Kombucha Uncensored: What This Drink Is, Its Health Benefits, And The Potential Risks

Avatar By Alexa Sooter | 30 August 2019 879 views
kombucha health benefits

Discover What Kombucha Is… How It Can Boost Your Health… And The Risks To Watch Out For

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If you’ve been to a grocery store in the last few years, you’ve probably seen displays of kombucha. It’s seen a meteoric rise in popularity recently, especially in America.

But if you’re not quite sure what kombucha is, you’re not alone.

Despite its sudden popularity, kombucha is still something of a mystery to many of us. It often resembles a cross between tea and orange juice. And, in some cases, that might almost be an accurate description. 

Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that most likely started in China about two millennia ago. Some variations are made with a combination of fruit juice and tea -– either black of green.

All kombucha, however, is made by adding sugar, yeast, and live bacteria cultures to the liquid base and then letting it ferment.

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Once the drink has fermented, the yeast and bacteria form a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), which is then removed. The drink may or may not be filtered, and then it is bottled for sale.

Don’t let the idea of live bacteria cultures gross you out, though. That’s the exact same thing found in yogurt and kefir that give them their probiotic properties.

And that’s the exact same benefit these live cultures bring to kombucha.

What Do Probiotics Do?

You’ve probably heard that some people have a “healthy gut” and some do not. Or you might have heard about the importance of a “healthy microbiome.”

That’s just another way to say that it’s important to have healthy bacteria in your gut. 

Probiotics are – as far as modern science has found – the best way to give your stomach the healthy bacteria it needs. Products like yogurt, certain cheeses, and now kombucha are easy ways to take in probiotics. 

All of these healthy bacteria improves your digestion. This, in turn, decreases your chances of feeling bloated, ensures you get as many nutrients as possible from your food, and improves the way your body gets rid of waste.

Unlike cheese and yogurt, however, kombucha is dairy-free and largely vegan-friendly. This allows new demographics of people access to the benefits of probiotics.

The drink is also easier to fit into your daily diet. With its tangy flavor and faint natural carbonation, it can quickly become a go-to replacement for soda.

So Is Kombucha Healthy?

Healthy is a very subjective term. But, in short, yes.

Kombucha has no dairy, no gluten, and no nuts. Although some producers mix in fruit juice, kombucha is largely just made of tea, sugar, yeast, and the bacteria cultures.

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The drink also contains a decent number of B vitamins. These are the vitamins that boost your metabolism and increase your energy levels.

They also keep your hair, skin, and nails strong. One bottle of kombucha isn’t the same as a supplement, of course. But it’s a more beneficial alternative to many other drinks on the market.

Kombucha can be a little sugar-heavy, however. Unless you have a go-to kombucha brand, it’s always a good idea to carefully read the label before grabbing a bottle.

This is especially true for diabetics, who may not handle the drink’s sugar content very well. 

Some medical experts also warn that the live bacteria cultures can have negative effects on certain groups of people. They recommend that any pregnant or nursing women, or people with a compromised immune system, should avoid the drink.

What Do The Studies Say About Kombucha?

Unfortunately, there haven’t been that many studies done on kombucha. Even fewer studies have been performed on humans.

And while animal tests gives researchers some idea of the drink’s effects, there are always differences between human and animal trials. 

Right now, some people claim that kombucha helps heal stomach issues, heart issues, and even chronic conditions. And the drink might very well do that.

But there’s currently no science to back up the claims. The few studies referenced in these claims rely more on the positive effects of probiotics than on the impact of kombucha itself.

Doesn’t Fermentation Produce Alcohol?

Alcohol is usually a byproduct of fermentation. But, for the most part, kombucha contains less than .5% alcohol by volume.

By American federal law, drinks must be under .5% alcohol by volume if they’re to be sold as nonalcoholic. Kombucha meets that requirement.

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Of course, there are boozier versions on the market. And the drink’s unique taste has made it a popular add-in for a number of cocktails.

But the alcoholic versions are marketed, regulated, and sold in the same fashion as any other adult beverage. 

The bottles of kombucha anyone can buy at the grocery store aren’t going to get you drunk. You’re more likely to get buzzed on your mouthwash than a bottle of kombucha.

But there is still a trace amount of alcohol in the drink, which may cause problems for people of certain faiths or with certain food restrictions. This is another reason you should read the label on your kombucha before heading to the register.

Is Kombucha Caffeinated?

Kombucha contains caffeine, but it’s not likely to replace your morning coffee any time soon

The drink is usually made with either black or green tea. Eight ounces of either one has about half the caffeine of an eight-ounce cup of coffee.

Will The Fermentation Hurt My Stomach Or Teeth?

Some people find that kombucha’s combination of tart and sweet takes some time to get used to. Others have found that the vaguely acidic nature of the drink upsets their stomach if they drink more than four or six ounces in a day.

It all depends on your individual tastes and how your body reacts to the drink. 

Kombucha has roughly the same acidity of canned soda. This can cause dental damage if you don’t brush your teeth regularly.

If you already have a regular soda habit, however, you may find that the slightly lower sugar content actually help you better care for your teeth.

The Takeaway

People love touting miracle cures these days… and kombucha got swept up that trend. It’s been credited with everything from promoting heart health to curing chronic conditions. 

It can’t do any of those things. And researchers still aren’t sure what, if any, massive health benefits kombucha has to offer. 

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But if you already have a soda habit, kombucha could be your key to healthier choices. It has the fizz you’re used to, but with less sugar. And the low-level benefits are just icing on the cake. 

Critics worry that the drink may affect weakened immune systems. And that’s not something to take lightly.

If you’re in this situation – or if you are pregnant or nursing – talking to a doctor is a good idea before jumping on the kombucha bandwagon. 

But if your immune system is going strong, kombucha is certainly something you should try. Its unique range of flavors can’t be beat.

This drink has been refreshing people for two thousand years. And it might be time for it to do the same for you.

 

kombucha health benefits
Milk kefir grains on wooden spoon on top of a jar of kefir, photographed with natural light (Selective Focus, Focus in the middle of the kefir grains)

How To Get 4 Probiotic “Superstrains” That Complement Your New Kombucha Find

The probiotics in kombucha are a great start to better gut health.

I say start because while kombucha does have some probiotics in it… 

It doesn’t have all of the strains that have been scientifically proven to help you lose weight and keep it off.

And if you and I are being honest here, that’s what we’re both interested in, right?

So if you’re looking for those probiotic “superstrains”… 

The ones that doctors recommend for their patients… 

Check out these 4 “superstrains.”

They were personally recommended by Dr. Steven Masley, a famous TV doctor who runs his own weight loss practice in Florida… 

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Here’s a quick story from his show about how he discovered them, how much of each to take, and the ONLY probiotic on the market that has all four of them:

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