Probiotics: Gut Health Depends on these Helpful Microorganisms

By: Karen Dybis | February 22, 2019

Photo courtesy of Detroit Kombucha Brewing Company

To many, our digestive system may seem a mystery, but understanding how our bodies process food as well as what food and drink is best is key to a healthy life. That is where the recent foodie obsession with probiotics comes in – some laud these microorganisms as the solution to every gut problem possible.

At its roots, probiotic means “for life,” and these beneficial beasties are already present in our digestive systems. However, they also can be introduced to our diets through a variety of products, such as yogurt or miso paste. But with health gurus such as Gwyneth Paltrow focusing on probiotics, more products are popping up at health-food retailers, grocery chains and even the home cleaning aisle.

While health professionals are still studying their effects, there is a general agreement that probiotics help human bodies digest food, produce vitamins and destroy disease-causing microorganisms. As a result, foods advertising probiotics such as kimchi or sauerkraut, drinks including kefir or kombucha and dietary supplements featuring probiotics are flooding stores shelves as people look to boost their gut health.

Health-focused businesses such as Detroit Kombucha Brewing Company are among those touting the benefits of fermented food and beverages. Co-founder Kelley Davis Lyne started Detroit Kombucha nearly three years ago to promote her handcrafted, small-batch kombucha, also known as “booch,” to its devoted fans.

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“I fell in love with kombucha and its beneficial ingredients,” Lyne admits. “They are the good guys for your stomach.”

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is a balance of sweet and tart elements, Lyne said. The beverage is known for its probiotics and detoxifying organic acids. It also has vitamins and minerals, making it a winner as a spicy, low-sugar beverage for those who are focusing on their well-being, looking for a digestive aid or want to try something new, Lyne said.

Detroit Kombucha comes in a variety of flavors, many offering additional health benefits. For example, the “Cadillac Gold” brew includes cinnamon, clove and ginger, which are known to calm upset stomachs. Another favorite is a blend of hibiscus, lime and mint, which can lower blood pressure, Lyne said.  

“Kombucha promotes gut health, and anything you can do to enhance what’s already in you is good,” Lyne said. “Is it a cure all? No. But it’s a good choice you can make instead of soda.”

To maintain its fermentation, Detroit Kombucha is only available on tap at four locations to date. They are the Roasting Plant in Detroit; Dessert Oasis in Royal Oak; Eli Tea Bar in Birmingham and Drifter in Ferndale (which opens soon). Lyne also offers kombucha brewing classes at Eli Tea Bar to teach others how to make this drink and spread the word about it. FYI: You must be licensed in the state of Michigan to sell kombucha.

As with all health issues, make sure to check with your doctor to ensure any symptoms or health concerns are addressed by a medical professional before starting any dietary changes. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any probiotics for preventing or treating any health problem.