Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast – basically the fermentative bacteria and yeasts) into sweetened tea that has previously been cooled to room temperature. It is a refreshing beverage with an acidic taste and a slight hint of sweetness.
Nutrients in Kombucha
Before we go into details about the benefits and potential benefits of Kombucha, let us first examine the nutrients that are present in Kombucha. Kombucha essentially contains probiotics, Vitamin Bs, antioxidants, organic acids, enzymes, amino acids and trace minerals.
Apart from that, Kombucha also contains sugar, caffeine, alcohol, etc. At this point, you’ll probably be like what… alcohol? But, just don’t freak out yet, the alcohol content is extremely, extremely low. Many other fermented foods contain alcohol too! And no, you will not get drunk on Kombucha. And the police will not stop you for driving after drinking Kombucha.
It should, however, be noted that the exact composition of Kombucha does vary depending on a lot of factors.
Benefits of Kombucha
- Support healthy digestive system – The probiotics, enzyme and beneficial acids present in Kombucha can assist our guts to carry out their jobs properly.
- Boost energy – Vitamin Bs, caffeine and iron inside Kombucha are essential in supporting energy production within our body.
- Strengthen immune system – The probiotics present can help boost up our immunity. Not to mention the antioxidants and vitamins also help fight against suppression of the immune system.
- Support weight loss – Kombucha was found to improve metabolism, regulate appetite and limit fat accumulation which in turn support weight loss.
- Reduce inflammatory problems – Kombucha may help reduce inflammation, and therefore, alleviate arthritis symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Fight oxidative stress – The antioxidants present in Kombucha can potentially help detox by counteracting liver cell toxicity, prevent cancers and slow aging.
Recently, fermented foods such as Kombucha have also been proposed to benefit brain development and behavior because of their probiotics and vitamin Bs content.
Other health claims found include improving memory loss, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, asthma…and the list goes on. Nevertheless, more investigations are required to ratify those claims.
As as a smart consumer, you probably are already aware that some healthy claims you found on the internet look too good to be true. In fact, you are right. Many of them have been wildly exaggerated.
Despite that, the true health benefits of Kombucha do exist. And if you are already sick and tired of the beverage options available at the moment, it probably isn’t a bad idea to give Kombucha a try.
Side effects such as stomach problems and allergic reactions have been reported. But the link between these reported adverse effects and Kombucha has yet to be confirmed because of a lack of research on Kombucha in general.
And because Kombucha contains yeast and bacteria, as a precaution, young children, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, people who have weakened immune system should try avoid it before further evidence is available. People with irritable bowel syndrome should also avoid as it can worsen diarrhea.
Like every other good things in life, more is not always better (almost never). You should not have too much of Kombucha in a day no matter how much good you think it can do for you.
If you feel like DIY, you can always buy one starter kit which includes the SCOBY to make your own Kombucha. Check out Kombucha Recipe by KombuchaKamp for a step-by-step guide to make Kombucha at home.