Is Kombucha Good for You?
Kombucha has quickly become a health fad. Yet, many health fads are precisely that — just fads. So, does it live up to the hype? Is kombucha actually good for you, like many people and companies claim?
We’re about to find out.
We did our research, so you don’t have to. Let’s get to the bottom of the kombucha debate once and for all.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fizzy tea drink. First brewed in China thousands of years ago, this drink has spread worldwide, with health fanatics going nuts over it. It’s gained a reputation as a beneficial health and energy drink. Some people claim it prevents hair loss, cancer, and more. Yet, let’s be clear here — these are just claims. The scientific evidence doesn’t fully indicate if this is true or not.
Generally, kombucha is made using sugar, yeast, and black tea. It takes over a week for this mixture to set before you can drink it. As this mixture sits, bacteria, acid, and alcohol (only in small amounts) form. This is the same process used to ferment various foods, such as kimchi and yogurt. The bacteria and acid form what is known as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). This SCOBY can be used to re-create even more kombucha in the future.
Overall, many claim kombucha is beneficial for its probiotic effects, leading many to say it boosts digestion and immunity. So, what’s the deal? Are these claims true or not?
The Pros and Cons of Kombucha
Let’s lay it all out! Below you’ll find the proven pros of kombucha, along with the cons.
- Kombucha has lactic-acid bacteria, which can have probiotic effects.
- When kombucha is made with green tea, it can have similar benefits, such as increased antioxidants. Antioxidants can prevent the body from dangerous free radicals, provide a metabolic boost, and better blood sugar control.
- It may have anti-bacterial properties due to the black and green tea contents.
- It may contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease. This is because tea can improve cholesterol markers relating to heart disease.
- According to research, it may have anti-cancer properties. However, more research is needed to solidify these claims.
- It contains various B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6, and B12. The B vitamins are essential for cell metabolism, good energy levels, brain function, and more.
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- It’s expensive.
- More research is needed on the above health claims outlined in the ‘pros’ section above to solidify these claims truly.
- The bacteria in kombucha may be harmful during pregnancy.
- It’s a very acidic beverage that may cause harm to a person’s dental health if overconsumed.
- If made at home, contamination or over-fermentation may occur, which can be unsafe to consume.
- It can lead to overconsumption of caffeine, leading to sleep issues.
- It may cause bloating or other digestive issues after consumption.
- It can lead to excess caloric consumption, leading to weight gain.
For the general population, it appears that kombucha may have some advantages to improving health. However, like anything, too much can be detrimental, especially when it comes to your dental health. Moderate consumption is highly encouraged, which means having this drink on occasion or when carefully made in batches at home.
It’s also important to note that kombucha contains caffeine. Thus, it probably shouldn’t be consumed later on in the day. If you do drink it after 2 pm, you may have difficulty sleeping.
Experts further recommend consuming no more than two servings or 480 ml of kombucha per day.
Is there anyone that should stay away from drinking kombucha? It’s recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women to steer clear of kombucha due to the bacterial content. Further, diabetic individuals or individuals with poor blood sugar regulation may benefit from avoiding this drink. Kombucha contains a high amount of sugar which can cause issues with blood sugar regulation. Overconsumption, like most foods and beverages, may also lead to excess calories, leading to possible weight gain.
Lastly, people with immune disorders or weakened immune systems likely shouldn’t drink kombucha, such as those with cancer, kidney issues, and HIV/AIDs.
If you make kombucha at home, ensure you let it set in an area where contamination is unlikely to take place. Homemade kombucha can be very yummy, but it can also go very wrong. Follow the instructions closely!
So, Go Ahead. Enjoy Your Kombucha!
But be aware of the dangers behind it and who shouldn’t consume it. It may also prove best to take the health benefits with a grain of salt. More studies and research needs to be completed to support these claims fully.
All in all, one or two kombuchas a day is unlikely to cause any harm. If you truly enjoy this refreshing beverage, then you can go ahead and enjoy it while keeping in mind the suggested precautions around it.