For years, there have been questions of whether or not a popular eastern world drink, called kombucha tea, is healthy for you. This tea, called kombucha, has been made in Asia for many many years.
If you’re not caught up to this healthy, hip and trendy beverage, this article is definitely for you. What exactly is kombucha? I am going to give you a background on exactly what this tea is, explain the health benefits, and the why and how kombucha can help you to be healthier.
Kombucha has been hailed as a “magic elixir” and is said to cure everything from digestion, to arthritis, and even cancers. Magic elixir or not, I had to dig deeper and find out what the hype is all about and exactly what is in this tea.
In my findings, I found a whole slew of health benefits in one 16 oz. glass of kombucha. Some of these benefits include:
- Detoxification and cancer prevention
- Digestion and gut health (If you have a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, you may have lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D. )
- Joint health
- Immune and energy booster
- Promotes boosts in your metabolism
- Weight loss
Let’s take a look at kombucha’s benefits and I’ll also teach you how to make kombucha!
If you are wondering how to make kombucha, click below do download our popular kombucha recipe.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a drink. This drink is made from sweetened tea that has been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast called SCOBY. Yes, I said fermented which means this tea does contain a small amount of alcohol. The alcohol content is around 0.5% – 1% alcohol. Not enough to get you standing on the table and dancing each morning!
There are many different benefits of kombucha, which are:
- Slightly effervescent
- High in acids
- Contain large amounts of vitamin B
- Filled with antioxidants
- Encompasses many amino acids
I like to stay away from soda and drinks containing sugar. Kombucha seems to be a great alternative. Kombucha only contains about 2-6g of sugar per 80z drink. This sugar comes from the fermenting process when the drink is being made. It also is a great alternative to a low calorie drink that only contains 30 calories!
NPR released an article that compared the amounts of sugars in soda to your morning juices like orange juice and apple juice. Kombucha is a great alternative to your glass of Minute Maid apple juice which contains about 66g of sugar!
So now that we have a brief background of what kombucha is, let’s take a look at to why this drink is healthy for you.
Detoxification and Cancer Prevention
Kombucha contains high amounts of glucaric acid, also known as calcium glucarate. Glucaric acid is a nutrient that is found in many fruits but not in very high amounts. This makes kombucha a great detox tea.
Glucaric acid is absorbed by your intestines then converted into a molecule that inhibits beta-glucuronidase (toxins that lead to diseases and cancers) to help with the elimination of cancer-causing substances from the body.
Glucaric acid also increases the rate of estrogen elimination. This may reduce estrogen levels in your body, which leads doctors to believe that it supports care for those patients who have estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.
Studies have shown that glucaric acid can slow the development and reduce the number of tumors in animals and humans. Scientists studied the effects of glucaric acid on rats with breast cancer tumors. During both the beginning and second phases of breast cancer development, there was a 50% decrease in tumor incidence and a 63% decrease in tumor replication when glucaric acid was supplemented.
Now you are wondering where does the detox come in, right? Remember when I mentioned those toxins called beta-glucuronidase? These toxins are carried out of your body when drinking this detox tea, kombucha. Glucaric acid in kombucha binds to these toxins so your intestines can not absorb them into your body.
When glucaric acid binds to these toxins, it doesn’t allow your body to absorb them, but instead these toxins are excreted through urine and waste.
You can add kombucha to your detox diet. In my opinion, it is always good to slowly introduce something new to your body, especially kombucha tea.
Digestion and Gut Health
Kombucha is a high probiotic drink because it is fermented with live bacteria and yeast. Probiotics are “good bacteria” that help:
- improve overall digestion
- fight off harmful yeast such as candida
- promotes mood stability
- helps with mental clarity
Every one of us has more than 1,000 different types of bacteria that reside in your digestive systems. These bacteria work to absorb nutrients and break down food. It is vital to maintain a healthy flora of bacteria in your gut.
Research has shown that 30% of people who were taking antibiotics suffered from some form of gastrointestinal distress, such as mild to chronic diarrhea. With the inclusion of taking probiotics, the digestive system was repopulated with healthy bacteria.
By drinking kombucha, you can help replenish your digestive system with good bacteria to help relieve any gastrointestinal distress you may have. I would suggest starting out slow while you introduce this new detox tea into your body.
Another study done with healthy volunteers reported lower stress levels after taking probiotics for 30 days. Similar results were found in a study done regarding the effects of probiotics found in yogurt, the participants reported improved moods.
Probiotics are great for all types of digestive system problems and has been proven to help people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). They also help with several other hard to treat intestinal issues like abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
Probiotics that can be found in most bottled kombucha include:
Joint Health and Wrinkle Reduction
Kombucha contains glucosamines, which is vital in building cartilage– the flexible, tough connective tissues found throughout the body that serves as cushion and padding for joints and bones.
In an effort to avoid joint deterioration, glucosamine is needed to repair and preserve joint cartilage, a precursor for glycosaminoglycans. Glucosamine also plays a crucial incorporating role for dispersing sulfur into cartilage, a necessary element for repairing.
Glucosamines is also known to increase synovial hyaluronic acid production which treats and prevents all forms of arthritis by aiding in preserving the structure of cartilage.
Hyaluronic acid binds moisture, thousands of times its weight, to connective tissue and works to maintain the tissue structure, flexibility, lubrication, and moisture while lessening free radical damage. It doesn’t only serve as a primary component to the cartilage, but also the synovial fluid, which bathes joints in the binding moisture that creates a thick, gelatinous substance.
Due to the moisture and lubricant properties, hyaluronic acid has been associated with collagen retards, which means that it helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles too.
A study done by the World Health Organization reported that after surveying 1,000 residents of Yuzurihara, Japan, 10% of which were over the age of 85, their overall health and youthful appearance were attributed to their diet of vegetables that were rich in hyaluronic acid.
Pretty good for a drink huh?
Immune and Energy Booster
There are a plethora of benefits associated with antioxidants boosting energy levels and the immune system and it just so happens that kombucha tea contains a chuck-full of rich antioxidants.
Antioxidants are incredibly powerful compounds, found in kombucha and many plant foods. These antioxidants work to keep your immune systems strong and preventing cell damage, immune suppression, and tumors. The antioxidants found in kombucha are:
- vitamin E
- vitamin C
- D-saccharic acid-1 (glucaric acid)
- other carotenoids
Because your body is constantly creating waste, it is important to neutralize the highly reactive substances that can cause free radicals. If these free radicals are not flushed from your body, your body can become inflamed. These powerful antioxidants help get the bad substances and free radicals out.
Iron is responsible for the energy boosting benefits of kombucha. Iron is released during the fermentation process from the black tea. There are trace amounts of caffeine and vitamin B that help with increasing energy levels as well.
These minerals and antioxidants found in kombucha are known to increase your levels of blood hemoglobin when you drink it. This entire process is known as chelation. When this happens the iron that is released helps bring your blood hemoglobin levels up. The energy generated is from improving your oxygen supply to tissues and stimulating the energy-producing process at the cellular level.
Drinking kombucha in the morning can help keep you going all day!
Kombucha, which is high in acetic acid and polyphenols similar to apple cider vinegar, is said to limit fat accumulation through boosting your metabolism which supports weight loss.
Studies have shown in people who consumed small amounts of acetic acid and polyphenols everyday resulted in eating less food throughout the course of their day. The reduction equated to about 200 to 275 calories a day – an amount that would result in a monthly weight loss of up to 1.5 pounds.
Acetic acid has been known to turn on genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes according to a study done in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, which results in the breakdown of fats through the production of proteins, which in turn suppresses the accumulation of body fat.
Polyphenols is another supplement, found naturally in plants, that serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and has also been associated with longevity. 30% of older adults had a reduction in mortality rates with those who had high intakes of polyphenols.
Want To Make Your Own Kombucha?
If you are wondering how to make kombucha, click below do download our popular kombucha recipe.
Are There Any Side Effects?
For the majority of people, there are no negative side effects to drinking kombucha. That being said, if you are somebody with an already weakened immune system or have severe digestive issues, there may be possible interactions.
The best way to avoid negative side effects is to stick with manufacturer produced kombucha because it’s tested for quality control, unlike the home brews.
While it may or may not prevent and cure cancer, kombucha really does contain numerous health benefits. The probiotics and good-for-you-bacteria that boost your immune system and aid in digestion are good reason enough to consume it.
Kombucha can be found almost anywhere these days: Whole Foods, bigger chain grocery stores, even at local farmers’ markets. What’s even cooler about this tea, is that many beer bars are serving kombucha on tap. This means that you can now replace brews for ‘booch‘ and still have a great time with your pals.
If you have yet to try kombucha for yourself, go ahead and pick up a bottle at your local health food store. Why not give it a try? It could be the best change you’ve ever made for your whole body.
For those of you readers that are avid kombucha drinkers, please share with the rest of us what your favorite flavors and brands are and what makes them so great– we’d love to hear from you! Anyone that hasn’t tried it, let us know what our thoughts are!