Is Kombucha Healthy? And Should You Drink It?
Kombucha has a golden reputation in the beverage world. Not only does it have the same health benefits as tea, but it also contains many health benefits, from improved digestion, immunity, heart health, and more. But, is kombucha really as good as what it claims to be?
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years. The basic ingredients in kombucha are yeast, sugar, and black tea.
To make kombucha, sweetened green or black tea is fermented with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, otherwise known as a SCOBY. During the fermentation process, the yeast in the SCOBY breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases probiotic bacteria. Kombucha becomes carbonated after fermentation, which is why the drink is fizzy.
What Are the Benefits?
1. It can help with gut health. The fermentation process of kombucha means that the drink is rich in probiotics. Probiotics can help decrease inflammation and provide antioxidants, and improve overall gut health.
2. It can help with weight loss. Green tea contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body to help with weight loss. Since Kombucha is made from green tea, it follows that it could have a similarly positive effect on weight loss.
3. It can help to kill bacteria. A type of acid called acetic acid, also found in vinegar, is produced when kombucha is fermented. Acetic acid is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms, and suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts.
What are the risks?
Despite all the health claims about kombucha, nutrition experts say there’s not enough scientific evidence yet to support most of them.
Making kombucha involves letting bacteria grow in a liquid you’re going to drink. If it’s not prepared properly, the drink can grow harmful bacteria or mold. Kombucha’s acidity is also potentially problematic, but further studies are needed to learn more about how the drink impacts health.
The research on the health benefits of kombucha is very promising, and it’s certainly a better beverage option than soda, juice, and other sugary drinks. The FDA says kombucha is safe when properly prepared. However, if you decide to try homemade kombucha, make sure it’s properly prepared. Contaminated kombucha may cause more harm than good.