Kombucha may seem like a recent fad, but this effervescent, fermented tea originated as far back as 220 B.C., when the Qin Dynasty dubbed it “The Tea of Immortality.” And its health benefits have endured to today. ”

Made from a SCOBY (see “What’s a SCOBY?”), sugar, tea and water, kombucha contains live probiotics, B vitamins and natural acids that detoxify and improve the efficiency of your digestive system, which in turn can bolster immunity and combat chronic inflammation. “Study after study has shown that fermentation makes essential vitamins and minerals easier for your body to absorb, and we need good bacteria to thrive,” says Hannah Crum, coauthor of The Big Book of Kombucha (Storey, 2016). “Kombucha helps get healthy live organisms into the body and into your gut that you can easily utilize.”

Crum explains that the sour and bitter flavors of kombucha also aid digestion. How? Research has shown that although bitter foods or drinks are often perceived as unpleasant, the interaction between the bitter in foods and our bitter taste receptors stimulates gastric acid production in the stomach. This primes the stomach for the food it’s about to encounter.

The longer you drink kombucha, the more benefits you receive, says Crum. “I had a physiological reaction the first time—it stimulated my nerve endings,” she shares. “I used to have cold hands and feet, but not anymore. And my digestion and circulation improved, too.”

What’s a SCOBY? It’s an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. A SCOBY is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha. A SCOBY looks like a small, flat jellyfish.

Try These Kombucha Flavors

GT’s Enlightened Synergy Organic and Raw Kombucha – Gingerberry

This USDA Organic antioxidant powerhouse stars blueberry and ginger juice, combined with GT’s organic scoby. Host to 4 billion CFUs of live probiotics per bottle and 20 percent of the daily recommended value for five B vitamins.

Per 8 ounces: 35 calories | 4g sugar | 10mg sodium

KeVita Master Brew Kombucha – Ginger

Spicy and energizing, this blend is stevia-sweetened, with a big pop of ginger. Get a gentle kick from 80 mg of caffeine, about 25 percent less than a cup of coffee. Certified organic and non-GMO, one bottle contains 4 billion CFUs of probiotics and a healthy dose of B vitamins.

Per 8 ounces: 35 calories | 8g sugar | 20mg sodium

Simple Truth Kombucha – Blueberry Grape

Fermented over four months per batch, this blend may remind you of drinking a healthy grape soda. One billion CFUs of probiotics are added to each organic-certified bottle.

Per 8 ounces: 40 calories | 8g sugar | 0mg sodium