When it comes to the health benefits of kombucha tea, they are widely popular yet little known at the same time.
These benefits have been known for centuries. In fact, it was once called the “Immortal Health Elixir” in ancient China, and it’s renowned for its ability to help combat arthritis, cancer, and several other diseases.
While kombucha has been popular in other regions of the world for a long while, it has only recently gained prominence in the United States and is now found in supermarkets, cafes, convenience stores, and health shops.
The reason behind its popularity is that this sweet and fermented tea provides countless health benefits. If you want to know what kombucha has to offer, read on as we explore the fascinating health benefits of this “immortal health elixir.”
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage that consists of black tea and sugar. It contains yeast and bacteria that initiate the fermentation process after combining with sugar.
The beverage becomes carbonated after fermentation and it contains probiotics, B-vitamins, enzymes, vinegar, plus high concentrations of lactic acid, acetic acid, and gluconic acid.
The bacteria in kombucha produce cellulose, and the yeast and bacteria that initiate the fermentation process are called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).
Although kombucha is generally made with a black tea base, green tea can also be used to make it. Now that you know what kombucha is, we’ll further explore the benefits of drinking it.
Benefits of Kombucha
There have been numerous claims regarding the health benefits of kombucha but as science advances, so does our knowledge of healthy foods and drinks – like kombucha.
Here are the top benefits of kombucha.
Kombucha for Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world.
Levels of certain cholesterols increase the likelihood of heart disease. In two research studies – conducted in 2012 and 2015 – it was found that kombucha helps reduce the levels of these cholesterols that increase the probability of heart disease.
While it was concluded in the studies that drinking kombucha might help lower the risk of heart disease, it is important to note that both studies were conducted on rats, and research on human subjects has yet not been carried out.
Heart disease and cholesterol levels are also significantly influenced by inflammation, lifestyle habits, exercise, weight, and diet.
Kombucha for Weight Loss
Some people report having lost weight as a result of drinking kombucha.
Kombucha contains only 30 calories per cup, and once you get used to the taste, you can avoid carbonated beverages and calorie-dense fruit juices.
Kombucha may also aid in weight loss when it’s made with green tea.
Research has shown that obese people who drink green tea burn more calories and lose more weight than those who don’t. If kombucha is made using green tea, it might have a similar effect on weight loss.
Kombucha for Diabetes
Research suggests that kombucha can help with diabetes.
This is assuming that the tea is consumed with less or no sugar. Studies and tests conducted on animal subjects have shown that kombucha helps alleviate the symptoms of diabetes, particularly due to the presence of antioxidants in this drink.
It is even more efficient than the black tea from which it is originally fermented.
Kombucha for the Skin
Companies like Oak Bay Naturals and emerginC have released products that advertise kombucha as a key ingredient.
A simple search for ‘kombucha skin products’ turns up tons of articles about the cosmetic uses of kombucha, and you can also find a recipe to make skin creams using kombucha.
A representative from emerginC says that kombucha detoxifies and hydrates the skin, improving skin elasticity. It improves texture, clarity, and skin tone and also brightens the skin.
Kombucha combats the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
While certain companies are using kombucha in their products and market its positive effects on the skin, no clinical study has been conducted that extensively tests the effects of kombucha on the skin.
Kombucha for Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. It’s characterized by uncontrolled cell growth and cell mutation.
Studies conducted in test tubes to observe how kombucha affects cancer cells showed that kombucha helps in preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells because of the high concentration of antioxidants and tea polyphenols.
It isn’t well understood how the anti-cancerous properties of antioxidants and tea polyphenols work. Since kombucha helps prevent cancer, people who drink this tea may be at a lesser risk of developing cancer.
Further studies are required to establish more conclusive evidence since all the studies until now have been conducted in test tubes.
Kombucha Has Antioxidants
Antioxidants are the substances in our body that combat free radicals – reactive molecules capable of damaging our cells.
Many scientists say that antioxidants from natural sources – like foods and beverages – have a better effect on our health than using antioxidant supplements.
Kombucha has antioxidant effects in the liver, especially when green tea is used as the base for it.
Studies conducted on rats have found that drinking kombucha every day reduces liver toxicity resulting from toxic chemicals by at least 70 percent in certain cases.
Even though no studies on human beings have been conducted to date, patients with liver diseases are likely to benefit from the antioxidants in kombucha.
Kombucha Supports a Healthy Gut
Kombucha supports healthy digestion because of the high levels of amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, and beneficial acids.
Research has shown that it has the ability to heal and prevent stomach ulcers. Kombucha may also stop Candida from overpopulating in the gut by restoring balance to our digestive system.
Even though kombucha contains bacteria, these aren’t harmful bacteria. In fact, they are beneficial bacteria that compete with pathogen bacteria in the digestive tract and gut.
Kombucha Question and Answers
Foods and drinks affect people differently and kombucha tea is no different.
Therefore, we highly recommend you consult a physician before consuming kombucha or any other food or drink that can cause negative side effects.
Q. What are the main side effects of kombuha tea?
The main side effects of kombuha tea include the following.
May Lead to Excessive Consumption of Caffeine
Either black tea or green tea is used to make kombucha, and both of them contain caffeine.
Although the amount of caffeine in kombucha is far less than what is found in traditionally brewed tea, it is still possible to consume caffeine in excess if you drink too much kombucha.
For example, there’s about 8 to 14 mg of caffeine per 240-ml serving in GT’s Kombucha. Compared to the 47 mg of caffeine contained in a single cup of black tea, the amount present in kombucha is quite less.
However, overdoing it on kombucha can still lead to the excessive consumption of caffeine.
People who are sensitive to caffeine’s effects are likely to feel anxious after drinking too much kombucha. Moreover, some people might experience sleep disruption as a result of consuming this tea close to bedtime.
May Lead to Excess Consumption of Calories
Different types of kombucha are available in the market. Some contain low amounts of calories, while others contain 120 calories per bottle.
Drinking kombucha occasionally won’t affect you, but if you drink it daily, it may lead to the consumption of excess calories, which could contribute to weight gain.
May Cause Digestive Issues
Kombucha improves digestive health because of the probiotics present in it.
However, drinking too much of it can cause side effects. Since this drink is carbonated, consuming too much may cause bloating. Carbonated beverages contain carbon dioxide (CO2), so consuming this drink delivers the CO2 gas into our digestive system, which can cause bloating.
Drinking too much kombucha can also lead to the excessive intake of sugar, which can lead to diarrhea as it might cause water in the body to be drawn into the intestines.
For these reasons, people shouldn’t overdo it on kombucha.
Can be Dangerous for Some People
Kombucha is safe to drink for most people but can cause severe adverse effects in certain types of people.
Since the tea contains different types of yeast and bacteria and is unpasteurized, it could cause a surge in the growth of bacteria in the body that might lead to infections.
People with weakened immune systems – those with kidney diseases, HIV, or cancer – can develop severe complications from consuming kombucha.
There have been cases of liver complications and severe allergic reactions due to the consumption of kombucha.
Breastfeeding and pregnant women should also avoid kombucha as it is unpasteurized.
Q. Can You Get Drunk on Kombucha Tea?
Bottled kombucha found in stores must comply with the requirements of the government for non-alcoholic drinks.
What this essentially means is that any kombucha you buy at the store in the U.S. will contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol, which is a trace amount.
For perspective, there is about 5 percent alcohol in a 12 oz. beer, while a 5 oz. wine bottle contains 12 percent alcohol. Companies take the rule very seriously and usually go through rigorous testing to ensure that their kombucha drinks meet regulatory standards.
Kombucha drinks of some brands have a slightly higher alcohol content, but even that isn’t enough to give anyone a buzz.
Q. Do You Have to be 21-Years-Old to Drink Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha drinks usually contain trace amounts of alcohol and can be bought by people who are under 21 years of age. However, kombucha from certain brands, like Kombrewcha, has more alcohol in it and is sold as an alcoholic drink. So you will have to be 21 or older to buy and drink those particular kombucha beverages.
Q. Is It Bad to Drink Kombucha Every Day?
Many experts recommend drinking only a small amount of kombucha tea per day – no more than 8 ounces. If you are drinking kombucha for the first time, you should start with a small amount just to see how your body will react.
Q. Is It Better to Drink Kombucha on an Empty Stomach?
When you drink kombucha on an empty stomach, the microbes (yeast and bacteria) may be exposed to the acidic environment for a shorter time.
This means that more microbes might make their way into the large intestine, which is a good thing.
Drinking kombucha after a heavy meal might expose the yeast and bacteria to the acidic environment for a longer timeframe, thereby killing them, which is bad.
With that being said, it is better to drink kombucha on an empty stomach.
Q. Where to Buy Kombucha Tea?
You can buy kombucha online from Walmart or Amazon. Kombucha is also available in mainstream supermarkets, convenient stores, cafes, and health shops.
In a nutshell, kombucha is a fascinating beverage that can potentially provide countless benefits.
It might help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Kombucha may also help with weight loss, management of diabetes, and can have positive effects on the skin.
The research on the health benefits of kombucha isn’t conclusive, but it has highlighted several positive effects of drinking this type of tea.
We recommend you try this beverage and see for yourself the effects it has on your health and the benefits it can provide.
Be wary of the side effects of kombucha, though, and don’t overdo it because excess consumption of this drink is ill-advised.
Start with a small amount of kombucha and see how your body reacts to it. You should be able to notice its effects within a week or two.
And there you have the health benefits of kombucha.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us.