We have all seen kombucha in the grocery store cold case, or perhaps at a local brewery. The popularity of this drink has skyrocketed over the past decade. But, is kombucha good for you? And, we should also ask what is it doing to/for you?
Kombucha is a fermented tea-based drink that is known for having probiotics that promote a healthy gut that is thought to be the basis for many health issues. For most people, kombucha is a drink that is safe and beneficial for well being.
Home-brewed kombucha and the leading brands at the grocers have very similar effects. Let’s see what kombucha can do for you.
What is Kombucha?
What has become a booming trend is not a new idea at all. Kombucha has been made for several hundred years, dating back to 220 BC. Dr. Kombu made the first batch of kombucha for an emperor as a curative liquid.
Kombucha is made from green or black tea, sugar, and a weird-looking thing called a SCOBY that floats on top and gets added into a new batch of kombucha at the beginning of the fermentation process. SCOBY stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”
It can be bitter, sour, or overwhelmingly taste like vinegar. Flavored kombucha can be more palatable than plain kombucha.
Not everyone enjoys the taste of kombucha the first time that they try it. Kombucha is not everyone’s “cup of tea.” Yet, kombucha isn’t consumed solely for the taste. It is more so about the many health benefits than it is about the flavor of kombucha.
Kombucha Health Benefits
Kombucha has a list of health benefits longer than most drinks. The following are just a few of the cool things that could happen from drinking kombucha on a regular basis.
- Probiotic- Live bacteria and healthy yeasts in kombucha are probiotics for the body, mainly the gut. Other fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt also contain probiotics.
- Detoxifying-Kombucha is liver supporting and works as a detox. If you are not familiar with detoxing and probiotics, you should know that your body may try to get rid of the toxins in several different ways, such as sweat or using the bathroom more frequently.
- Gluten-free- As more of us realize how gluten affects us, we are choosing gluten-free over products packed with gluten. Kombucha is naturally gluten-free, making it safe for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance or just those that wish to cut gluten out of their diet.
- Provides relief from Arthritis- Kombucha contains glucuronic acid, which is glucosamines that helps preserve what cartilage is left in the joint and helps to relieve joint pain associated with arthritis.
- Boosts immunity- Through improved gut health and antioxidants in kombucha, your immunity can be improved greatly.
- Packed with vitamins and minerals- Kombucha’s health benefits include vitamins like C, B1, B6, and B12. In addition to vitamins, kombucha contains a variety of minerals, including zinc and magnesium.
- Calms inflammation- Because inflammation can be caused by an unhealthy gut, kombucha is known to be effective in calming inflammation. Those that suffer from chronic inflammation have fallen in love with this drink.
Dangers of Kombucha
The great thing about kombucha is that it is safe for almost everyone. That means almost everyone can benefit from its wonderful offerings. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
- Unpasteurized- Pasteurization is done through a series of processes to “sterilize” the liquid, including heating the liquid up to 162 degrees to kill bacteria. Kombucha, however, is fermented at room temperature.
Applying heat to kombucha to pasteurize it would kill any bad bacteria, as well as the good probiotic bacteria that make raw kombucha so good for you.
- Not recommended for certain people- For those that can not ingest the individual ingredients or the byproducts of kombucha should steer clear of it. In addition to that, kombucha is not recommended for pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.
- Can be unregulated- Kombucha is an FDA regulated product. The FDA inspects things like bacteria, caffeine and However, home kombucha brewers may not be testing their products the same way that big companies do.
- Dangers of overindulging- Too much of a good thing can be bad. Overindulging in kombucha can overwhelming the body with sugar, carbonation, and caffeine. You may experience an upset stomach, gas, or weight gain from drinking too much.
Alcohol Content of Kombucha
Though kombucha will not get you drunk, it does contain alcohol. Having kombucha in your system could register a false positive on a breathalyzer test.
Although kombucha contains alcohol, it is still considered to be Halal because alcohol does not lead to intoxication. In addition to alcohol, kombucha often contains caffeine, as it is made from tea. Through the fermentation process, kombucha loses a lot of the caffeine from the tea, and
If you are sensitive to caffeine, and can not find kombucha on the shelf labeled as caffeine-free, perhaps just stick to drinking a small amount of kombucha to see if you are affected by it. If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.
Likewise with kombucha. If you want to be 100% certain that the kombucha you are consuming contains zero caffeine, you can make your own from scratch with caffeine-free tea.
Is Kombucha Safe For Kids?
Kombucha facts are generally straight forward. However, one topic that is a bit controversial is when it comes to kombucha for kids.
Some will say that kombucha is good for their digestive system and health. Some parents swear by giving their kids kombucha.
At the same time, other people warn not to give children kombucha because of the alcohol content. If the kombucha contains more than 0.5% alcohol, giving it to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal.
Read the Label
Reading labels is so important, and kombucha is no exception. So much information can be learned about a product by reading the label.
For those with dietary restrictions, label reading is often a way of life. Neglecting to read ingredients and nutrition facts before consuming could result in adverse reactions.
A kombucha label will tell you how much sugar, caffeine, and vitamins are in each bottle. The label will also tell you how many ounces are in each serving and how many servings are in each bottle.
Detoxing is not labeled as positive or negative because it is different for everyone. People with certain health conditions should not detox, as it could do them more harm than good.
Detoxing means following a special diet to flush the toxins out of your body. Toxins are essentially poisonous substances that we consume through food, products we use, and even the environment.
Drinking kombucha is like a detox in a bottle/glass because the probiotics cleanse the gut of bad bacteria. The probiotics are live and work to gather and flush toxins out of the body through sweat and using the bathroom.
Brewing kombucha at home has become so popular because it is more cost-effective than buying it in the store. Home-brewed kombucha is preferred by many people because of the control over ingredients that DIY allows.
For anyone concerned with sugar levels and such, home brewing means that you can use less (or more) of whatever you want.
When you make kombucha from scratch, you can also experiment with different flavors and flavor combinations. Buying kombucha from the store can offer an unfortunately limited flavor selection.
Kombucha is a drink that is not just empty calories, but actually, something that is quite good for you—enjoying a cold kombucha once a week is a treat for the body and the mind. If you have been feeling sluggish or just want to keep a healthy gut, maybe kombucha is what your body needs.
“Lemon, Mint, Ginger, and Lavender Homemade Kombucha” by osiristhe is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0