As I sit here sipping on my delightfully fizzy kombucha drink, I figured it might be helpful to write a little bit about the benefits of drinking this wonder beverage! You’ve most likely heard of kombucha by now, since it’s pretty popular in the health food industry and can be found in most grocery stores. But if you haven’t heard of kombucha, please read below on what exactly it is, and why you should be drinking it daily!
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha was first recorded as a medicinal drink in China back in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty, and was known as the “Tea of Immortality” for its numerous health benefits. It’s also been used in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Japan for multiple centuries, and is said to have derived the name kombucha from Japanese culture.
Kombucha is a super simple fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar, but can be made with all kinds of different teas and even natural additives like ginger or chia seeds. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated with a slightly sour and tart flavor, and since fermented foods are incredibly healthy for your gut flora, drinking kombucha will help give your body exactly what it craves!
This fizzy drink is created from a sugar-tea solution which derives from a combination of bacteria and yeast, most commonly known as a “SCOBY”, or (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast). The SCOBY is the most important part of kombucha, and is what you’ll likely see small parts of floating in your drink. Drink it up because it’s loaded with b-vitamins, probiotics, enzymes, and high concentrations of acetic, gluconic, and lactic acids, which help support your liver and health.
Probiotics In Kombucha
Probiotics are essential to healthy gut flora, immune system protection, and a host of other health benefits, and kombucha has a wonderful supply of them! The types and amounts of probiotics found in kombucha are:
- Gluconacetobacter – This probiotic has been found in levels greater than 85% in most kombucha samples.
- Acetobacter – More than 2% of this in kombucha drinks.
- Lactobacillus – More than 30% in some samples.
- Zygosaccharomyces – Greater than 95%.
This amazing combination of beneficial probiotics has been found to have some amazing health benefits for anyone who decides to drink it, and I highly recommend you should!
7 Surprising Health Benefits Of Kombucha
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, scientists from the University of Latvia stated the following about kombucha’s health benefits:
“It is shown that kombucha can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.”
In addition to those promising health benefits, research has found seven more amazing benefits of kombucha!
1. Improves Digestion
If you’ve ever been sick with food poisoning, or suffer from chronic digestive issues, kombucha may be one of the most beneficial natural treatments for those ailments. The reason for this is because kombucha contains high levels of beneficial acids, enzymes, and probiotics, which are essential for warding off the harmful gut bacteria that makes you sick.
Research has shown that kombucha has the natural ability to heal stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome. It has also been proven to be as effective as OTC drugs like Prilosec, which are prescribed for GERD, heartburn, and ulcers.
Having a belly full of too much yeast, or more commonly known as candida, can cause many different health issues including chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Because of kombucha’s wide range of beneficial bacteria, it’s a great way to help fight off candida and restore natural balance to your digestive system. If you happen to be using kombucha to heal gut issues like candida, be aware that the symptoms may get worse before they get better. This is a natural process where the “good” bacteria fights off the “bad”, and can take some time for your body to adjust and restore its balance.
2. Liver Detoxification
Another amazing benefit of kombucha is its ability to detoxify the liver, and help counteract cell toxicity. In one study, kombucha was able to protect liver cells from oxidative injury after being exposed to a toxin! Researchers stated that this was “likely due to kombucha’s antioxidant properties, and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress plays a crucial part.”
3. Increased Energy
Kombucha not only helps rid your body of toxins, but also gives a boost in energy levels due to the formation of iron that’s released during the fermentation process. Kombucha also contains b-vitamins and a small amount of caffeine, which help energize the body.
Since iron helps the body boost blood hemoglobin, improves oxygen supply to tissues, and stimulates energy at a cellular level, kombucha is a great way to help give the body energy and stay energized throughout the day.
4. Cancer Prevention
Due to kombucha’s detoxification abilities, it has also been shown to aide in cancer prevention of all types. A study published in Cancer Letters found that those who consumed glucaric acid, found in kombucha, had a reduced risk of cancer overall. President Reagan also reportedly drank 1 liter of kombucha a day to help battle his stomach cancer.
5. Improves Joint Health
If you suffer from joint pain or arthritis, drinking kombucha daily may be the best medicine for you. Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which are essential for healing, repairing, and preventing joint damage.
Drinking kombucha will increase synovial hyaluronic acid production, and help preserve the collagen levels in your joints. It also has the ability to support whole body collagen levels, which help reduce the appearance of wrinkles!
6. Boost Immune System
During the fermentation process, a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (or DSL), is created that isn’t found in black tea alone. Scientists theorize that DSL and the vitamin C in kombucha are responsible for protecting against cell damage, tumors, inflammatory diseases, and overall depression of the body’s immune system. Not only that, but the probiotics in kombucha are also shown to be very supportive in boosting the immune system.
7. Promotes Weight Loss
One study from 2005 showed evidence that the high levels of acetic acid and polyphenols in kombucha improved metabolism and limited fat accumulation.
Although more studies need to be conducted before these results can be confirmed, drinking kombucha on a daily basis can help curb your appetite and help boost metabolism!
Potential Side Effects
Even though kombucha has been shown to have amazing health benefits for the majority of people who drink it, there can always be potential side effects for anyone with a weakened immune system or existing ailments. Side effects have been shown to appear more with homemade kombucha rather than commercially made drinks, as the level of quality control with home brews can be limited.
It’s also possible that those who suffer from severe stomach issues such as GERD, ulcers, or acid sensitivities may find that kombucha is too strong for them. Because of this it may be beneficial to limit the amount of kombucha you drink daily, alternate days, or dilute it in water before consumption to avoid an upset stomach.
As with any new food or drink item, it’s always a good idea to start slow and work your way up to ensure your body has the appropriate time to get adjusted. Pregnant women, or those with a very weakened immune system may want to limit their kombucha consumption, unless otherwise advised by a doctor.
Kombucha boasts some really amazing health benefits that I think everyone should try! It’s pretty low cost, about $3-5 a bottle at the store, but if you’re brave enough to try making it yourself, check out this kombucha starter kit you can get on Amazon!
Do you drink kombucha? What do you think of the taste? How does it make you feel? Share your experience below!