Kombucha and apple cider vinegar are both all of the rage these days in the healthy food industry. Both are fermented drinks that offer various health benefits.
But, is there one that’s better for your health? Which should you be drinking? Read this guide on kombucha vs. apple cider vinegar to find out!
What is Kombucha?
Chances are, you’ve seen kombucha in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. Also known as mushroom tea, kombucha is a fermented, fizzy drink with a sweet and sour flavor.
While kombucha may be new to the Western health scene, it’s actually one of the most ancient brews, with evidence of kombucha brewing dating all the way back to 2,000 years ago in China.
The basic ingredients in kombucha are sugar, yeast, and black tea. However, many people like to add additional flavors to their kombucha, such as lemon, ginger, lavender, or watermelon.
To make kombucha, the mixture is set aside for a week or more. During this time, bacteria and acids form in the drink, as well as a small percentage of alcohol. This is known as fermentation, and it’s similar to the process used to make kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, wine, and other fermented foods and beverages.
While fermented, the bacteria and acids form a film on the top of the kombucha called SCOBY. You can use the SCOBY to make more batches of kombucha. If you wish to add flavor to your kombucha (such as ginger), you’ll need to take it through a second fermentation process.
Because the process of brewing kombucha is so tedious, many people prefer to buy it online or in-store.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from crushed apples mixed with sweet yeast. Yeast turns the apple sugar into alcohol through fermentation, the same process used to make kombucha. The bacteria in the alcohol turn to acetic acid, which is why apple cider vinegar has a strong odor and sour taste.
However, while kombucha is fermented sweet tea, apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice. And while you’ll find kombucha in many different flavors, apple cider vinegar is typically just sold as-is in a large container.
You’ll typically find apple cider vinegar next to the cooking oils in the grocery store. While people tend to drink kombucha by the bottle or the glass, apple cider vinegar is normally drunk as a shot. Some people also like to mix with lemon and hot water.
Are you wondering how to make ginger shots? Check out this healthy and delicious recipe!
Health Benefits of Kombucha
While kombucha has a unique flavor profile that many people enjoy, the primary reason most people drink kombucha is for their health. Kombucha is full of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria found in a range of fermented foods.
Our bodies are full of both good and bad bacteria. Bad bacteria comes from things like sugar and processed foods - aka, many foods found in the Western diet. The bad bacteria can harm the good bacteria in your gut, leading to a range of health issues.
Kombucha fills your body with more good bacteria, which may:
- Improve your digestive function
- Aid in weight loss
- Improve your mental health
- Lower your risk of diarrhea
- Boost your immune system
When you drink kombucha, you also reap the benefits of tea, one of the drink’s main ingredients. The tea in kombucha may:
- Boost your heart health
- Improve your brain function
- Lower your risk of certain cancers
- Boost your metabolism
- Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease
While kombucha isn’t a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, it can serve as a substitute for other sugary drinks, like soda or juice.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Just as kombucha offers a range of health benefits, so too does apple cider vinegar. Several studies have found that apple cider vinegar can raise insulin sensitivity levels and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
One study found that when participants took a shot of apple cider vinegar after eating a slice of white bread, their blood sugar levels lowered by over 30%. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important because it can:
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance
- Reduce inflammation and stress hormones like cortisol
- Prevent weight gain and promote weight loss
A spoonful of apple cider vinegar is just three calories, and drinking just a spoonful of it can produce a feeling of fullness, which can lead you to consume fewer calories overall and lose weight.
Apple cider vinegar has also been used as a home remedy for centuries. Many people claim that it reduces dandruff and improves their skin and hair.
Kombucha vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: Taste
Kombucha and apple cider vinegar both have a unique flavor profile, but they differ a lot when it comes to taste. Kombucha has a sweet, bitter, fizzy, and alcoholic taste. However, the exact taste depends on the brand and flavoring.
Because apple cider vinegar isn’t diluted or sweetened, it has a really potent vinegary taste that may make your eyes water if you drink it straight. This is why most people drink apple cider vinegar as a shot or mixed in with other liquids.
Related: What are Probiotic Drinks?
Kombucha vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: Which is Better?
Choosing between kombucha and apple cider vinegar will ultimately come down to your budget, health goals, and personal taste preferences.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with adding both beverages to your diet, as both can be beneficial for your health.
Are you looking to improve your gut and overall health? If so, check out our probiotic shots!