Does the summer heat make you feel like the little kid with the straw on the head who loses all their energy to the sun? (IYKYK) My younger self would take this as a sign to make myself another glass of a cold beverage that, let’s be real, was straight-up sugar. My older self, fortunately, understands the concept of hydrating the healthy way—case in point: refreshing fermented drinks that not only taste good but are also great for your gut and immune system. Fermented drinks contain good bacteria and are categorised as ‘functional foods’ that offer health benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. Here are 5 such drinks from around the world that you can make at home right away:
Said to have originated in China more than 2,000 years ago, Kombucha was known as ‘the tea of immortality’. It is a fermented and sweetened black or green tea made using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The drink is lightly effervescent and helps digestion, detox and boosts energy. It’s also said to help you lose weight, control high blood pressure, prevent liver damage and even cancer. Kombucha usually has a slightly sour taste and a yellow-orange colour. You can also infuse your kombucha with different flavours using various fruits.
2. Tepache De Piña
Tepache is a Mexican fermented drink made using pineapple peels and rind. It is sweetened with unrefined cane sugar or brown sugar, seasoned with spices like cinnamon and left to ferment for several days. The result is a very mildly alcoholic fermented drink that is refreshing and great for gut health. In Mexico, tepache de piña is a popular chilled drink sold by street vendors in plastic bags with a straw.
3. Beet Kvass
A traditional probiotic drink popular in Eastern Europe, Kvass is a sweet-salty and very earthy tasting beverage which is essentially an infusion of beets, salt and water. Power-packed with vitamins and minerals, it has great blood purifying benefits and is thought of as a gut tonic and digestive aid.
4. Water Kefir
Water kefir is a naturally fizzy fermented beverage made using water (or coconut water), sugar and water kefir grains which contain lactic acid, bacteria, and yeasts. Traditionally, kefir is made from fermented milk but water kefir is a great dairy-free, vegan alternative. Similar to kombucha, it promotes healthy gut bacteria.
5. Ginger Beer
Ginger beer is a fizzy, sweet-spicy, non-alcoholic beverage produced using the ginger bug which is a wild-yeast culture made from sugar and ginger. It has a more prominent ginger flavour than ginger ale and is a great thirst quencher on a hot summer day. Fermented ginger beer also has health benefits like easing an upset stomach, anti-inflammation and cleansing the body of toxins.
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