Kombucha is a popular drink with a funny name. It’s been credited with preventing or relieving conditions like cancer, obesity, and gastro digestive issues. Some of the claims may or may not be substantiated, but the fact remains that kombucha has an impressive history and an equally impressive list of health benefits.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented drink with a sweet and sour flavor. It’s a tea that has been around for about 2,000 years. First discovered in China, kombucha consumption soon spread to Japan and Russia. Finally, by the early 20th century, Europeans were drinking it. Now it’s popular here in the U.S. among the health-conscious because of its notoriety as a nutrient-dense beverage with loads of health benefits.
Related: What Are Probiotic Drinks?
How it’s Made
Kombucha is made with black or green tea along with yeast and sugar. To make it, the mixture is put aside to ferment at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. Bacteria and acids form, and a little bit of alcohol. Finally, a film forms over the top of the mixture called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). You can use the SCOBY (pancake-shaped culture of bacteria and yeast) to ferment another batch of kombucha. The completed beverage is non-alcoholic and contains amino acids, vitamins, and other nutrients.
The kombucha is bottled for up to 2 weeks, so the carbon dioxide creates carbonation. Later, it’s refrigerated to slow the carbonation and stop fermentation. Kombucha can be made in industrial settings or at home. In either place, the antimicrobial properties of the process make it safe and sanitary.
Is Kombucha Good for You?
Many of the claims made about kombucha have yet to be confirmed, but here are the top science-based health benefits of kombucha.
Kombucha Provides Many of the Benefits of Green Tea
When kombucha is made from green tea, it contains bioactive compounds that function as antioxidants. Some studies confirm that drinking green tea can regulate your cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, help you to burn more calories, and even reduce belly fat. Green tea has been shown to protect us from some kinds of cancers, namely breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
Kombucha Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants stop the process of oxidation. This process produces free radicals that can cause damage to the cells in your body. Antioxidants fight these free radicals. Animal studies show that regularly drinking kombucha reduces toxicity in the liver by at least 70%.
Kombucha is a Source of Probiotics
The process of fermentation involves bacteria production. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this bacteria contains many species of lactic acid, which contains probiotics. What’s the big deal about probiotics? Many of us suffer from gut issues that stem from too much harmful bacteria and not enough healthy bacteria in the lining of our lower intestines. Probiotics feed the good bacteria, bringing things back into balance. A healthy gut will benefit your overall physical well-being in many ways.
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Kombucha May Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Animal studies show that drinking kombucha for just 30 days can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. When you drink green tea often, you can benefit from a 31% lower risk of heart disease. This benefit may extend to drinking kombucha.
Kombucha Kills Bacteria
The fermentation process produces acetic acid, which kills many potentially harmful microorganisms. Kombucha has antibacterial properties, especially against infection-causing bacteria and Candida yeasts.
While the growth of bacteria and yeasts is inhibited, the development of probiotic bacteria and other beneficial yeasts is allowed.
Kombucha Helps to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Worldwide, over 300 million people are affected by type 2 diabetes. This kind of diabetes is insulin resistant and involves high blood sugar levels. One animal study showed that kombucha consumption leads to improved kidney and liver function.
Kombucha made with green tea has even more health benefits than green tea by itself. It reduces blood sugar levels, and in one review study, it was found that in almost 300,000 participants, green tea drinkers had an 18% decreased risk of developing diabetes.
Kombucha May Protect You From Cancer
Cancer is an ominous threat that mutates cells and causes them to grow uncontrollably. Kombucha stopped cancerous cells from growing in test tubes in one study. People who consume tea are less likely to get certain types of cancer.
Kombucha Can Help You Lose Weight
For many of the reasons listed above, kombucha can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Here are a few of the ways:
- Kombucha controls impulse eating. It stabilizes carbohydrate metabolism, thereby maintaining blood sugar levels.
- Kombucha made with green tea can help reduce stubborn belly fat by increasing your body’s metabolic rate.
- Kombucha is a low-calorie beverage.
- Kombucha helps your body to burn calories by supporting healthy liver function.
- Kombucha increases your energy.
- Kombucha protects your health and body systems while you lose weight.
- Kombucha can promote better mental health because of its probiotic properties. Your gut health is improved, leading to less stress and anxiety and better moods.
How Much Kombucha to Drink
While kombucha is an amazingly beneficial dink, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. For best results, drink 1 to 2 cups each day or at most 16 oz. You might have to start with a smaller amount until your body can adjust. Try one-half cup at first and gradually increase.
Be warned, though, for all of the health benefits of kombucha, too much of it will lead you to the very issues you are trying to remedy. Too much kombucha can result in:
- Increased bloating and digestive distress
- Excessive caffeine consumption
- Too many calories consumed
- Increased sugar intake
Kombucha has so many benefits to offer - a healthier gut, improved liver function, weight management, and cancer prevention. It can be a little pricey, so try to drink it as often as your budget will allow. Even if that doesn’t work out to daily consumption, you will still gain from whatever you drink. Experiment with different flavors to find the one that you love most. Enjoy!
Our belief that everyone deserves a healthy gut is motivated by three core values - wellness, quality, and joy. Are you looking for a healthy drink that is ethical and delicious? Visit Sunny Culture to learn more.