Kombucha for PCOS
Sometimes I just get thoroughly sick of the taste of water. While a lemon and soda is a great option, Kombucha is even better. Not just because of the taste, but also it’s beneficial properties for our gut health.
We have about 100,000 trillion microorganisims) in our gut, and they are finally getting the attention they deserve. Scientific research has now shown that our gut bacteria are responsible for 80% of our immune system and also determine how many calories and carbohydrates we extract from our food.
So fixing gut health is a huge part of reversing PCOS. You can read more about that here
Some of the main causes of an imbalanced gut bacteria are drugs that are prescribed for PCOS, namely antibiotics (for skin), Metformin, and the contraceptive pill.
Antibiotics especially completely wipe out the gut bacteria (good and bad), and what grows back are all the wrong kinds of bacteria. So if you’ve had antibiotics in your life, the chances are that you will need to rebalance your gut bacteria (microbiome) and increase the number of good bacteria and reduce the amount of bad.
Probiotics do just this, they reintroduce good bacteria into the digestive tract. .
You can get probiotics by taking a good quality probiotic supplement, eating fermented food, or both. Fermented foods are some of the most effective and cheapest forms of probiotics and I would encourage you to introduce fermented foods into every meal.
Kombucha is fermented tea and it is delicious! You will need a starter SCOBY (also called a mother or mushroom), but apart from that it’s just tea and sugar. It has got a lot of sugar in it, but don’t be alarmed the yeast eats all this, so there is actually very little sugar int eh final product. If you have insulin resistance, don’t worry, kombucha has actually been shown to reduce blood sugar.
1 Kombucha scoby
2 c Starter kombucha. Sometimes they include with your scoby, or you need to buy a bottle of unpasteurised and unflavoured kombucha
8 tea bags (I prefer green or spearmint due to their anti-inflammatory and anti- androgenic properties)
3 Litres water
1 c Sugar
3L glass jar
1 piece of fabric or tea towel to fit over the opening of the jar and a band to fasten
Six glass bottles with plastic lids or stoppers
1. Make the solution: Boil the water and add the tea bags and sugar stirring until dissolved. The cool to room temperature
2. Add the starter: Once cool, remove the teabags and stir in the starter kombucha. The starter kombucha makes the solution acidic to prevent bad bacteria taking hold in the first few days.
Then transfer to your glass jar (note, the one in this photo is much smaller than you will need!).
3. Add the scoby: Gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. It will probably sink to the bottom, but don’t worry, it will float up tot he surface after a while.
4. Secure: Cover with a cloth and secure with a band or ring. A cloth allows the air in but keeps the bugs and flies out.
5. Ferment: Place in a warm spot, but out of direct sunlight to ferment for 7-10 days (or possibly longer). Keep checking on it to see what it’s doing. Don’t worry if the scoby sinks, floats, or turns on its side (I’ve had them all!). After a few days it will grow a thick layer will grow on the top. This is completely normal and is a new scoby growing. Your original scoby will attach to the bottom of it.
If it looks like this, don’t worry, it’s normal.
It will also start to grow yeast tentacles off the bottom and there might be a layer of brown sludge on the bottom of the jar. These are all completely normal.
6. Taste and bottle : keep tasting your kombucha every day. The taste will change from sweet to sour to vinegar as the sugar content reduces. You want the sugar content to reduce as much as possible so leave as long as possible, while still being able to drink it!
Once it’s ready, siphon off 2 c for your next batch and then pour the rest into the glass bottles. If you are using the plastic stopper bottles, you can leave these to ferment again to increase the carbonation. You will see the bubbles building up inside like this:
You can then store these in the cupboard for future drinking (no need to refrigerate).
1. Double batch it: because it takes so long for the kombucha to brew, I always make sure that I have two brews on the go. Once your scoby has multiplied after the first batch, remove the other scoby and start that in a new jar.
2. Increase your batch size: To make larger amounts of kombucha, just use the ratio 1c sugar: 2 c starter: 3 L water (8 tea bags) and multi[ply that. I use a 8L glass water dispenser to brew mine.
Things to look out for:
Mould spots: If it grows round white spots (mould) then it has become contaminated and you’ll need to throw it away, including the scoby and start again.
Flies: If flies are getting into the solution, then you need to use a more tightly woven cloth.
Scoby becomes black: the scoby is pretty resilient, but if it becomes black, it means it has died. Or if it is growing mould spots then it has become contaminated and needs to be thrown away.
Bad smell: Your kombucha should start off smelling sweet then progress to vinegary. However if it starts to smell cheesy or rotten, there is something very, very wrong. Discard it and start again.
Best of luck! Please let me know how you go with your kombucha in the comments below, or tag me in your photos on Instagram @thepcosnutritionist.