The Truth and Unknown Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea
If you’ve been following the trends in the organic health community for a very long time, then you must have stumbled across kombucha tea at some point. This natural remedy is so powerful that it has been used by ancients for so many health benefits.
In the ancient times, the Chinese were fond of drinking kombucha teach due to its many health benefits, they considered this tea so powerful that they referred to it as an “Immortal health elixir” and that was 2000 years ago. In recent years, kombucha has gained an increased popularity due to its effectiveness in reducing certain health risks as well as promoting overall well-being.
Alright, Tell Me! What is Kombucha?
Kombucha, also known as “Living Tea” is a raw, fermented and naturally carbonated tea. This tea is made by fermenting tea and sugar with a bacteria and yeasts culture. Kombucha contains a variety of minerals, vitamins, and enzymes (1). The taste of this drink can vary depending on the type of the tea, from a sparkling apple cider to champagne. There are even some brands that tend to have a slight vinegar taste. Kombucha is well-known in the traditional cultures for its health-promoting properties such as
- Increased Energy
- Weight Loss
- Improved Digestion
- Cleansing and Detoxification
- Immune support
- Cancer Prevention
- Reduced Joint Pain
Kombucha, specifically, is a sweetened tea which has been fermented with a process known as SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to make it a beverage rich in nutrients. On average, this process takes 7-12 days to be completed depending on the strength and the temperature of the SCOBY. Over 90% of the sugar is lost during the fermentation process which results in a low-sugar finished product. The fermentation process of Kombucha tea is similar to what would happen in sourdough bread (2).
There was a time kombucha was less known but today, it can be found in many local grocery stores and most health food stores.
According to the Journal of Food Microbiology, the following beneficial probiotics can be found in this health elixir:
All these probiotics work together to give your body many unbelievable health benefits.
Like we said above, kombucha contains lots of beneficial acids and probiotics which make it very desirable for overall well-being. It has been found to be effective in lowering calorie than other carbonated beverages such as soft drinks. This drink does not contain any protein or fat (3).
According to the label of the popular GT brand, drinking just a single cup of kombucha everyday will give you 7grams of carbohydrates and over 20% of your daily B-Vitamins need. 8 ounces of kombucha tea will provide you with the following nutrients:
- Acetic Acid 30 mg
- L(+) Lactic Acid 25mg
- Glucuronic Acid 10mg
- EGCG 100mg
- S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms
- Bacillus coagulants GBI-30 6086: 1 billion organisms
What Are The Benefits of Kombucha?
There is a reason that the ancient Chinese love this drink so much, it provides them with so many health benefits that’s probably one of the reasons some of them live over 100 years (4). This drink is attributed with so many health benefits. It contains so many wonderful nutrients that support the body in various ways.
Some of the health benefits of kombucha supported by research include:
1. Improves Digestion
Although there is still research going on to understand how exactly kombucha aids digestion but it has been established that it contains enzymes, probiotics, and beneficial acids known for their health benefits – this is also the reason why it supports digestion. On the other hand, it has the antioxidant property that will counteract free radicals that may work against the digestive system (5).
A research at Harvard Medical School shows the kombucha ability to heal leaky guts and stomach ulcers. This research showed that a healthy gut will have about 100 trillion+ microorganisms from five hundred various identified species. The research showed that kombucha contains a lot of good bacteria known as “apathogens”.
Kombucha contains live probiotics cultures which make it a great way to fight Candida. These probiotics in kombucha help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria and at the same time, crowd out the Candida yeast.
2. Natural Detoxification
The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is well known. One instance of such detoxifying capacity is kombucha ability to counteract the liver cell toxicity. Kombucha has a high content of glucaric acid which is very beneficial to the liver. It also aids natural detoxification process.
According to the recent studies (6), this glucaric acid which can be found in kombucha helps to fight prevent cancer. A notable Russian author and Nobel-prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his autobiography, claims that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. Also in 1987, President Reagan used kombucha to stop the spread of his cancer. Researchers believed that kombucha could be beneficial against liver diseases due to its antioxidant activity.
3. Immune Boost
Kombucha contains a lot of antioxidants that supports the immune system. These antioxidants are known to be very powerful in fighting the free radicals in the body.
A powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) which is known to decrease oxidative stress and related immuno-suppression was found in kombucha during the fermentation process. According to scientists, kombucha derives its power to fight against inflammatory diseases, cell damage, tumors, and overall depression of the immune system from the presence of DSL and the Vitamin C. Moreover, there are some beneficial probiotics found in kombucha which supports the immune system (7).
4. Support Joint Health
Kombucha improves joint health in a number of ways. It contains a compound known as “glucosamines” which are often recommended for alleviation of joint pain and improvement of joint health. This compound also prevents arthritic pain and supports the preservation of collagen. Moreover, the compound does not only support the collagen of the joint, it also supports the collagen of the entire body which leads to the reduction of wrinkles on the skin.
5. Weight Loss
A 2005 study showed that drinking kombucha leads to improvement of metabolism and limitation of accumulation of fat. Although there are needs for more studies on this, however, it makes sense to conclude that drinking kombucha supports weight loss since it has a high content of acetic acid and polyphenols – the two substances which have been proven to help increase weight loss.
Tasting Kombucha: What Does it Taste Like?
A fermented kombucha has slightly tangy flavor and slightly sweet, it tastes almost like vinegar or shrub based drink. However, the flavor of this drink widely varies depending on the method of brewing and of course, the brand.
How To Make Kombucha
Kombucha is one of the few drinks you can easily make in your kitchen. The process is easy, you just have to follow the instructions below and you will get yourself a delicious cup of kombucha to boost your health every day (8).
Below is the basic process for making your own kombucha at home:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and then proceed to sterilize all the equipment you will need for this process.
- Next, you need to make a gallon of tea. Black tea is usually preferred, but you are allowed to make a mixture of black tea with green/white tea or even herbal tea.
- Add a cup of natural sugar. Note: Do not use honey or other sugar alternatives. They do not work in this process.
- Allow the sweetened tea cool and then place it in a 1 gallon.
- Add just one cup of brewed raw kombucha. Note: You can as well substitute this process with two tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
- Place the SCOBY on top of the mixture carefully. Float it on top to seal the mixture off from the air.
- In some cases, you may discover that the SCOBY is not the same size as the container; you should not be bothered by this since it will grow to fill the container as it ferments.
- Cover the jar with a piece of organic cloth and a rubber band.
- Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature preferably 7-12 days.
- When the number of days has elapsed, remove the SCOBY and 1 cup of finished kombucha to begin a new batch and repeat steps 1-9.
- If you want a fizzy finished drink, pour finished kombucha into airtight bottles and add organic juice or fresh/frozen fruit.
- Add 1 part juice/fruit to 4 parts kombucha
- 12.cover tightly and allow it sit for 1 – 2 days extra until carbonated
- Store in airtight container in the refrigerator until when you need it.
Kombucha Potential Side Effects
Kombucha comes with a lot of health benefits. Most people that take this drink every day will probably see an improvement in their overall well-being without seeing any negative side effects. However, there are some interactions and side effects caused by drinking of kombucha that you need to know (9).
Some of the potential side effects of kombucha include:
- Pregnant women and Nursing mothers
Kombucha contains a lot of caffeine and sugar which should be limited during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and anyone with a medical condition are advised to check with a doctor before taking this drink.
There are instances of some people who experienced bloating from taking kombucha. This is believed to be caused by the presence of probiotics and potential changes in gut bacteria. You may need to consult with your doctor before consuming kombucha if you are suffering from a digestive disorder.
- Harmful Bacteria
Kombucha may contain harmful bacteria if it is made incorrectly. However, this situation is rare and it happens only in home brewed kombucha. You should take extra care when brewing your kombucha.
- Ceramic Vessel Acidity
It is recommended that you should not use a ceramic vessel when preparing kombucha as the acidic brew can leach any lead from this vessel into the finished drink which can be dangerous.
Where to Get Kombucha
Kombucha has gained popularity in the US and Dubai. You can get ready made Kombucha from organic food stores in Dubai. When buying kombucha, make sure you look for an organic variety which does not contain a large amount of sugar or added ingredients.
Otherwise, let everyone know in the comments section below where they can find the SCOBY.
Without a doubt, kombucha boasts of many health benefits. The best part of this drink is that you can make it on your own. A lot of people love drinking kombucha because of its taste. However, we have it on good authority that this drink is a good source of probiotics, enzymes, and beneficial acids. It is also a good source of B-vitamins. Like we said above, you can buy this drink from most health food stores as well as some mainstream grocery stores. If you want to improve your overall well-being, take a bottle of kombucha every day.