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What is Kombucha? Kombucha is a drink that’s been around for years but has recently grown in popularity. It shares many of the same health benefits as other kinds of tea. It’s rich in antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamins. Here are some of the health benefits of this drink, based on scientific research.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink that’s made with bacteria, sugar, tea, and yeast. While it’s sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, it doesn’t contain any mushrooms. It’s a cocktail of bacteria and yeast. Sugar and taste add flavor to this drink, allowing the mixture to ferment. Kombucha is rich in B vitamins, chemical compounds, and vinegar.
Kombucha Health Benefits
While this drink doesn’t look or smell attractive, it has plenty of health benefits. Research has proven that probiotics promote a healthy gut, combat cold and flu virus, lower cholesterol, and can even reduce gut issues such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and food allergies. Although, these studies have only been conducted on rodents.
Rats that had this fermented drink experienced less stress and had more antioxidants and less DNA damage than their furry friends. Kombucha health benefits have shown that it can reverse the effects of stress on your immune system. It also aided in the reduction of antioxidant in these rats. Since it’s a good source of B vitamins, it can boost your energy and metabolism. Drinking kombucha can also give you healthy skin, hair, heart, and nails.
Great Source of Vitamins
Kombucha is a great source of vitamins. Keep in mind that most of these fermented drinks contain a small number of minerals and vitamins. They are only produced when the yeast breaks down the vitamin C and vitamins B1, B6, and B12. It can also break down the sugars in the drink, providing you with more vitamins. However, it contains more vitamins and nutrients than most other tea and detox teas on the market.
Kombucha contains a high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are referred to as substances that protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are another name toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism that cause oxidative stress on the body. The key to reducing them is by eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants. Kombucha contains a group of antioxidants otherwise known as polyphenols. Fermentation is impacted by the antioxidant properties of this tea, but there’s little evidence to prove how it benefits human beings.
Rich Source of Probiotics
Fermented foods and drinks contain microorganisms. Since kombucha is a fermented drink, it contains a high amount of probiotic bacteria. Depending on the concentration, probiotic bacteria promotes a healthy gut, helps aid in digestion, and balances out the microbiome in individuals. Keep in mind there hasn’t been enough studies to prove whether kombucha has enough bacteria to be considered a rich probiotic.
Manages Type 2 Diabetes
Kombucha aided in the slowdown of digestion of carbohydrates in a study of diabetic rats. It also improved their kidney and liver function. Though kombucha contains sugar, the green tea can reduce blood sugar levels. Green tea has been proven to reduce the risk of diabetes. However, further studies are needed to prove the health benefits of kombucha for diabetes and blood sugar control.
May Have Similar Benefits of Green Tea
Kombucha health benefits are similar to that of green tea. Green tea contains a mixture of compounds like polyphenols, which contain rich antioxidants. Kombucha that contains green tea contains many of these compounds and has many of the same health benefits. Drinking green tea regularly can help control blood sugar levels, burn calories, lower cholesterol levels, reduce belly fat, and more. Individuals who drink green tea also lower their risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
Can Help Prevent Heart Disease & Cancer
These same rat studies have shown that kombucha can prevent heart disease. The green tea reduces low-density lipoproteins and increases high-density lipoproteins in as little as 30 days. The green tea even prevents the LDL particles from oxidation, which prevents heart disease. Green tea drinkers have reported having a 31% lower chance of developing heart disease.
Kombucha can also prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells thanks to its high antioxidants and polyphenols. The polyphenols block the growth of cancer cells and kill them on contact. Tea drinkers are less likely to develop most types of cancer. However, further testing is needed to determine if it can prevent cancer in certain individuals.
Kombucha Side Effects & Risks
Kombucha is beneficial as long as you follow a healthy and balanced diet. But there are some risks with drinking this tea. Due to the kombucha side effects, it’s not recommended for breastfeeding or pregnant women, or those with a weak immune system. There haven’t been many studies to prove the safety or efficiency of this drink.
Drinking too much kombucha can cause dizziness, nausea, and stomach ache in some individuals. A drink that’s been fermented for a long period of time can increase the organic acids, which may harmful to sensitive digestive systems. Talk to your physician if you’re considering adding kombucha to your diet, or if you experience any side effects after drinking it.
The Bottom Line
This drink’s benefits make it sound worth a shot, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without its share of concerns. Since it contains a huge amount of bacteria, it can lead to upset stomachs and fatal disease. Brewing kombucha in ceramic pots is not recommended since the acids pull lead from the pot, contaminating the drink with toxins.
There have also been concerns about the alcohol content in this drink. Some of the drinks have been pulled off shelves because they contained more alcohol than they claimed. The chances of getting drunk are slim unless you drink several teas back to back. If you’re interested in the health benefits and don’t mind the taste, purchase store-bought kombucha.