always say let your taste buds be your guide. Once you’re happy with the flavour, pop it in the fridge, this will slow the whole process down preserving the flavour you liked.

So what are the added ingredients giving me?

Today I am only sharing my go-to ingredients, just to give you an idea of what your body could be getting daily, just by slugging a jar of healthy yummyness. These won’t necessarily give you the soda pop taste of adding fruit but if you’re like me and prefer health benefits over taste, you wanna be giving these a try – most are already used medicinally in most countries.

Saying that I do alternate and drink my delicious Kombucha with dinner now that I know what I know!.

Turmeric

This is truly a spice to sit up and take note of, I haven’t done it justice here but a little search in google will turn up loads. The recommended dosage to feed your body and brain is a minimum of 1/2 tsp a day and must be taken with at least a pinch of black pepper otherwise it won’t be absorbed.

Powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, clears brain fog, improves brain function (proven to prevent Alzheimer’s), lowers risk of heart disease, cancer preventative, arthritis, mood disorders, delay ageing and age related diseases, diabetes, arthritis and much more!

Fresh Ginger

Nothing new here, another medicinal ingredient that tastes sooo good!

Also a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, aids digestion, helps nausea, colds, 2 grams a day significantly reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness for repairing muscles), osteoarthritis symptoms, lowers blood sugars, reduces heart disease risk factors, PMS, lower cholesterol, cancer preventative, also improving brain function and preventing Alzheimer’s, fights infections and more…

Black Pepper

This spice has not been a personal fav of mine but given it helps turmeric absorption I’m slowly becoming a fan.

Relief from respiratory disorders, colds, constipation, indigestion, anaemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, pyorrhoea, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, carminative (removes gas, remove excess water and fat.

Cardamom

A relative of ginger this ingredient is fast being recognised as the new turmeric.

Mouth ulcers, digestive problems, depression, detoxification, halitosis (bad breath), diuretic (cleans out bladder, urinary tract and kidneys removing waste, salt, excess water, toxins and infections), oral health, colds, cancer preventative, blood pressure, blood clots, antioxidant, pathogens, anti-inflammatory, hiccups, aphrodisiac, asthma, nausea

Cinnamon

Besides yummy, it is yet again another powerful medicinal ingredient

Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, cuts risk of heart disease, improves sensitivity to insulin (key hormone regulating metabolism and energy use i.e. weight control), lowers blood sugar, anti-diabetic, benefits on neurodegenerative diseases, protects against cancer, fights bacterial and fungal infections, even shown to help HIV..

It doesn’t cost a lot to make your own healthy fermented drink and in most places people will share their grains or SCOBY’s with you. I am on hand to help anyone who wants to do their own, simply send me a message with your questions and I will gladly assist.

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