While I was at Paleo f(x) this year I got to try SO MANY amazing new products from vendors in the expo floor. One of those products that I'm highlighting today is LIVE Soda Kombucha.
You've probably heard a lot of buzz about the importance of exposure to good bacteria (also known as probiotics), and LIVE Kombucha is one (delicious) way that you can get your daily dose! Kombucha is a fizzy fermented tea which humans have been enjoying for at least 2000 years as a health food. The problem is, though, that unflavored kombucha can be an acquired taste that many unfortunately never acquire! The brilliant thing about LIVE soda kombucha is that it has all the health benefits of a raw, organic kombucha with the delicious flavor of some classic sodas like root beer, cola, and orange cream soda!
But first, let me tell you so more about kombucha. It is alive. Yes, thanks to the beneficial bacteria and yeast (which have a cute nickname from their acronym, SCOBY, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) kombucha is a living food. That's why it is important to ensure that your kombucha is raw, just like LIVE is, and not pasteurized.
This review article from 2013 found that kombucha has a number of scientifically-backed health benefits, some of which I bet you didn't know about:
- Antioxidant activity that is 100 times higher than vitamin C and 25 times higher than vitamin E. There is also evidence that it can potentiate the antioxidant and detoxification properties of your body's own master antioxidant, glutathione.
- Promotes gastrointestinal tract (GI) health. It has been shown to aid digestion and also to help prevent damage to the mucosal lining of the GI tract as well as promote healing of existing ulcerations.
- Helps prevent weight gain.
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels and may help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
- May help protect the kidneys from damage due to things like environmental pollutants.
- May help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
- Can help regulate blood lipid levels (cholesterol).
- Can lower blood pressure (hypertension).
- Improves absorption of iron and may prevent anemia.
- Prevents medication-induced liver toxicity and can help the liver process alcohol.
- Can help with headaches, nervousness, and depression.
- Can reduce the severity of symptoms of asthma.
- Can relieve arthritic joint pain.
- Demonstrates some anti-cancer properties.
- Shows antibacterial properties against H. pylori, Salmonella, Staph, and more.
It's important to note that many of the studies cited by the review were conducted in animal models or in vitro, so it will be exciting to see what further research in humans shows! And remember, it's important to consult your health care practitioner if you'd like to address any health concerns like those listed above. But, isn't it so neat to see that a foodstuff like kombucha has the potential to do so many things to promote health and wellness??
As I mentioned earlier, plain kombucha can be a real drag to drink. It's got a strong flavor that can be too bitter and acidic for some people. That's why I am so grateful for the genius flavors that LIVE has created. Seriously, who can resist drinking kombucha that tastes like Dr. Pepper?
They achieve these incredible flavors thanks to using extracts from things like cherry and cloves (for a taste that will remind you of Dr. Pepper), orange and vanilla (for orange cream soda), and sassafras (for root beer). These flavors make up less than 1% of the product, and you'll see these listed on the ingredient label as "natural flavors", which is actually how the USDA mandates the labeling. According to the USDA:
"Natural Flavor: …the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolystate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf of similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
You can be assured that LIVE only uses things you could generally find in your pantry in their kombucha and they get the flavors from spices, extracts, and essential oils. They use the "natural flavors" language to comply with the USDA rules.
I've found immense pleasure in cracking open a bottle of LIVE soda while lounging by the pool on sweltering hot summer days here in Florida. I am transported back to the carefree days of my youth when I drank commercial sodas like it was no big deal. It's so amazing to know that I am doing my body a big favor by drinking these amazingly delicious sodas today that fit right in with my Paleo lifestyle.
Ready to try some yourself? LIVE sodas are super duper easy to find near you. While they are handcrafted in Austin, TX, you can find them in Target stores throughout the country. Use their locator tool to find the nearest place you can pick some up!