Kombucha has a golden reputation, but do you know its true health benefits?
We know you have questions:
- What is Kombucha?
- How is it made?
- Does it really have health benefits?
We have the answers on Kombucha!
- What is Kombucha and How is it Made?
- Kombucha Health Benefits
- Where to Buy Kombucha
- Why Buy From Us?
- Top 10 Kombucha Benefits
- Kombucha Benefits
- Disclaimer: These statements regarding Kombucha benefits have not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice or attention of heath-care professionals; this information is for educational purposes only. Kombucha Tea is not intended diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and nothing here should be taken as a claim of specific Kombucha benefits for any person. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice. Full disclaimer here.———————————————
- Kombucha Benefits Research?
- Health Benefits of Kombucha – Anecdotal
- Kombucha Benefits – Scientific
- Kombucha SCOBYs:The Golden Rules
- 6 Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha
- What Is Kombucha?
- How Does Kombucha Help Gut Health?
- How Will Kombucha Fit In My Diet?
- What’s The Difference Between Pasteurized And Unpasteurized Kombucha?
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Kombucha?
- How to Make Kombucha
- Kombucha Precautions
- Final Thoughts
- How do you make kombucha?
- Is kombucha a good source of probiotics?
- Is kombucha high in antioxidants?
- Does kombucha contain vitamins and minerals?
- Can kombucha help with weight loss and improve gut health?
- Are there side effects of drinking kombucha?
- More health benefits guides…
- Enjoyed this? Now try…
- What do we know?
- Limited evidence
- Lack of regulation
- Eight potential benefits of kombucha
- Top 8 Benefits
- Nutrition Facts
- How to Make It
- Risks and Side Effects
- Why is Kombucha Considered So Healthy?
- What is Kombucha Tea?
What is Kombucha and How is it Made?
Kombucha is a fermented drink based on a combination of tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. “Fermented” means it’s been allowed to culture over time to generate certain health benefits, like probiotics.
Kombucha a beverage that’s literally made up of healthy yeast and bacteria. Through fermentation, tea, and sugar, Kombucha is created.
The next question is obvious: What does Kombucha taste like?
Kombucha has a taste that is somewhat similar to fruit juice, and many people sing its delicious praises, especially with its interesting flavor options, such as raspberry lime.
This fizzy, fermented tea is partly sweet and partly tart, but the overall taste does matter on the flavor you purchase, as well as the company that makes it.
Kombucha can take seven to 30 days to make because it takes time to brew. Of course, you can also buy it at Drug Emporium for a lower price than anywhere else, including Wal-Mart, and drink it at your convenience.
Kombucha Health Benefits
A healthy diet and active lifestyle are still essential ingredients when it comes to your health. Kombucha tea won’t cancel out a poor diet or unhealthy habits, but it can provide health benefits to aid your goal for healthier living.
According to Healthline, Kombucha may reduce the risk of heart disease, help manage type 2 diabetes, help to protect against cancer, and can kill harmful bacteria.
That’s because it’s said to have the same health benefits as tea and similar benefits to probiotic supplements, such as promoting a healthy immune system and preventing constipation. Plus, it contains antioxidants.
As WebMD states, antioxidants fight the process that is oxidation. Antioxidants fight free radicals (which are created as you process food, sunlight, and toxins like smoke and pollution) by stopping them before they form or break them down so they don’t cause harm.
Kombucha made from green tea may offer some of the same health benefits as green tea. For clarification, Healthline points out that green tea can help to reduce belly fat, improve cholesterol levels, and help with blood sugar.
It’s important to note that Kombucha benefits differ from person to person depending on your physical health and your body’s chemical makeup.
While we did say it can’t outweigh a bad diet, Kombucha clearly should wear a cape when it comes to aiding a balanced diet.
Where to Buy Kombucha
How can you get your hands on this wonder drink?
Well, Vitamins Plus inside Drug Emporium is one of many stores that sell Kombucha in Longview, Texas and our other store locations, and we have Kombucha priced lower than anyone else. In addition, you can do the rest of your healthy living shopping in our stores while you’re in to get your Kombucha.
We ensure a personal touch you won’t find at other grocery stores, health food stores, or pharmacies that sacrifice customer service for convenience. On top of Kombucha beverages, you’ll find vitamins, nutritional and pre-workout supplements, exercise-fueling snacks, organic consumable products, special dietary health foods, and so much more.
While more people are starting to make Kombucha in their homes, it’s important to purchase this product from a reputable company for contamination purposes, as over-fermented Kombucha can cause health problems.
Commercial Kombucha products contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol, whereas a homemade batch could contain more, which can offset Kombucha’s health benefits, or even create unwanted side effects or problems.
We do encourage you to purchase Kombucha from a store for health reasons and also because store-bought Kombucha is simply made properly and tastes delicious.
Find a flavor you enjoy at your local Drug Emporium location and bask in the benefits of Kombucha.
FIND A LOCATION
Why Buy From Us?
Does kombucha benefit cancer patients?
Just a note, lot’s of people have been talking about kombucha and how it can help with cancer. Though Dave has never said that it cured, or even treated, his mother’s cancer; he does say it helped her during chemotherapy of the cancer cells. You can read her more here.
Both Dave and his mother have been a huge inspiration for me in my quest!
Are the kombucha tea benefits just hype?
However, for every ten drinkers reporting how amazing this stuff is, there are one or two that say there is no scientific evidence and that it’s Bologna. As a kombucha company, it would be great to claim 101 health benefits of kombucha mushroom and kombucha tea without any research. However ethically we didn’t think that was appropriate, plus so many other places are just putting up everything and the kitchen sink when it comes to the benefits of organic kombucha.
We thought we’d do something special here. Below you will find 3 sections that are all dedicated to sharing my kombucha health benefits list in the most transparent way possible.
1. My personal benefits drinking kombucha tea and using kombucha products
The first is my personal experience with the benefits of drinking kombucha. It discusses how I first discovered it, my initial experiences with kombucha, and any associated benefits I continue to have by brewing and drinking kombucha. I feel very comfortable speaking about this because it is my personal experience and personal opinion, so I know it is true for me.
2. Top 10 real raw organic kombucha benefits list
The second is a survey on our customers and their observations with kombucha. Once we began providing kombucha cultures and brewers, within weeks we received unsolicited testimonies. That encouraged us to send out a survey to document other personal experiences. We feel it is doing a service to other kombucha drinkers or for those who are about to begin drinking kombucha to discover what other drinkers are reporting as benefits. This does not mean that you will have the same or different results, but it is a wonderful way to gauge the reported effects of this drink. Before, the alternative was just unscientific claims by some people who don’t even drink kombucha!
3. How does kombucha benefit the body?
The final third section will discuss the general opinion of how kombucha is able to benefit so many different ailments. And why different drinkers enjoy different affects.
My Personal Story
A long time ago, I discovered the wonder of Kombucha while enjoying some lunch with a wonderful friend in a vegan restaurant and I was hooked. The taste was nothing I had ever experienced before. As soon as I drank it, I felt it go down into my stomach (kind of like drinking iced cold water on an empty stomach on a hot summer’s day). My friend was explaining to me that it was a mushroom drink (which we know from class one that it’s not), and all the associated benefits. I thought it was all mumbo jumbo, but I didn’t care this stuff tasted AMAZING! plus it had about 1/5 the calories of soda but it still had that fizzy carbonation of a soda. The meal was done and about an hour passed by and that’s when I realized it. I didn’t have any acid reflux! This was nuts considering I have been on acid reflux medicine for years (Prilosec, Protonic, Acifex, you name I’ve taken it and paid up to $166 bucks a month for it). Not only that, I also realized that I went to the bathroom about ten minutes after the meal. I also didn’t have that “Just eaten let me sleep now like it’s Thanksgiving” feeling.
In a word, I felt clean. That’s the only way I can describe it. I thought it was a fluke, so I bought a few more bottles over the next couple of days, and every time (with exception to the 2 apple pies I got at a famous fast food restaurant, nothing can save you from that), I felt CLEAN. However, I was a little turned off by the price of Kombucha at our local markets (some places charged up to 5 Bucks a Bottle!) and decided to enter the wonderful world of brewing my own kombucha tea with a kombucha culture. After brewing hundreds of batches, and thousands of tea bags, do you know what I discovered? Well do you? I am a computer typed message, so I can wait if you are still in thought. I discovered that brewing Kombucha IS EASY and FUN! That’s right, if you can bake a cake, you can brew kombucha. Not a made-from-scratch, super epic “grandma’s fomous cake”, I’m talking about the pour & mix variety. I also began sharing the drink with my friends and family. Soon, friends all around were stopping by just to say hi as an excuse to get a glass of my drink to get the same kombucha health benefits. Well as the saying goes:
Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish, he will eat everyday, and the rest is history.
We’ll teach you how to fish in the next session. The reason I drink kombucha tea is because I reap the many of the kombucha benefits outlined as follows:
- Kombucha Tastes Amazing. With 1/5th the calories and sugar of soda why wouldn’t you try it?
- Kombucha Cured My Acid Reflux. I have not bought any acid reflux pharmaceuticals in over 5 years!
- Kombucha Makes Me Feel Really Really Good. Simply put, drinking kombucha tea makes me feel clean. I digest my food better, it gives me a little boost, both in my mind and body and it helps me poop and pee (yep I said it). It also really comes in handy after a heavy night of eating and drinking.
Top 10 Kombucha Benefits
Everyone wants to know… what are some benefits of drinking kombucha? I know for myself it was pretty apparent that it was helping my digestion and acid reflux, but the interesting thing was that several other kombucha drinkers were experiencing different kombucha health benefits. There was a trend, but I wanted to know exactly what these were and what were the most common benefits amongst REAL kombucha tea drinkers. For me it is more important talking to other kombucha drinkers than just relying on what a dude in a lab coat analyzed from a petri dish (not knocking labs or lab coats for that matter as science is really cool to back up your hunches and lab coats are damn sexy if accessorized correctly.. what?)
Well, rather then wait till a big drug company in the US was ready to fork over millions of bucks to research this stuff (ahem, by now you guys know that you can make kombucha at home for like pennies a serving so don’t think the drug companies will be having too much interest in funding a study on kombucha health benefits for a looooooong time), I decided to simply ask our customers and readers of our Kombucha newsletter. The original survey was back in 2006 (5 years ago!), we have since updated the survey for 2011 and we continue to ask and survey our subscribers!!
Together we are compiling the biggest REAL experiences on the internet. We will be doing another round of surveys soon, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be included. NOTE: Some people may experience some, all, or none of these and some kombucha drinkers have reported some slight kombucha side effects. Stay tuned for a kombucha video discussing both the Kombucha Health Benefits and Kombucha Side Effects and what you can do if you do happen to experience a kombucha side effect… here’s a hint; drink MORE WATER… I’ve done the research! Also, sorry guys, the list got a little hard to maintain in terms of percentages as time went on so they are not in any particular order, however all have been reported in high enough numbers to be substantial… I am going to look into using a simple facebook survey on our facebook Page so that it will keep count of everything… be sure to join our facebook page to get access to the always updating Kombucha Benefits Information!)
Reported by GetKombucha’s 9,300+ Kombucha Subscribers in Bold. I then add my two cents and a dime to why this might happen… again this is my insight of my research and personally drinking, making, and teaching kombucha tea for over 5 years.
1. Kombucha Improves Your Digestion.
Kombucha is a probiotic which contributes to healthy digestive flora in your gut that can help break down foods and absorb the good stuff, while evacuating the bad stuff easier. Kombucha also is a alkalize forming food when ingested. Kombucha also contains sever beneficial organic acids that have been attributed to better digestion. (side note, if you want a double does of digestion… trying making chai kombucha! With chai kombucha benefits from both the gentle digestive herbs like carodmom and ginger, but with an upgraded delivery method thanks to kombucha!) Here is a great source regarding probiotics from http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/probiotics-topic-overview
Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines camera. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt with live cultures, is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements.
Disclaimer: These statements regarding Kombucha benefits have not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice or attention of heath-care professionals; this information is for educational purposes only. Kombucha Tea is not intended diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and nothing here should be taken as a claim of specific Kombucha benefits for any person. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice. Full disclaimer here.
The 3 Vinegar Tasters
Whether it’s been around since 220 BC or only for a few hundred years, Kombucha benefits are the main reason people try this funky brew for the first time. They hear from a friend or relative that Kombucha helped with something like stomach problems for example. So they grab a bottle from the store or find a SCOBY to try a homebrew. But what are these reported Kombucha benefits? And are these health benefits of Kombucha the same for everyone?
Most websites say that all the support for Kombucha benefits is anecdotal. And it’s true that for hundreds of years, that’s how people passed around their health traditions. As a result, popular nicknames for Kombucha in many different languages reflect this folklore of Kombucha health benefits: “Tea of Immortality”, “Elixir of Long Life”, “Magic Juice” just to name a few.
These names are exaggerations of course. As we say, Kombucha is not panacea. It will not solve all your health problems overnight or by itself. But many people have incorporated it into otherwise healthy routines and find it’s been a great addition to their lives. So maybe you will find you love it too!
Kombucha Benefits Research?
But is there no scientific backing for any Kombucha benefits? While it is true that large scale human trials are lacking, there were hundreds of scientific studies done on Kombucha in the 20th century. These early studies outline the many potential health benefits of Kombucha for all kinds of patients, including those suffering from arthritis, gout, and many other ailments. Mostly this research was conducted in Germany and Russia from 1920-1950.
Because Kombucha has become a best seller in the American beverage market, and now overseas as well, a second “research boom” is in progress all around the world. Hundreds more studies on various Kombucha benefits have been published in the last 15+ years and more are sure to come.
From The Big Book of Kombucha (Crum & LaGory, Storey Publishing, 2016), p. 364:
Researchers around the world have conducted studies using either kombucha or SCOBYs, testing them for a variety of components and properties, but a couple of recent papers have synthesized the modern research in very helpful ways.
In the survey paper “Current Evidence on Physiological Activity and Expected Health Effects of Kombucha Fermented Beverage” (Journal of Medicinal Food, 2014) (), Ilmāra Vīna and colleagues at the Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology in Latvia concluded that kombucha tea has the “four main potencies necessary for numerous biological activities: a detoxifying property, protection against free-radical damage, energizing capabilities and promotion of immunity.”
Additionally, “A Review on Kombucha Tea — Microbiology, Composition, Fermentation, Beneficial Effects, Toxicity, and Tea Fungus,” authored by leading kombucha researchers Rasu Jayabalan, Radomir V. Malbaša, and others (Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2014) (link), shows the extent to which recent research has begun to establish the connection between the anecdotes and the science. As more research is conducted, we anticipate that the anecdotal evidence that has been mounting for centuries, if not millennia, will continue to be supported by additional studies.
Hopefully some of those new studies will include ones completed by American universities and other Western institutions, which could then unlock more money for those human trials after all!
Already you can find Kombucha tea and cultures used as ingredients in medical treatments and beauty products in Russia, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Ireland, the United States.
Health Benefits of Kombucha – Anecdotal
However, Kombucha Tea is JUST A FOOD – a naturally carbonated, healthy tonic enjoyed by those who brew and consume it regularly, often throughout the day in small doses. People are usually very loyal to their daily Kombucha consumption, and consider the drink healthy for a number of reasons.
Here are the ones we hear most from our clients and on social media. Remember, these are just opinions from people who drink Kombucha all the time, not scientists. These are the benefits people say the can FEEL rather than scientifically prove. You may experience some, all, or none of these effects from consuming Kombucha.
Top Anecdotal Reasons People Drink Kombucha
- A great substitute for sugary sodas, juices, or multiple trips to the coffee pot
- Acts as a snack or pre-meal hunger control
- Better digestion, more regular pee and poo
- Eliminates acid reflux reactions
- Clearer skin
- Maintains Hair Color
- Less arthritis pain and more flexibility
- Get sick less often, better immunity
- Relieve headaches, migraines, and hangovers
- Smooth energy from low levels of caffeine in the tea
- Reduced stress – theanine
- Just plain feeling better and happier!
However, Kombucha is NOT a panacea – it doesn’t cure ANYTHING! It may help the body bring itself back into balance naturally. That is how it is able to do so much – because it’s really just your body working with nutrition, like any other food. Even though some think of it as a medicinal tonic, it’s really just a delicious and healthy beverage choice and one of many fermented food options. We love it because it’s easy to drink at any time of day and takes to flavoring and many other uses so well. Plus, making Kombucha is just fun! 🙂
Kombucha Benefits VIDEO:
How Much Kombucha to Drink?
with Hannah Crum the Kombucha Mamma
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Kombucha Benefits – Scientific
Now that we have the anecdotal out of the way, is it really true that there are no anecdotal Kombucha benefits that science can confirm? A brief review of the research done in the 21st century shows many promising potential benefits from consuming Kombucha that line up well with the anecdotal reports. As mentioned above, none of these are FDA approved statements or based on double-blind human trials, we are simply referencing a variety of scientific studies carried out around the world:
Does This Mean Kombucha is Proven Medicine?
No. Simply put, Kombucha is an all natural, healthy beverage, but the Kombucha benefits you experience may vary. There are more and more scientific studies beginning all the time and we may never understand everything about how food works with our bodies. We never expect the full blown, double-blind Western medicine-style trials required for FDA approved medical claims to be completed on Kombucha because it cannot be patented. Each person must simply remember: Trust Your Gut. People have been consuming Kombucha for generations because they believe it works for them. The continued spread of Kombucha can only be attributed to the safe consumption of a delicious beverage that inspires people to believe they are receiving benefits.
Kombucha Benefits VIDEO:
Is It Possible To Drink Too Much Kombucha?
with Hannah Crum the Kombucha Mamma
The Golden Rules
No SCOBYs in the Fridge!
- …use a refrigerator stored SCOBY to make Kombucha.
- …use a dehydrated SCOBY to make Kombucha.
- …attempt to grow a SCOBY from a commercial bottle of Kombucha that:
- has been pasteurized
- has been flavored
- has been filtered or reformulated
- says anything less than “100% Kombucha” on the label
- …use a fresh, full-size Kombucha SCOBY to begin brewing.
- …store your SCOBYs in a SCOBY Hotel in a dry and dark place.
- …pass along healthy, fresh SCOBYs with at least 1-2 cups of mature Kombucha Tea and complete, clear instructions to ensure success. If you cannot, recommend a reputable source instead.
Get A Kombucha Culture Today & Start Brewing
What’s the deal with Bacteria?
Aren’t they bad for us?
The fact of the matter is that while in the 19th century we were in dire need of sanitary practices, the negative attitude towards ALL bacteria has spiraled out of control. Bacteria outnumber our human cells 9 to 1! With all the hand sanitizers and constant antibiotic prescriptions, we have created a worse problem than we have realized. The bacterial cells tell our human cells what to do, how to behave, how to replicate. We NEED bacteria.
When you have an over population of “bad” bacteria – sugar loving bacteria – they send signals to your brain that you need to consume MORE sugar so they can reproduce. You may think you have a sweet tooth, but more likely you have an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and unhealthy yeast like Candida. By incorporating “good” bacteria into your body – those found in ALL fermented foods – foods that humans have been consuming since they figured out how to use it for preservation (no fridge), you start to displace that “bad” bacteria. Your body’s pH returns to a more alkaline state. The gut moves those sugar bugs out and your cravings decrease – in fact, you may find that our over-sugared food supply doesn’t taste good at all. Eventually your body will regain its natural instincts and ability to “tell” you which foods are most nourishing.
Are There Really “Good” Bacteria?
This notion of “good” bacteria also extends to pasteurization (named for Louis Pasteur – who recanted his position on his deathbed). When we pasteurize food, we kill all of the bacteria present – good and bad. When it comes to a product like raw milk, that means that the bacteria that helps your body naturally digest the milk as well as the most nutritious enzymes are no longer able to help. You are left with a dead product that provides no nutrition and causes phlegm and congestion (vehemently denied by the Dairy Board, of course!)
We NEED bacteria to help us deal with our natural environment. We NEED bacteria to help our bodies absorb nutrients and enzymes essential to our health. Most of the time, they want to pasteurize the milk because the conditions in which most dairy cattle are kept are downright disgusting. Drinking Kombucha, making Kombucha at home (or kefir, or sauerkraut, or sour dough bread, or …the list goes on and on!) contributes to recolonizing the body with the good stuff. So it can return to balance and allow your immune system to function as it should. It empowers you in a simple and inexpensive way to take control of your health!
Of course, I have to remind you that you should consult with your physician before starting any new dietary changes, especially if you are currently taking medications. Though I will also tell you that Kombucha has been consumed for thousands of years and not a single death has been attributed to drinking it. Can prescription drugs claim that? (no, they cannot.)
Kombucha Brewing Tips
- Never store Kombucha SCOBYs in the Refrigerator!
- Sanitize with hot water or vinegar – NO SOAP. It kills the kombucha culture.
- Airflow is key – find an open area for your Kombucha Tea.
- If you see mold, throw everything away. Kombucha SCOBYs are not salvageable when mold strikes. More Kombucha mold info and photos here.
- Keep a SCOBY Hotel for backups and extras.
- Kombucha is a LIVING organism. Many believe the energy in the room will directly influence your culture.
6 Health Benefits of Drinking Kombucha
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage, is rich in probiotics and antioxidants, which benefit your brain, heart and gut. The healthy bacteria found in kombucha and your digestive tract absorb nutrients and fight sickness. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in the gut and the gut is considered the second largest part of the nervous system after the brain. That means promoting gut health is critical. One way to do that is drinking kombucha regularly, which may help maintain good immune and overall health.
How Does Kombucha Help Gut Health?
Kombucha is a fermented drink that works as a functional probiotic, providing health benefits beyond traditional nutrition. To make kombucha, tea is combined with sugar, bacteria and yeast to begin the fermentation process. Once complete, most of the sugars have been consumed by the bacteria and yeast resulting in a carbonated beverage that contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, acids and cellulose-producing bacteria, which protect your cells.
How Will Kombucha Fit In My Diet?
While nutritional information of kombucha brands and homemade kombucha will vary, below is a baseline estimation of nutrition facts based on a popular brand of kombucha’s 16-ounce bottle.
What’s The Difference Between Pasteurized And Unpasteurized Kombucha?
Pasteurization is a process in which foods and drinks are treated with heat to eliminate pathogens and extend shelf-life. But pasteurization does not necessarily make food and drinks healthier. In fact, the pasteurization process will kill the probiotic bacteria and yeast that promote gut health.
Shelf-life is another important determinant in the differences between pasteurized and unpasteurized kombucha. Be sure to drink unpasteurized kombucha within a short window after purchase. If unpasteurized kombucha is left too long, the alcohol content (usually below 0.5%) may rise.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kombucha?
- Disease Prevention
Consuming processed foods and chemicals can lead to oxidative stress, which in turn contributes to inflammation. That’s where kombucha comes in. There is evidence that fermented drinks contain powerful antioxidants that can help detoxify the body and prevent illness and inflammation. Kombucha’s inflammation-reducing properties may even decrease the risk for certain cancers.
- Gut Health
Kombucha supports digestion because of its high levels of probiotics, amino acids and enzymes. Some research has shown kombucha may prevent and heal stomach ulcers thanks to the antioxidants it contains and its ability to shield the protective coating inside the stomach.
- Improve Cholesterol
Kombucha has been shown in some scientific models to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
- Antibacterial and Antimicrobial
Studies have shown that kombucha contains both antibiotic and antimicrobial components. It has the ability to kill bad bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and shigella. Protection against these bacteria may help stave off food poisoning.
- Reduction of Diabetic Complications
Diabetes is associated with several oxidative stress-related complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and cardiomyopathy. Research suggests that the antioxidants in kombucha may help reduce the impact of oxidative stress caused by diabetes. This appears to be especially true in terms of liver and kidney function, which are generally weak in those with diabetes.
- Lung Protection
One lesser known benefit of kombucha is its use in treating silicosis, which is lung fibrosis caused by the inhalation of dust containing silica. Scientists discovered that kombucha could treat this lung disease and others caused by inhalation of dangerous material.
How to Make Kombucha
- 1 large very clean glass jar or bowl with a wide opening
- Boiling water (enough to fill your glass jar or bowl)
- 1 mixing spoon
- 1 large cloth, dish towel or even coffee filter
- 1 large elastic band
- 1 bottle of distilled white vinegar
- 8 cups of water
- ½ cup organic cane sugar or raw honey. Do not use aspartame or any other artificial sweeteners.
- 4 organic tea bags, usually black tea
- 1 SCOBY disk (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), which you can find in health food stores or online.
- 1 cup of pre-made, unpasteurized kombucha (homemade or store-bought)
- To disinfect your glass jar or bowl, very carefully fill it with boiling water. Let the water sit in the jar for 5 minutes and then carefully pour it out. Rinse the jar and any other equipment (mixing spoon, measuring cup, etc.) with the distilled white vinegar. Any time you’re handling a SCOBY, it’s important to sanitize your hands and tools. Regular dish soap and unsanitized hands may damage the SCOBY or contaminate the kombucha.
- Bring the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, remove from heat and add your tea bags and sugar or honey, stirring until the sweetener is completely dissolved.
- Allow the pot to sit and steep for 15 minutes, then remove tea bags.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature; about one hour. Once cooled, add your tea mixture to your jar or bowl and drop add your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
- Cover your jar or bowl with your cloth or filter and secure using the elastic band. You want the cloth to cover the opening of the jar or bowl and stay in place, but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
- Allow the kombucha to sit approximately 7-10 days. Less time produces a weaker, less sour taste, while more time allows the kombucha to ferment further and develop more beneficial components along with a stronger taste.
- Refrigerate and store your kombucha in clear glass bottles with tight fitting lids.
There are very few negative side effects of ingesting kombucha. A small percentage of people experience bloating, nausea, infections or allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. If you are concerned about how kombucha may affect you, start by drinking a small amount and gradually work your way up to see if you have any negative reactions to it.
Kombucha has many benefits to gut, brain and overall health. Drinking kombucha may help you, on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, but it is only one of many wellness choices. Talk to your clinician about other options and consider Mindful DNA® Professional—a genetic test that helps guide lifestyle, diet and/or nutritional supplement decisions to improve your overall health and wellbeing. To learn more about Mindful DNA Professional and how it may help you, speak with your healthcare practitioner.
Fermented food has soared in popularity in recent years, in part thanks to the ever increasing interest and research into gut health. Kombucha, a mildly fizzy, slightly sour drink, has become popular with health conscious consumers looking for an alternative to processed fizzy drinks that are often packed with sugar or artificial sweeteners. But is kombucha really good for you, or does it fall short of the media hype? We take a closer look at the potential benefits and side effects of this beverage.
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a scoby. Scoby stands for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’. The bacteria and yeasts convert the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. The acetic acid is what gives kombucha its distinctive sour taste.
How do you make kombucha?
Kombucha is usually made using:
- Cold filtered water
- Black/green tea (bags or loose leaf)
- Scoby – purchased online, or from an existing batch of kombucha
To make kombucha, the tea and sugar is steeped in boiled water and left to cool before adding the scoby. This is covered and left to ferment for up to a week. The mixture is then poured into an airtight container with some extra sugar and left for a few more days – the longer it is left, the fizzier it will become. At this point, flavourings such as spices or fruit can be added.
Read more about how to make kombucha.
Is kombucha a good source of probiotics?
Fermented foods such as yogurts, sauerkraut and kefir all contain live microorganisms. As kombucha is the product of fermentation, a number of probiotic bacteria are produced. At specific concentrations, probiotic bacteria can help to balance the gut microbiome in humans and improve digestion. However, to date, there have not been enough studies to confirm whether kombucha contains enough beneficial bacteria to be deemed an effective probiotic.
Read more about probiotics and the health benefits of fermented foods.
Is kombucha high in antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are a normal by-product of processes in the body, but the key is to minimise their impact by having a diet rich in antioxidants. Tea, especially green tea, is rich in a group of antioxidants called polyphenols. It is suggested that the fermentation time has an impact on the antioxidant properties of kombucha, however, to date there is little evidence to suggest a significant benefit to human health.
Does kombucha contain vitamins and minerals?
Kombucha contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals which are produced when the yeast breaks down the sugars, including vitamin C and B vitamins B1, B6 and B12.
Read more about why we need vitamins and minerals.
Can kombucha help with weight loss and improve gut health?
Although kombucha is claimed to be beneficial for several ailments relating to digestion, weight loss, bone health and inflammation, there is almost no clinical evidence available to prove the claims. Most of these claims are either anecdotal or have come from animal studies.
Additionally, the evidence is insubstantial as to whether the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) found in kombucha can survive the acidic environment of the stomach to then have an impact on health.
Learn more about probiotics and how diet affects gut health.
Are there side effects of drinking kombucha?
Kombucha is classified as a functional food because of its potentially beneficial effect on health as part of a varied and balanced diet, however there are some risks. Kombucha is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those who have a compromised immune system. It is important to reiterate, there haven’t been many human clinical studies to prove its safety and efficacy. There have been some reports that drinking too much kombucha can lead to unpleasant side effects such as stomach ache, nausea and dizziness. Prolonged fermentation is not recommended because of the accumulation of organic acids, which might reach harmful levels for direct consumption. Always see your GP if you are concerned about introducing kombucha into your diet, or if you have any adverse side effects after consuming it.
More health benefits guides…
The health benefits of kefir
The health benefits of miso
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar
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More digestive health recipes and tips
Why are fermented foods good for you?
How does diet affect gut health?
This article was reviewed on 12th February 2019 by dietitian Emer Delaney.
Emer Delaney BSc (Hons), RD has an honours degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Ulster. She has worked as a dietitian in some of London’s top teaching hospitals and is currently based in Chelsea.
Jo Lewin works as a Community Nutritionist and private consultant. She is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) registered with the UKVRN. Visit her website at www.nutrijo.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
When David Begg first approached pubs around the UK about the possibility of stocking non-alcoholic kombucha drinks, he was greeted with a mixture of bewilderment and defiance.
“Back then, there were still a lot of pub owners saying, ‘My pub is for people who want to drink alcohol. I want to sell beer and wine,’” says Begg, an entrepreneur who founded Real Kombucha towards the end of 2017.
Fast forward 18 months and the naturally fizzy drink, made from fermented tea, has rapidly moved from its hipster beginnings to the mainstream. After initial rejections, Begg’s kombucha range will soon be stocked in more than 1,000 pubs across the country. This change of tack is evident across the pub and bar industry, driven by a growing demand for a wider choice of non-alcoholic drinks, especially among the health-conscious millennial generation.
“There are stats showing that nearly 30% of young adults aren’t drinking alcohol,” says Neil Hinchley, director of the Crate Brewery, based in Hackney, east London, which is currently installing three new taps of home-brewed kombucha. “We certainly see that at the bar. We have people coming in and asking for the non-alcoholic drinks menu and they expect more than just orange juice, lemonade and J2O. You hear about more people wanting to go out, have a good time, but without alcohol. They want something to fill that space and kombucha ticks a lot of boxes because it has that healthy reputation. It’s had a gradual rise, but it’s now hit its tipping point.”
This tipping point has coincided with the rapid rise of fermented foods in general, a market that is expected to top £30bn by 2022, thanks to the booming wellness industry. British supermarkets now regularly stock ranges of sauerkraut and the Korean vegetable side dish kimchi, while fermented milk drinks such as kefir can be found everywhere from Tesco to fast food chain Leon. With tennis players and even Premier League footballers now swigging pickle juice mid-match to ward off muscle cramps, fermented foods have gained a foothold in the nation’s larders.
But as Hinchley points out, it isn’t just the distinctive taste that lies behind their popularity. Much of the interest has been fuelled by the explosion of media attention around the health benefits of consuming live bacteria and the array of microbes present in kimchi, kombucha and the rest has seen them branded “superfoods”.
What many consumers don’t realise is that it isn’t quite so straightforward. For while fermented foods have some proved benefits, even the most optimistic scientists admit that many of the claims being bandied around are based on somewhat flimsy science.
What do we know?
After a quick Google search, you could be forgiven for thinking that fermented foods are a cure-all. The health benefits ascribed to them include boosting the immune system, improving gut health and reducing your odds of diabetes, as well as tackling cancer, arthritis and even depression.
“There’s a lot of hype,” cautions Maria Marco, professor of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis. “There are some general properties of these foods that could conceivably have an impact on our body, and perhaps help the immune system, but they’re not drugs. It’s ridiculous to think that they could treat diseases like cancer.”
Right now, the only clinical benefit accepted by the European Food Safety Authority is that fermented dairy products are suitable for people with lactose intolerance, because the bacteria within them break down the lactose in milk as part of the fermentation process. As fermentation is a form of predigestion, these foods are also thought to be more easily processed by people with irritable bowel syndrome or digestive issues.
But digestion aside, scientists have so far struggled to demonstrate a clear cause and effect between consuming fermented food and improved health. Much of the media excitement has revolved around the supposed ability of these foods to improve the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, but in reality microbiologists say that a few spoonfuls of yoghurt or kimchi will make little or no difference to this vast colony of microbes.
“Inside our gut, each of us has at least 100tn microbes,” says Prof Zhaoping Li, head of clinical nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Even if one of these foods contains 100m microbes, it’s very trivial in comparison. Many of them will be killed when passing through our stomach and if they make it to the gut, it’s not touching anything.”
Real Kombucha being poured in a Fuller’s pub
Despite the “superfood” tagline, many fermented food manufacturers focus on the sensory and sophistication angles when promoting their products, rather than the health side of things. This is largely because of a sparsity of human evidence. The studies that claim different fermented products have anticancer properties, or the ability to control cholesterol and hypertension, have mostly been carried out on laboratory animals or individual cell lines.
Only a few clinical trials have investigated whether consuming fermented products can have a beneficial effect on health metrics such as blood pressure or insulin resistance. These have so far returned mixed results, with the studies often containing severe flaws in their design.
“They’re typically looking at something like blood pressure over 21 or 28 days,” says Robert Hutkins, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who researches the link between fermented foods and human health. “But blood pressure varies ordinarily, so you really need to study it over 90 or 120 days to have any idea if there’s a significant change.”
Most of the other claims have come from population studies that compare parts of the world where people eat a high proportion of fermented foods with places where they don’t and analyse the relative prevalence of different diseases. But these types of studies are vague and notoriously difficult to interpret.
“Koreans have a lower risk factor for bowel disease than Americans,” Li says, “but that isn’t necessarily because they eat more fermented foods. It could be genetics or because they eat more fish or the fact that overeating is less common. There are so many potential confounding factors at play.”
Lack of regulation
Because the rise in popularity in fermented foods in the UK is a relatively recent phenomenon, the industry is in many ways, a bit of a wild west. Hutkins admits that most of the clinical trials conducted on these foods have been funded directly by the companies trying to sell them, such as Danone or Nestlé, while there’s currently little or no regulation covering the labelling or manufacturing process of fermented products.
As a result, scientists say that fermented foods found on supermarket shelves can have high sugar or sodium contents. Many also contain large amounts of preservatives, meaning that customers are sometimes buying expensive milk or cabbage that doesn’t contain any live microbes.
“It’s not always clear from the packaging but in general, the more processing that’s been done, the worse the product is,” says Dr Paul Cotter, head of food biosciences at the Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority Teagasc’s food research centre in County Cork. “Steps need to be introduced so that if a product claims to be kefir or kombucha, it must have the associated living microbes in there and be made in a certain way.”
One common claim on fermented food labels is that they contain probiotic organisms, specific microbial strains that have a proved health benefit. But in reality, relatively few products are tested to find out the precise types of bacteria that are present.
“It’s a little bit problematic that anybody can stick ‘probiotic’ on their label without having to identify what species of bacteria are in the food,” Marco says. “It signals that it’s healthy, but we don’t necessarily know that those particular microbes are ones we would define as probiotic.”
Change may be on the cards, however. Such is the interest in fermented foods that governing bodies have been forced to get involved, particularly in the US, where sales of kombucha are growing at a faster rate than any other soft drink. The National Institute of Health is currently funding clinical trials into various fermented products and there are high hopes that this will yield more concrete information on their health benefits in the next five to 10 years. “This will be very interesting,” Hutkins says. “If it’s funded by the government, then the results are publishable, no matter what they find.”
And while much has been written about the potential of fermented foods to have an impact on what bacteria live in our guts, Marco believes any notable benefit may instead come from their interactions with the small intestine, possibly by stimulating the immune system and preventing toxins from getting into the bloodstream. “There’s a possibility that the microbes in these foods could directly impact the intestinal cells,” she says. “There’s far fewer microbes there compared to the gut and also a lot more exposure to our food. It also happens to be the place where most of our immune cells are.”
If there do turn out to be any clear benefits, scientists say we should still expect them to be relatively small. Eating a balanced diet, minimising stress levels and getting good quality sleep all have a far greater effect on our body as a whole than any single food. “Consuming fermented foods instead of highly processed foods or drinking something like Coca-Cola is probably better for you, but that alone is not going to make a huge change to your health,” Li says. “It’s all relative. No food is going to have a dramatic, wide-ranging effect on the body, like a drug, unless you make wholesale changes to your diet.”
Not that kombucha makers are concerned. With a variety of brands and flavour profiles pouring into the market, they believe that the only trajectory is up. “I think it will become an expected part of people’s night out,” Hinchley says. “People now expect the same offering and range they have in coffee and beer, in soft drinks. And kombucha, I think, is going to continue to lead the way.”
Eight potential benefits of kombucha
There are a range of potential health benefits of kombucha, including:
1. Gut health
As this 2014 study confirms, the fermentation process of kombucha means that the drink is rich in probiotics. Probiotic bacteria are similar to healthful bacteria that are found in the gut.
Consuming probiotics may improve overall gut health. Probiotic bacteria have been found to help treat diarrhea, and some research suggests they may help ease irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
More research is needed into how kombucha improves gut health, but the link between probiotics and gut health suggests it may support the digestive system.
The link between healthy bacteria in the digestive system and immune function is becoming clearer as more studies focus on gut health. If the probiotics in kombucha improve gut health, they may also strengthen the immune system.
2. Cancer risk
There is growing evidence to suggest drinking kombucha could help reduce the risk of cancer.
A 2008 study found that kombucha helped prevent the growth of cancer cells. Further research in 2013 found that kombucha decreased the survival of cancer cells. Both studies suggest kombucha could play a role in treating or preventing cancer.
It is important to note that these studies looked at the effects of kombucha on cancer cells in a test tube. More research is needed to see if people who drink kombucha have a reduced risk of developing cancer.
3. Infection risk
A type of acid called acetic acid, also found in vinegar, is produced when kombucha is fermented.
A study carried out in 2000 found that kombucha was able to kill microbes and help fight a range of bacteria. This suggests that it may help prevent infections by killing the bacteria that cause them before they are absorbed by the body.
4. Mental health
Share on PinterestThe probiotics in kombucha are thought to have the ability to treat depression.
There may be a link between probiotics and depression, suggesting that drinking probiotic-rich kombucha could help promote positive mental health.
There are strong links between depression and inflammation, so the anti-inflammatory effect of kombucha may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
A 2017 review looked at a number of existing studies and concluded that there is strong evidence that probiotics may help treat depression. However, further research is needed to prove how effective they are.
5. Heart disease
Levels of certain types of cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Studies in 2012 and 2015 found that kombucha helps to reduce levels of the cholesterol linked to heart disease. Cholesterol levels and heart disease are also influenced by diet, exercise, weight, lifestyle habits, and inflammation. However, the research cited here suggests drinking kombucha may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
At the same time, it is important to note that these studies were in rats. More research is needed to prove that kombucha reduces the risk of heart disease in humans.
6. Weight loss
When kombucha is made with green tea, it may aid weight loss. A 2008 study found that obese people who took green tea extract burned more calories and lost more weight than those who did not.
If kombucha is made with green tea, it follows that it could have a similarly positive effect on weight loss.
Again, researchers need to look at kombucha and weight loss specifically before this is certain.
7. Liver health
Kombucha contains antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells.
Some studies, the most recent being in 2011, have found that the antioxidant-rich kombucha reduces toxins in the liver. This suggests that kombucha may play an important role in promoting liver health and reducing liver inflammation.
However, studies to date have looked at rats and more research is needed to say with certainty how kombucha can support liver health in humans.
8. Type 2 diabetes management
Share on PinterestKombucha may help to stabilize blood sugar levels and aid in the management of diabetes.
Kombucha may also be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes.
A 2012 study found that kombucha helped to manage blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes. This finding suggests it may be helpful in type 2 diabetes management.
Again, more research is needed to say with certainty whether kombucha can have the same benefits in type 2 diabetes management for humans.
Click here to purchase kombucha from an online vendor. Please note that this link will take you to an external site.
For many kombucha newbies, whether they’ll become an aficionado or never swallow another mouthful is decided in mere seconds. Some violently recoil as if they’ve gulped straight white wine vinegar. Others sip and profess it’s a bliss-inducing elixir.
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Personal preferences aside, kombucha may be a worthy addition to your health arsenal, says dietitian Maxine Smith, RD, LD. Now almost as popular at health food stores as your regular supermarkets, kombucha is fermented from tea (usually black, though sometimes green) and sugar (perhaps white, turbinado, agave or honey). The end result? A slightly fizzy drink that’s probiotic-rich, meaning it contains live bacteria and yeasts or “healthy little microbes” that benefit your digestive system.
“Some of kombucha’s health benefits are similar to those of other fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir and raw (live) fermented pickles or sauerkraut,” Smith says. “But it also has others — specific bioactive compounds — that are unique to kombucha.”
Breaking down kombucha’s benefits
Much of kombucha’s gut-friendly accolades are likely due to the tea itself, and the polyphenols it contains.
“Polyphenols are known to act as strong antioxidants in the body and decrease inflammation, which is the root cause of many diseases and conditions,” she explains. “And the fermentation process actually increases the amount of polyphenols.”
Kombucha also provides B vitamins, a handful of essential minerals, organic acids (Think: like when vinegar ferments) such as acetic, glucuronic and D-Saccharic acids. These acids, Smith says, have been shown to be antimicrobial, so they fight against bacterial growth. They can also promote detoxification by helping the liver get rid of undesired compounds that it has to process. Last, these acids help transport polyphenols in the body.
Since some of those acids are produced from ethanol, Smith adds, it’s worth noting that kombucha contains low levels of alcohol, usually ranging from 0.5 percent upwards to 3 percent. (To put that in perspective, your average craft beer clocks in at just under 6 percent.)
But just how beneficial is kombucha? “There aren’t a lot of good quality, robust studies to support a lot of kombucha’s hype, but the compounds it contains have been associated in some studies with lowering cholesterol, lowering blood sugar, antimicrobial action, decreased rates of cancer, and improvement of liver and GI function.
So just how much kombucha should you drink?
Too much of anything is bad for you, of course. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that four ounces of kombucha can be safely consumed one to three times a day.
“That means you shouldn’t consume more than 12 ounces of kombucha a day,” says Smith, who points out that the average bottle of commercially prepared kombucha exceeds a daily, single serving at 16 ounces.
“We just don’t have a lot of research identifying optimal quantities, or even benefits and risks of many probiotic foods,” she notes.
Possible hazards vary by drinker and fermenter
Drinking too much kombucha could potentially lead to reactions like headache, nausea, GI distress or going into ketoacidosis (a medical emergency where there’s too much acid in your blood), Smith continues.
“Lead toxicity is also possible if homemade kombuchas are fermented in clay vessels or other containers that leach lead into the finished beverage,” she says.
Those who should skip the kombucha altogether? We do know pregnant women and young children should find another drink of choice. So should those with certain chronic diseases (particularly liver or kidney disease or HIV), compromised immune systems and alcohol dependency, she adds.
Another caveat? “Know that an allergic reaction is possible, as people can be allergic to just about anything,” Smith cautions.
And then there’s the whole question of proper sanitation. Tainted batches can become contaminated with undesirable fungi and an overproduction of yeast, she says. As when consuming any ferments, it’s wise to stick to a reputable source.
If the color or smell is off (if it smells like nail polish from an acid overproduction that’s resulted in acetone), Smith cautions not to imbibe.
“Most of the commercially packaged kombucha at the store is perfectly fine,” she reassures. “But if you’re at some random flea market and there’s a kombucha table, it might not necessarily be the best place to get it.”
What about if you’re a DIY-er? “If you brew your own using a SCOBY, you’ll also be OK as long as you have experience making fermented foods and you have a very clean, sterile environment,” Smith concludes.
Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and (especially) your gut.
How does this ancient drink make such a huge difference in your body?
Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of living healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.
Since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, it’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.”
If you already eat a whole foods based diet, drinking kombucha regularly is a great addition that can help you maintain peak immune health, which trickles down into an impressive number of benefits for your overall health.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional, probiotic food.
It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that is responsible for initiating the fermentation process, once combined with sugar.
Following fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid.
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a SCOBY, which stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” Contrary to common claims, a SCOBY is not a mushroom.
Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas — or both. The origin can be traced back to ancient China, where it was known as the “Tea of Immortality.”
It has also been enjoyed for its medicinal properties in Russia, Japan and Europe for several hundred years as well.
So what does kombucha taste like? There are a number of different flavors available, but it’s generally fizzy, tart and slightly sweet.
Some people find it a healthier substitute for sodas, which can help satisfy that craving for a fizzy drink. There are even some soda-flavored varieties, making it a great option to cut down on your sugar intake while boosting your consumption of benefit-rich probiotics.
Can you lose weight by drinking kombucha? By swapping it for soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages, you can quickly cut down on your calorie consumption, which could lead to weight loss.
Top 8 Benefits
1. Aids in Disease Prevention
According to a review published by the University of Latvia, drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.”
Kombucha contains an array of powerful antioxidants that can help to detoxify the body and protect against disease.
These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation, which can help protect against many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
While normal black tea does contain antioxidants, research shows that the fermentation process of kombucha creates antioxidants not naturally found in black tea, including D-saccharic acid, also known as glucaric acid.
2. Supports Gut Health
Naturally, the antioxidant prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system.
However, the greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids and enzymes.
Although it does contain bacteria, these are not harmful pathogenic strains of bacteria. Instead, they are a beneficial form of bacteria known as probiotics, which are involved in everything from immune function to mental health and nutrient absorption.
Some animal models have shown that kombucha could help prevent and heal stomach ulcers.
It can also help stop candida from overpopulating within the gut by restoring balance to the digestive system, with live probiotic cultures that help the gut repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast.
3. May Improve Mental Function
In addition to enhancing digestion, kombucha might be able to protect your mind as well.
This is partially due to its content of B vitamins, which are known to increase energy levels and improve overall mental well-being. Its high vitamin B12 content is one reason supplements sometimes contain dry kombucha products.
It’s also rich in probiotics, which are a form of beneficial bacteria that are thought to play an integral role in mental health.
Some studies have shown that probiotics could aid in the treatment of conditions like depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
4. Promotes Lung Health
One unexpected benefit of kombucha is its use as a potential treatment method for silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles.
One animal model conducted in China discovered that inhalation of kombucha could be a way to treat silicosis, along with several other diseases of the lungs caused by inhalation of dangerous material.
That being said, it’s still recommended to drink your kombucha rather than inhaling it.
5. Fights Bacteria
Although it may seem counterintuitive, drinking the live cultures in kombucha can actually destroy many strains of bad bacteria that are responsible for infections.
In lab studies, it has been found to have antibacterial effects against staph, E. coli, Sh. sonnei, two strains of salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni.
Many of these strains of bacteria are responsible for food poisoning and foodborne illness around the world.
6. Helps Manage Diabetes
Although some practitioners warn against kombucha for diabetics, it seems that some research suggests just that consuming low-sugar varieties of it could actually be beneficial.
Because of the antioxidants that it contains, it has been shown to help alleviate diabetes symptoms in some animal models, even more effectively than the black tea from which it’s fermented.
It may also help support the function of the liver and kidney, which is generally poor for those with diabetes.
7. Supports Heart Health
Kombucha has been considered to be beneficial to the heart for some time, although research efforts in this area have been scarce.
However, it seems clear that, in animal models, kombucha can help lower triglyceride levels and regulate cholesterol naturally.
8. Maintains Liver Function
The liver works hard to filter and excrete harmful compounds, which is why it’s a vital component in digestion and overall health.
According to some in vitro studies, the antioxidants in kombucha may protect the liver from oxidative stress and damage induced by acetaminophen overdose.
Although nutrition facts can differ between brands and homemade brews, kombucha is generally low in calories but high in B vitamins like folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and thiamine.
One 16-ounce bottle of unpasteurized, organic kombucha drink contains the following nutrients:
- 60 calories
- 14 grams carbohydrates
- 4 grams sugar
- 20 milligrams sodium
- 100 micrograms folate (25 percent DV)
- 0.34 gram riboflavin/vitamin B2 (20 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligram vitamin B6 (20 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram thiamine/vitamin B1 (20 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams niacin/vitamin B3 (20 percent DV)
- 1.2 micrograms vitamin B12 (20 percent DV)
How to Make It
Kombucha is easy to make from the comfort of your own home.
This recipe makes about eight cups, but you can also double the recipe to make more — and you still only need one SCOBY disk, which you can find at many health stores or as part of a kombucha starter kit.
Yields: 8 cups
- 1 large glass or metal jar or bowl with a wide opening
- 1 large piece of cloth or a dish towel
- 1 SCOBY disk
- 8 cups of filtered or distilled water
- ½ cup organic cane sugar or raw honey
- 1 cup of pre-made kombucha
- Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.
- Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cool, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
- Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel and try to keep the cloth in place by using a rubber band or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
- Allow it to sit for 7–10 days, depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the drink ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people report fermenting it for up to a month before bottling with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if it’s reached the right taste and level of carbonation for you.
Risks and Side Effects
Can kombucha be harmful? Most people experience many kombucha benefits and experience little to no adverse side effects. However, there are some kombucha dangers and precautions that you may want to consider.
Kombucha side effects seem to be more of a risk when making it yourself because contamination is possible, and the SCOBY disk and finished product aren’t tested for quality like they are when manufactured commercially.
If you’re going to brew your own, be sure to use sterile equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.
A small percentage of people experience bloating, nausea, infections and allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. Because it has a high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems, like stomach ulcers, heartburn or sensitivity to very acidic foods.
Additionally, because of the acidity, you can help prevent damage to your teeth by drinking it at one sitting and swishing water in your mouth afterward.
People who have severely compromised immunity due to certain viruses like HIV/AIDS need to be careful about consuming it since there is always a possibility that the yeast can grow harmful bacteria that can cause illness. This is especially true of homemade varieties.
Is kombucha alcoholic? The alcohol content of most products is less than 0.5 percent, meaning it is usually labeled as “non-alcoholic.”
Another common question is: Does kombucha have caffeine? Although it does contain a small amount of caffeine, it is significantly lower than the tea that is made to produce it.
While it hasn’t been studied much in pregnant women, there is always concern that pregnant women shouldn’t consume alcohol or caffeine, both of which are present in kombucha in small amounts. Check with your doctor before consuming it and keep your intake in moderation to prevent any adverse side effects.
- Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from black tea and sugar.
- Following fermentation, it becomes rich in vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, all of which contribute to its many health benefits.
- Potential kombucha health benefits include better gut health, improved mental function, enhanced blood sugar control and disease prevention.
- There are plenty of methods for how to make kombucha at home, but it always involves using a SCOBY, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
- For most people, this fermented drink can be a safe and healthy addition to the diet. However, women who are pregnant as well as those with compromised immunity or digestive issues should check with their doctor prior to consumption.
Why is Kombucha Considered So Healthy?
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about kombucha along with the potential health benefits it provides to drinkers. However, for those kombucha newbies or individuals who are just learning about the beverage, there may be burning questions. After all, why is kombucha considered so healthy? And does the beverage actually live up to the hype?
Firstly, let’s get a couple things clear. Kombucha is a fermented tea—and it’s been around for thousands of years.
What is Kombucha Tea?
Indeed kombucha has been around for thousands of years and has been enjoyed by countless cultures. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is naturally rich in beneficial probiotics and healthy organic acids. Additionally, the drink contains antioxidants, which may help to eliminate harmful bacteria from the body and can also aid in combating aging as well as some diseases.
An age-old kombucha recipe uses four simple ingredients: water, tea (organic green or black), sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY eats the sugar in the sweet tea which creates bubbles and healthy organic acids. Furthermore, because there is a large amount of good bacteria that is grown during the fermentation process, it is believed that this is where the probiotic benefits are derived. Probiotics are healthy bacteria, and are widely known to improve gut health and enhance the digestive processes.
Searching for a Health Aid? Kombucha Could Be the Answer
There are some other pretty prominent reasons why kombucha is considered so healthy as well. In addition to being an outstanding source of probiotics, kombucha also contains antioxidants, which carry with them the ability to fight free radicals that can harm the body’s cells. The scientific community is in consensus that it is more beneficial to receive antioxidants from food and beverages as opposed to taking a pill or nutritional supplement.
How Often Should I Drink Kombucha Tea?
You can drink as much kombucha as it takes to make you feel happy and healthy. There are no rules! Most experts agree that it is perfectly fine for most people to drink kombucha daily; however, if you happen to be pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a compromised immune system, it is wise to consult with your doctor first.
If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of kombucha, as well as what goes into making this delicious fermented tea, we encourage you to reach out to Health-Ade today. Since not all kombucha is created equal, we would love for you to learn about our best-in-class process and what sets us apart from our compatriots! Visit www.health-ade.com today!