Is Kombucha Good For You? Here are the health benefits of drinking kombucha and the reasons why you might want to pick up a bottle.
Many years ago, I was not a believer in kombucha. You want me to pay $4 dollars for floating boogers in a drink??? No thank you. As the drink trend grew I remained strong in my resolve to avoid the potent potion at all costs. And then something happened. I changed my mind.
Have you heard of social contagion theory which examines dynamic social networks and human behavior? Essentially this is the idea that if your close friends and networks exhibit healthy habits, you are more likely to adapt those same habits. Like this NY Times article “are your friends making you fat?” you are more likely to pick up habits of those you surround yourself with. Which means surround yourself with people who not only support your wellness goals, but can be a positive influence on your health as well. This leads me to how I finally gave kombucha a chance. With everyone in SF carrying a bottle, I caved and gave it a sample. Surprisingly the strand like substance wasnt a turn off and I found my first cup of kombucha oddly delicious. From that moment on it became a habit (and a rather expensive one at that). I wanted to believe in it’s magical medicinal powers, but I was always curious…. Is kombucha really a health drink wonder?? Or is it just really well marketed bubbles? I decided it was time to investigate and share the information with all of you. Here’s the inside scoop on this health drink, so you can decide for yourself if its worth the $4 bucks!
To Drink or not to Drink: Kombucha 101
What is Kombucha? Kombucha (pronounced com-boo-ka) is a fizzy fermented tea beverage that is a health-seeker’s delight. Kombucha is an “ancient fermented tea beverage” that has a natural effervescence (like bubbly carbonation) that is full of probiotics, antioxidants, B vitamins and so much more. Basically it’s fermented tea. It has roots date back to the Qin Dynasty in 220 BCE in China and it is well-known for thriving in the health-conscious hippy communities of the 1970’s.
What’s IN it?? The ingredients are simple. It’s tea + water + sugar + SCOBY (a fermenting culture that is made from previous batches that stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).
How is it made?? Kombucha tea is made by fermenting sweetened green or black tea with a culture of yeasts and bacteria called the “Kombucha mushroom,” according to Cancer.org. It is not actually a mushroom; rather, it is called that because of the shape and color of the sac that forms at the top of the tea after fermenting. [IBtimes] After you ferment the sweetened tea with the bacteria, you get a liquid containing vinegar (which explains the sour taste) plus B vitamins and other chemical compounds.
What does it taste like? Personally I think it tastes like apple cider soda. It depends on which flavor you choose to buy. It can taste sour and vinegar-like, to some. It’s tart, refreshing, with fuzzy bubbles that tingle in your stomach – it will definitely make you burp! 😉
I’ve heard it has alcohol or caffeine? The longer it ferments, the higher the alcohol percentage, however all store brands are regulated to be under the alcohol limit. Some people report a slight relaxing buzz when drinking certain brands of kombucha, but I have to report I have never gotten “drunk” off of it. As for caffeine, the fermentation process also “alters the caffeine molecules” so it is not as potent as freshly brewed black tea.
Where can I buy it? Kombucha can be found in health food stores and grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market. I am in LOVE with all the flavors of Kevita drinks, it’s a good choice for new kombucha drinkers. I am also a fan of Synergy’s “Strawberry serenity” flavored kombucha.
Ok so I just want to know…. Is Kombucha Good For You? Many people believe that kombucha has a variety of health benefits, including improving immune system, cleansing toxins, improving digestion and liver, preventing arthritis, and even preventing cancer. Some also say that it gives them a calm energy, improves their sleep, or boosts their performance. Here are some of the supposed health claims of Kombucha according to IBtimes:
- When the yeasts in Kombucha break down the sugar and combine with the tea, it forms antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which can fight wrinkles diabetes and boost the immune system.
- The high amount of Vitamin B in the elixir can help extract more energy and nutrients from the food you eat.
- Drinking this can increase energy, ease muscle soreness, and help with recovery post workout – therefore improving athletic performance.
- Because it is probiotic, consuming Kombucha may aid digestion and boost the immune system.
- Some even say that it can cure anything from baldness to insomnia to AIDS and cancer!
Here are the hard facts according to WebMD “Benefits of kombucha tea are primarily based on personal reports and a few animal studies. There are no clinical trials or sound scientific evidence to substantiate the numerous claims. That is not to say there are not any benefits from drinking the tea; it simply means there is no evidence that proves the benefits it claims.”
Moral of the story? Kombucha is not a cure-all or magical elixir. While it does have a few beneficial qualities similar to yogurt, kefir, or other probiotic drinks, you can get equally healthy nutrition from a balanced (and budget friendly!) diet. Even though Kombucha isn’t a quick fix for anything, if you enjoy the taste, you can still enjoy it in moderation….. just dont expect miracles to happen 🙂
Have you tried kombucha? Do you like it and are there some health benefits that you’ve seen work for you? Leave your top tip as comment below, Id love to hear from you! And as always, if you liked this post, please share it with your friends on Facebook, twitter, or email.
For more facts, information and consumption recommendations about kombucha you can check out these websites:
Cheers to your health!
Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.
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