1. People at the office are making Kombucha tea. Is it healthy and safe?
Whole Foods magazine predicted the sales of Kombucha tea will hit 500 million dollars by 2015. Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding healthy probiotic bacteria and yeast to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavorings.
After fermenting, the tea is fizzy and has a sweet-tart flavor. It has been consumed by Asian cultures for centuries. In the US, people have been giving friends a starter culture to make their own Kombucha tea for a few decades and you can buy it bottled.
Although there no good human studies on Kombucha, unpasteurized Kombucha is great source of probiotics which have been shown to boost immunity and overall health. However, the unpasteurized tea may also pose a health threat. If the tea was not produced under sanitary conditions, bad bacteria and mold could also grow in the culture.
After drinking contaminated Kombucha, people have experienced nausea, allergic reactions to the molds, and toxicity from heavy metals from home-brewing in ceramic pots. So if you want the healthy probiotics from Kombucha, drink the unpasteurized variety but only if you know it has been safely brewed or is bottled from a reputable company.
2. I am diabetic. Will vinegar lower my blood sugar?
Research at Arizona State University shows vinegar can lower fasting blood sugar 4 to 6 percent and also lower blood sugar after a meal. In addition the vinegar can keep you fuller longer.
The benefit is from the acetic acid in the vinegar. Experts recommend 4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 teaspoons of water before bedtime or after a meal. Be sure to rinse your mouth well after drinking it to avoid tooth decay from the acid.