Healthy Drinks: 5 Reasons to Enjoy Tepache
You might have heard about tepache recently as the new pineapple-based rival to popular fermented beverages such as kombucha. In this article, we’ll take a look at five compelling reasons for your health to enjoy tepache!
What is Tepache?
Before we dive into all of the awesome health benefits of tepache, let’s take a look at tepache in general. Tepache is a fermented beverage made from pineapple rinds and water and flavored with a wide variety of fruits and spices. This delicious beverage dates back to pre-Columbian Mexico and is a staple in cities and villages alike.
Given that tepache was not adopted and therefore standardized by the Spanish, several variations of the recipe were passed down from generation to generation. For this reason, other than a few base ingredients, you can find different tepache recipes in each region of Mexico that all have their own distinct, delicious flare.
Can I Make It at Home?
If the description of tepache has you craving this tasty tropical beverage, you can make it at home! All you need to make tepache is a pineapple, water, cinnamon and sugar (if you choose), and any other fruits or spices you’d like to add. We like to experiment with lots of different flavors such as orange turmeric, mango chili, and tamarind citrus.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, you just need to follow some simple brewing instructions and then give your tepache a few days to ferment! The fermentation process gives tepache its bubbly texture and slightly sour flavor. That being said, it’s nowhere near as strong as kombucha. The fermentation process also makes tepache slightly alcoholic, but not enough for it to be considered an alcoholic beverage. That being said, tepache does make a delicious base for several tequila cocktails!
Health Benefits of Tepache
Now that you know a bit about tepache in general, let’s take a look at some of the incredible health benefits of this delicious drink.
A Natural Probiotic and Prebiotic
One of the greatest benefits of tepache is that it is both a probiotic and a prebiotic. There is a delicate balance of bacteria in your gut at all times that is sometimes referred to as your “gut flora.” The idea is that there should always be more “good” bacteria in your gut than “bad” bacteria. Bad bacteria are the ones that cause illnesses and other gut problems.
Although there are naturally occurring good bacteria in your gut, it’s important to eat a diet that’s full of other good bacteria to give your gut a boost when it’s trying to fight off bad bacteria. For this reason, it’s a great idea to eat foods with probiotics (also known as good bacteria!), such as tepache.
Aside from being loaded with these healthy probiotics, tepache also has prebiotics which are less talked about but just as important. Given that the bacteria in your gut are technically living organisms, they need fuel just like all other plants and animals. Prebiotics are the primary food source for probiotic bacteria. Oftentimes, prebiotics are dietary fibers that can’t be digested by your body and therefore pass unchanged into your gut, where they serve as fuel for the good bacteria.
Given that you need both probiotics and prebiotics to maintain a healthy diet, it’s a huge bonus if you can find foods, like tepache, which have qualities of both!
Made From Pineapples (a Secret Superfood!)
Another great reason to enjoy tepache is that it is full of all the amazing nutrients and vitamins that pineapple has to offer! Pineapples are incredibly rich in both vitamin C and manganese, two key components of a healthy diet.
One of the main benefits of vitamin C is that it can give your immune system a boost when you’re trying to fight off infection or disease. Vitamin C promotes the production of white blood cells in your body which are the cells involved in protecting your body against foreign invaders.
Alongside promoting the production of white blood cells, vitamin C also helps protect those cells from damage by molecules such as free radicals and helps them to function more effectively. Both of these things allow your body to fight off illness quicker and more efficiently.
Vitamin C also acts as a protector in your body by acting as part of your skin’s defense system. Your body actively transports vitamin C to the skin, where it strengthens the barriers between your skin and the outside world.
Manganese is a trace mineral that your body needs in order for your brain and nervous system to function properly. It also aids in several enzyme systems, including those involved in metabolizing things like cholesterol and carbohydrates.
Another important function of manganese is that it acts as an antioxidant. Other than manganese, tepache is rich in other important antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. What’s more, the antioxidants in pineapple are bound, which basically just means they are sturdier and can last longer than other antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that help your body fight off the effects of oxidative stress. When there are too many free radicals in your body, it enters a state of oxidative stress. This is bad because free radicals harm the cells and can cause inflammation, harmful diseases, and weaken your immune system. For this reason, it’s really important to eat an antioxidant-rich diet.
Tepache is also rich in bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme that performs several impressive functions in the body. Bromelain has been known to help ease the pain, swelling, and stiffness caused by arthritis. Similarly, it has also been shown to help ease the swelling and congestion associated with sinus diseases.
Alongside its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, bromelain is also effective at treating cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and high blood pressure, asthma, and cancer.
Great Soda Substitute
Another reason to enjoy tepache is that it has all the bubble, refreshing qualities of soda without any of the negative effects. The bubbles produced during fermentation give tepache the same satisfying texture as soda. That being said, it’s made from real ingredients and has none of the preservatives and chemicals in soda that make it so unhealthy. Tepache is also only about 40 calories per can, so it’s a great substitute all around!
For these reasons, tepache is a great drink for kids because it gives them the sweet, carbonated flavor of soda and is full of all the nutrients and minerals of tropical fruit—so move over, soda!
Low in Sugar… And Still Delicious!
Tepache is also a great substitute for soda, lemonade, and other popular drinks because it does not contain a lot of sugar. Tepache is normally made with small amounts of turbinado sugar, but for the most part, the sweet flavor naturally comes from the fruits used to make it, such as mango, apples, and oranges.
The list of reasons to incorporate tepache into your diet could go on forever. Aside from being incredibly tasty, this traditional beverage has several impressive health benefits. As both a probiotic and prebiotic, tepache can help your gut maintain the bacterial balance needed for healthy gut functioning. Given that it is low sugar, low calorie, and made from all-natural ingredients, it is a great substitute for other carbonated beverages such as soda.
Maybe the best part? Tepache is easy to make, so you can whip up a batch at home or grab a variety pack to make use of all these impressive health benefits.
Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health | NCBI
Low Calorie Diets and Longer Life | Healthline