Many people believe that kombucha helps treat all sorts of chronic health problems. However, human studies on the effects of kombucha are few and the evidence for its health effects limited. In contrast, there is ample evidence for the benefits of tea and probiotics, both of which are found in kombucha.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink made from green or black tea (or both), sugar, yeast, and bacteria. It is believed to have originated in China about 2,000 years ago. This beverage is made by adding a colony of live bacteria and yeast, known as a scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), to sweetened tea, and leaving it to ferment for a few weeks until it turns into a slightly sweet beverage. It is then separated from the scoby and bottled.
Is kombucha good for you?
Kombucha contains B vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics, but the drink’s nutritional content will vary depending on the brand and how it’s prepared. So you’ll want to read the nutrition label. Many store-bought varieties contain about 30 calories and 2-8 grams of sugar for every 250ml serving. While juices and sodas often contain far more sugar than kombucha, every gram of sugar counts. Check the ingredients and try to avoid brands that are high in added sugar. If you are watching your sugar intake, this is probably not the best drink for you.
Is kombucha good for digestion?
Foods that go through a natural fermentation process gain probiotic properties, and eating these foods may bring benefits like improved digestion and a more balanced gut microbiome. Probiotics also help with inflammation and even weight loss.
Does kombucha have caffeine?
Since kombucha is made with tea, it usually contains a small amount of caffeine. But the amount is small when compared to coffee, tea, soda, and other popular caffeinated beverages. Typically, only one-third of the tea’s caffeine remains after it’s been fermented, which is about 10 to 25 milligrams per serving for black tea. This is generally not enough caffeine to have an impact on most people, but the response can vary from person to person.
How much alcohol is in kombucha?
All kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol that is created during the fermentation process, but usually, it’s not enough for a person to feel its effects. Under South African legislation, the Liquor Products Act states that drinks with less than 0.5% alcohol are considered to be non-alcoholic. Overfermented kombucha may contain up to 3% alcohol.
Is it safe to drink kombucha regularly?
Nutrition experts say it’s fine for most people to sip on kombucha every day, but to check with your doctor if you’re unsure about drinking it. Some recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with compromised immune systems should stay away from kombucha because the drink’s live bacteria could be harmful.
Where can I buy a scoby?
Crafty Cultures is a proudly South African, Pretoria based business. Their shop, either walk-in or online, got an incredible variety of easy to follow DIY kits. They’ve also got workshops on learning how to make your own cheese, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and other fermenting things.
If you decide to try homemade kombucha, make sure it’s properly prepared. Contaminated or over-fermented kombucha may cause more harm than good.
Not a fan?
If you’re not into the taste of kombucha, many other foods and drinks are loaded with probiotics and antioxidants. Try kimchi, kefir, and yogurt for probiotics or drink green tea for tea-related health benefits. Don’t forget about prebiotics, either. Filling up on veggies, fruit, 100% whole grains, nuts and seeds can help you boost immunity and provide some important prebiotic fiber that helps your body’s own probiotics to thrive. Your best bet is to add more of those foods wherever you can since one food or drink in isolation isn’t a cure-all.