Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage, is rich in probiotics and antioxidants, which benefit your brain, heart and gut. The healthy bacteria found in kombucha and your digestive tract absorb nutrients and fight sickness. Eighty percent of your immune system is located in the gut and the gut is considered the second largest part of the nervous system after the brain. That means promoting gut health is critical. One way to do that is drinking kombucha regularly, which may help maintain good immune and overall health.
Kombucha is a fermented drink that works as a functional probiotic, providing health benefits beyond traditional nutrition. To make kombucha, tea is combined with sugar, bacteria and yeast to begin the fermentation process. Once complete, most of the sugars have been consumed by the bacteria and yeast resulting in a carbonated beverage that contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, acids and cellulose-producing bacteria, which protect your cells.
While nutritional information of kombucha brands and homemade kombucha will vary, below is a baseline estimation of nutrition facts based on a popular brand of kombucha's 16-ounce bottle.
Pasteurization is a process in which foods and drinks are treated with heat to eliminate pathogens and extend shelf-life. But pasteurization does not necessarily make food and drinks healthier. In fact, the pasteurization process will kill the probiotic bacteria and yeast that promote gut health.
Shelf-life is another important determinant in the differences between pasteurized and unpasteurized kombucha. Be sure to drink unpasteurized kombucha within a short window after purchase. If unpasteurized kombucha is left too long, the alcohol content (usually below 0.5%) may rise.
Consuming processed foods and chemicals can lead to oxidative stress, which in turn contributes to inflammation. That’s where kombucha comes in. There is evidence that fermented drinks contain powerful antioxidants that can help detoxify the body and prevent illness and inflammation. Kombucha’s inflammation-reducing properties may even decrease the risk for certain cancers.
Kombucha supports digestion because of its high levels of probiotics, amino acids and enzymes. Some research has shown kombucha may prevent and heal stomach ulcers thanks to the antioxidants it contains and its ability to shield the protective coating inside the stomach.
Kombucha has been shown in some scientific models to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
Studies have shown that kombucha contains both antibiotic and antimicrobial components. It has the ability to kill bad bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and shigella. Protection against these bacteria may help stave off food poisoning.
Diabetes is associated with several oxidative stress-related complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and cardiomyopathy. Research suggests that the antioxidants in kombucha may help reduce the impact of oxidative stress caused by diabetes. This appears to be especially true in terms of liver and kidney function, which are generally weak in those with diabetes.
One lesser known benefit of kombucha is its use in treating silicosis, which is lung fibrosis caused by the inhalation of dust containing silica. Scientists discovered that kombucha could treat this lung disease and others caused by inhalation of dangerous material.
There are very few negative side effects of ingesting kombucha. A small percentage of people experience bloating, nausea, infections or allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. If you are concerned about how kombucha may affect you, start by drinking a small amount and gradually work your way up to see if you have any negative reactions to it.
Kombucha has many benefits to gut, brain and overall health. Drinking kombucha may help you, on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, but it is only one of many wellness choices. Talk to your clinician about other options and consider Mindful DNA® Professional—a genetic test that helps guide lifestyle, diet and/or nutritional supplement decisions to improve your overall health and wellbeing. To learn more about Mindful DNA Professional and how it may help you, speak with your healthcare practitioner.