Did you ever wonder about the kombucha health benefits? If you did, then you also wondered what kombucha truly is, just like millions out there who have heard of it and have been dying to try it. You needn’t wonder anymore because we will address all the questions in this piece. We will be taking on the hottest trend in healthy beverages and uncover what it is, how to drink it, and what are the kombucha health benefits.
What Is Kombucha?
Weirdly enough, although we have only heard of it in the past couple of years, kombucha has been around for literally centuries. It became popular again in recent years simply because the world has gone on a craze of healthy eating and is searching for alternative ways of staying on top of the health food chain. But what is kombucha?
The exotic name, in fact, hides a fermented tea drink. People mistakenly refer to it as ‘mushroom tea’, but it is not made of mushrooms whatsoever. It’s actually made from bacteria and yeast. So why the confusion? Simply because of its aspect. The bacteria and yeast that make kombucha what it is clump on the surface of the liquid and form a blob that resembles a mushroom. The aesthetics are what caused people to believe there’s an actual mushroom involved in the kombucha drink and the kombucha health benefits.
The beverage is very easy to obtain. All you need to do is ad said bacteria and yeast to some green or black tea and let it ferment for a while.
As far as taste goes, it’s not the most pleasant of drinks, but it has an acquired taste. This means you’ll get used to it after a while. When you first taste it, it’s a bit tart, with a somewhat earthy aftertaste. It’s also a tad effervescent, and it smells like vinegar. Therefore, bubbly, earthy vinegar is not what you’d call a special ‘after 5’ cocktail, but seeing as what you’re after are the kombucha health benefits, it will do.
There are also a few things you should know about the compounds found in this beverage. It has a bit of alcohol in it, as do all fermented drinks. It’s not enough to get you drunk, but it might interfere with some medication you are currently taking. This is the reason why you need to check with your physician before undergoing a kombucha course.
It’s also high in sugar, vinegar, all the B vitamins, and a whole array of antioxidants. The sugar and vinegar come from the fermented part of the process while the antioxidants and the vitamins are there on behalf of the tea. It’s very low in calories, as well, which makes it perfect if you’re on a weight-loss diet. 16 ounces of kombucha pack only 60 calories, a lot less than a soft beverage, so drink away!
If you want to enjoy the kombucha health benefits, you can purchase it or make it yourself at home. If you go for the latter version, you can buy a ‘starter pack’ made of bacteria and yeast, or you can use a sample from an existing culture. You can ask around and see if you have any friends that are currently making kombucha at home. They will lend you some and then you can start building your own colony. Do so in a clean jar for a period between 7 and 14 days.
One tip here – some store brands are pasteurized to kill off any potential pathogen agents. However, others and the home brewed types, are also drunk raw and unpasteurized. If you are pregnant and want to relish in the kombucha health benefits, talk to your gynecologist first about the bacteria this beverage uses to ferment and see if they are healthy for you and your unborn baby.
Is Kombucha Safe to Drink?
Now that we have reached the topic of safety as far as pregnant women and the consumption and kombucha go, let’s extrapolate it to the interested general public. Therefore, all kombucha health benefits aside, is the beverage safe to drink?
As an answer to this question, opinions vary. Some heath experts warn not against kombucha itself, but against making it at home and drinking it unpasteurized. They say drinks that ferment should not be brewed at home, as the conditions are not sterile. Therefore, you risk contaminating the beverage with unhealthy bacteria. They also opinionate that the safest way to go is to buy the store brands.
There have also been reports of some adverse effects after drinking this fermented tea. People claimed they got upset stomachs, toxic reactions, and acid building up excessively in their body. The last one is called metabolic acidosis. This is the reason why the FDA decided to take measures and caution the general audience that brewing kombucha at home is really not a good idea. It has a very high risk of contamination.
As a rule of thumb, always go for the store brands and check with your doctor before drinking this tea, just to make sure it will complement your system rather that distressing it. That being said, let’s take a look at all the ways in which it can help you. Here are the kombucha health benefits.
What Are the Kombucha Health Benefits?
#1. It Drives a Mean Detox Program
As far as detoxing goes, the kombucha health benefits are through the roof. It comes in direct liaison with the liver as it works against the toxicity in its cells.
There was even one study that showed how, after ingesting kombucha, the person’s liver cells not only detoxified, but were actually protected from the toxin. They maintained their everyday physiology and were protected from oxidation. Researchers say this effect is due to the fact that the beverage is very high in antioxidants.
The implications this health benefit kombucha has are staggering. It could mean that this simple drink might help fight liver damage and disease because oxidative stress plays an important part in them. Once you manage to counteract it, the liver might heal better or be protected altogether.
#2. It Helps Your Digestion
Among the amazing kombucha health benefits, there’s also the fact that it’s a real friend to a faulty digestive system. This one is, again, the work of the antioxidants, but also of the probiotics and enzymes found in it. The reason why your digestive system is in mayhem is the fact that you have a lot of free radicals running wild. The antioxidants keep them in line and help you digest better, faster, and in an orderly fashion.
There have been researches that showed how the kombucha health benefits go beyond just regulating your digestive system. It also heals it by both preventing and fixing leaky guts and stomach ulcers. That is quite astonishing, seeing how these two ailments cause a lot of distress and pain to any patient. In fact, the same studies show how the kombucha health benefits are similar to those of some drugs like Prilosec. This is the medication doctors usually prescribe for afflictions such as ulcers, GERD, and heartburn.
Kombucha fights yet another disease when it comes to the digestive system, and that’s candida. It helps stop its yeast from overpopulating inside the gut. Seeing as it has a high level of probiotics, it will help your intestines grow a lot of bacteria, but the good kind. These will virtually crowd the evil bacteria and compete with them. The good bacteria kombucha is rich in is called apathogens, and they are highly beneficial to the human body.
#3. Kombucha Energizes You
This nifty little drink acts as an energizer as well. This health benefit is believed to be caused by iron building up in it, released from the black tea they use as a base, during the process of fermentation. This is the same reason why it has a bit of caffeine in it and the B vitamins. These last ones are known to energized the body.
The reason why iron stimulates the body has to do with the chemical process it goes through. When introduced to our bodies, the iron goes straight to the blood stream. From there, through a process called chelation, it helps up the hemoglobin in the blood. This, in turn, increases the oxygen supply that is headed straight for the tissues and stimulates them to produce more energy at a micro level, within the cells.
In laymen’s terms, as far as kombucha health benefits go, it keeps you energized the same way as coffee does if you drink it on a regular basis.
#4. Kombucha Boosts Your Immune System
The kombucha tea modulates the entire immune system. The best way through which it does that is its power of controlling all the free radicals by taking some antioxidant measures. As mentioned above, one of the kombucha health benefits is that it decreases the stress caused by oxidation of the cells. It also fights immune-suppression, and it does both things via a very powerful antioxidant.
Its scientific name is D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL). The reason why it was discovered was the kombucha fermentation itself. Scientists noticed something different than by fermenting black tea alone and so they found the DSL. They believe that an excellent combination between DSL and Vitamin C is a natural weapon against tumors, inflammations and inflammation diseases, cell damage, and immune system depression.
#5. Kombucha Takes Care of Your Joints as Well
As if all the other kombucha health benefits weren’t enough, this magical beverage also takes care of your joints. It helps them heal and repair themselves, and it protects them from further damage. The reason is the high level of glucosamines. These are the main responsible for increasing the production of hyaluronic acid. This, in turn, preserves the body’s natural collagen deposits and helps prevents pains caused by arthritic ailments.
A side effect of this process is that kombucha not only supports the collagen deposits in the joints, but it does so throughout the body. And you know what more collagen means. Fewer wrinkles and a younger looking skin for much longer.
#6. Using the Kombucha Health Benefits to Prevent Cancer
There is a study, published in the Cancer Letters journal which says that glucaric acid highly reduces the risk of cancer in humans. Where from can we get our glucaric acid? You guessed it, from kombucha tea. It helps both prevent the disease and recover from it.
Some trivia on this topic reports that President Ronald Reagan used to drink this tea every day. He had stomach cancer, and it was part of daily routine of combating it. You know what they say, if it was good enough for a President of the United States, it should be good for us as well.
#7. Kombucha Help You Lose Weight
You can also employ the kombucha health benefits in the service of your weight-loss diets. There was a study performed in 2005 that showed how this fermented tea improves the metabolism and puts a limit to all fat deposits and accumulations. Indeed, there is a need to see more studies like this one before we can base entire diets and plans on the tea, but it does make sense to believe it helps.
It aids weight loss because it’s high in acetic acid. This is, in fact, what gives it its vinegar-like taste, because acetic acid is also found in large quantities in all vinegars. The beverage is also very high in polyphenols. These compounds are already known to help weight-loss.
The Ancient Chinese called kombucha tea the ‘Immortal Health Elixir.’ The beverage itself and, consequently, the kombucha health benefits have been around for more than 2000 years. Even so, it didn’t step into the limelight until recent years in the Western culture. Our want and need of eating as healthily as possible and fighting the consequences of a lifetime of processed, sugary, and salted foods, has led us to rediscover this amazing elixir. It may not be the tastiest thing in the world, but it seems as though it’s one of the healthiest. So, why not give it a try?