Have you ever tried kombucha tea? Next to drinking water with lemon kombucha is my new favorite drink!
The health benefits associated with drinking kombucha are quite impressive. Rich in probiotics it is highly beneficial for the digestive system. It also boosts the immune system, increases energy, kills cancer cells and helps prevent many diseases.
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea that has been around for 2,000 years. The Chinese refer to it as “The Immortal Health Elixir.” It is made by combining sugar and black or green tea. Most of the sugar is eaten up during the fermentation process resulting in an end product with very little sugar.
Unpasteurized, organic kombucha contains a large number of probiotics or healthy bacteria. It is also rich in a variety of antioxidants.
You may have heard it called kombucha mushroom, however, there are no mushrooms in kombucha. This is a fairly common misconception due to the SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY is added to tea and sugar to transform the tea into a healthful probiotic drink.
The SCOBY resembles a flat disc. It floats at the top of the sweet tea container, sealing air out from the tea. You can get a SCOBY from someone who makes homemade kombucha, or you can also buy them online.
Kombucha tastes a little sweet with a bit of tang due to the acidity created by the fermentation process. There are many flavors available depending on the fruit and natural flavors added during a second fermentation. This second fermentation gives the tea a bubbly fizz, much like soda.
You can buy the tea at most health food stores and many supermarkets for about $3 to $4. You can also make it at home. I make a batch of homemade kombucha weekly. Personally, my favorite flavors are strawberry, mango and peach, or different combinations of these three fruits.
(Look for an upcoming article about how I make my homemade kombucha.)
Related: 7 Reasons To Take Probiotics
Kombucha Nutrition Facts
Many people have concerns about the sugar content, but as noted above, the end product has minimal sugar due to fermentation. Here is a nutritional breakdown of one 8-ounce serving of kombucha:
- 30 calories
- 7 grams carbohydrate
- 2 grams sugar
- 10 milligrams sodium
- 20% DV of vitamins B2, B6, B12, thiamine and niacin
- 25% DV of Folic Acid
- 10 mg Glucuronic Acid
- 25 mg Lactic Acid
- 30 mg acetic acid
- 100 mg EGCG
Health Benefits Of Drinking Kombucha
1. Boosts The Immune System
A large number of bacteria found in probiotic-rich kombucha line the digestive tract (1). An impressive 80% of our immune system is located in the gut, otherwise known as the second brain.
2. Can Kill Harmful Bacteria
Kombucha has powerful antibacterial properties against Candida yeasts and unhealthy bacteria which cause infection (2).
3. May Protect Against Cancer
Studies found that kombucha has properties, such as tea polyphenols, that block cancer cell growth and even cause cancer cell death (3).
4. May Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease
A 2012 study showed kombucha improves LDL and HDL cholesterol, both markers of heart disease (4 ). Also, people who drink green tea, found in kombucha made with green tea, lower their risk for heart disease up to 31% (5).
5. Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants combat free radicals which damage cells (6).
6. May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Research suggests kombucha may reduce diabetes symptoms, especially related to liver and kidney function (7).
7. Provides Detoxification
Kombucha is rich in Glucaric acid which helps the liver detox the body naturally (8).
8. Improves The Gut And Digestion
Not only does the high probiotic count improve gut health, but Kombucha was also shown to heal and prevent stomach ulcers (9).
9. May Improve Joint Health
Kombucha is rich in glucosamines which are compounds found to lubricate and protect the joints. More specifically, Glucosamine causes hyaluronic acid production which can reduce joint pain associated with arthritis (10).
Most people who drink kombucha don’t have any issues and enjoy the health benefits mentioned above. Still, it is important to note some precautions.
- Due to the acid in kombucha, it is best to drink it one sitting and swish with fresh water after drinking.
- Pregnant or nursing moms are advised not to drink kombucha.
- The fermentation process used to make kombucha produces alcohol in very small amounts (0.5% to 1.0% for store-bought brands, and slightly more in homemade kombucha). To put this in perspective this amount is comparable to the alcohol content of an over-ripe banana.
- It contains small amounts of caffeine and sugar.
- If you make homemade kombucha be extremely careful because when it is not made correctly the bacteria can get contaminated causing serious health problems. If you’re concerned you may want to stick with the store-bought variety. (Look for an upcoming post about how to safely make kombucha.)
Have you tried Kombucha? What did you think?
Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed this, you may want to read:
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- Sparkling Advice to Kick Your Soda Habit
- 22 Essential Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
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