There’s a wide world of fermentation that has nothing to do with alcohol. This natural process transforms the taste and consistency of foods—turning water into creamy kefir water and tea into bubbly kombucha.
The microbes involved in fermentation have gut-friendly probiotic effects. Plus fermentation creates beneficial by-products, such as B vitamins. While some people assert that these fermented drinks carry additional benefits, such as improved immunity and even cancer prevention, there’s little evidence in human studies to back these claims. Studies that do show some benefit are preliminary and in animals.
Here are 3 fermented drinks to try:
—Gretel H. Schueller
Kefir is a fermented milk drink rich in calcium. An Ohio State study indicates that drinking kefir may improve lactose digestion in lactose-intolerant people. That’s in part because the bacteria that ferment milk help break down milk’s lactose into more digestible lactic acid and lactate.
Kefir Water is a fruit-and-water mix brewed with a probiotic cocktail of bacteria and yeast called water kefir grain (nothing to do with actual grain).
Kombucha is a sweetened tea, typically black or green tea, fermented with bacteria and yeast. The drink is often flavored with herbs or fruit. A tiny amount of alcohol is sometimes produced during fermentation—less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. However, some kombuchas have been found to contain up to 2 or 3 percent alcohol.