Made with our alkaline ionised water and known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese, Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of black tea that is started by using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years and originated around Japan. There are claims made about kombucha, but its primary health benefits include digestive support, increased energy and liver detoxification. (9)
Some people may find it a healthier substitute for sodas, satisfying that craving for fizzy drinks.
After the fermentation process, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains stuff like: vinegar, B-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic). These bacteria are known as “cellulose-producing bacteria,” which means that they produce cellulose, which acts as a shield to cells. (1)
There are many reasons to drink kombucha every day because it improves digestion, assists with weight loss, increases energy, detoxes the body, supports the immune system, reduces joint pain and prevents cancer.
Kombucha contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These “good” bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.
Including kombucha in your diet every day can help you to maintain peak immune health, which leads to an impressive number of benefits for your overall health.
The following probiotics make up this health elixir: (2)
- Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
- Acetobacter (<2 percent)
- Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
- Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
Kombucha Nutrition Facts
Some people may be concerened about kombucha calories. Nutrition facts will differ between brands, here is the guideline of what could be included in a 500ml bottle of unpasteurized, organic kombucha: (3)
- 60 calories
- 20 milligrams sodium
- 14 grams carbohydrate
- 4 grams of sugar
- 100 micrograms folate (25 percent DV)
- .34 grams riboflavin/vitamin B2 (20 percent DV)
- .4 milligrams vitamin B6 (20 percent DV)
- .3 milligrams thiamine/Vitamin B1 (20 percent DV)
- 4 milligrams niacin/Vitamin B3 (20 percent DV)
- 1.2 micrograms vitamin B12 (20 percent DV)
8 Benefits of Kombucha
1. May help prevent a wide variety of diseases
While there are health claims for kombucha with a focus on the way it heals the gut (which, in itself, contributes to boosted immunity), there is also a fairly well-confirmed body of evidence that kombucha contains powerful antioxidants and can help to detoxify the body and protect against disease.
Related to the disease-fighting power of kombucha is the way these antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, at the root of most diseases. This inflammation-reducing, detoxing quality is likely one reason that kombucha might potentially decrease the risk for certain kinds of cancers. (5)
A reason this happens is because antioxidants reduce oxidative stress that can damage cells, even down to DNA. When you are exposed to a lot of processed foods and chemicals within your environment, it can lead to this stress, which in turn contributes to chronic inflammation.
Kombucha may specifically influence the activity of two important antioxidants known as glutathione peroxidase and catalase. (7)(8) It was also discovered to contain isorhamnetin, a metabolite of quercetin (a natural compound tied to something we all seek: better longevity, heart health, endurance, immune system and more. Research even shows that quercetin displays anticancer properties. In fact, there isn’t much this powerful antioxidant compound can’t do, especially when combined with the health benefits of bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme.), in December 2016. (9) Quercetin is associated with a long lifespan and massive anticancer properties.
Researchers from the University of Latvia in 2014 claim that drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.” (10)
2. Healthy gut support
The antioxidant power of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create chaos in the digestive system. However, the most prominent reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids and enzymes.
Certain research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal stomach ulcers. (11)
Kombucha may also help heal candida from overdeveloping in the gut by restoring balance to your digestive system, with live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast.
Even though kombucha contains bacteria, they are not harmful pathogen bacteria. Rather, they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens”) that battle with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract. (12)
Candida and other digestive issuess can sometimes be compex issues to fix, and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. If you feel like kombucha is exacerbating the problem, consider that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed.
3. May assist in improving mental state
Kombucha doesn’t just help your digestion; it might be able to protect your mind, too. One way it can accomplish this is by the B vitamins it contains. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, have been known to increase energy levels and contribute to overall mental wellbeing.
Its high vitamin B12 content is one reason supplements sometimes contain dry kombucha products.
The gut-repairing function of kombucha also plays a role in mental health. Depression may be a major symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation. (13)
A study in 2012 published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration (yes, you read that right).
Among it’s other features, kombucha’s ability to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggests it could be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression, particularly for astronauts and others under extreme work conditions (like miners). (14)
4. Benefits for the lungs
A somewhat unexpected benefit of kombucha is its use as a potential treatment method for silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles.
Scientists on China have discovered that inhalation of kombucha could be a way to treat this and other diseases of the lungs caused by inhalation of dangerous materials. (15) That being said, it would probably be a better idea to drink kombucha, than inhale it.
5. Strong antibacterial agent
Due to the type of bacteria found in kombucha, consuming the live cultures actually destroys bad bacteria responsible for infections.
6. Helpful in managing diabetes
Some practitioners warn against kombucha for diabetics, however, it seems that some research suggests just the opposite. The assumption, of course, is that you are consuming kombucha without a high sugar load.
The functions of antioxidants in kombucha, seem to help alleviate diabetes symptoms, and more efficiently than the anti-diabetic black tea from which it’s fermented. (19) This appears to be especially true in terms of liver and kidney functions, which are generally poor for those living with diabetes. (20)
7. Good for the cardiovascular system
Kombucha has been regarded to be beneficial to the heart for quite some time, however research efforts in this area have been scarce. Although, it seems clear that, in animal models, kombucha does help to lower triglyceride levels, and regulate cholesterol naturally. (21)
8. Assists to maintain a healthy liver
The liver helps to filter and convert harmful compounds, which is a vital component in digestion and overall health. The antioxidants found in kombucha may protect the liver from oxidative stress and damage induced by acetaminophen overdose. (22)(23)