Fermented beverages such as kombucha and kefir have a long history of being enjoyed by people worldwide. The starter cultures used a SCOBY for kombucha and a kefir grain for kefir consist of a diverse range of bacteria that produce an abundance of polyphenols, antibiotic properties, probiotics, vitamins, and enzymes. These compounds positively change the gut microbiota and support a healthy gastrointestinal tract. This paper looked at the micro-organisms present in kombucha and kefir and how they differ and then highlighted their nutritional roles. They found that the micro-organisms most present in kombucha were acetic acid and yeast. In kefir the most dominant micro-organisms were lactic acid and yeast. Both beverages contained probiotics and polyphenols which have been hypothesised to help prevent high blood pressure and protect the heart from plaque build-up. Both beverages also contained compounds that are protective for the immune system. The compounds found in these beverages may also have anti-cancer properties and protect the body from microbial attacks. The authors concluded that ongoing research on these beverages is warranted as preliminary research shows great potential in their ability to restore human health.
Beverage fermentation is an ancient ritual that has been practised for millennia. It was slowly disappearing from households and communities due to the advancement of manufacturing technology and the marketing of soft drinks until the recent revival of the beverage fermentation culture due to an increase in the demand for health drinks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kombucha and kefir are two well-known fermented beverages that are renowned for their range of health benefits. The starter materials for making these beverages contain micro-organisms that act like microscopic factories producing beneficial nutrients that have antimicrobial and anticancer effects. The materials modulate the gut microbiota and promote positive effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Due to wide variations in the substrates and types of micro-organisms involved in the production of both kombucha and kefir, this paper compiles a compendium of the micro-organisms present and highlights their nutritional roles.
Article Publication Date: 19/05/2023