Is there anything that kombucha can’t fix? It’s one of our favorite cure-alls: from a sour stomach and an “I-partied-too-hard” headache to a lull in energy and chronic skin conditions, we’re convinced kombucha is the answer. Sounds crazy at first, but the nutritional breakdown of this bubbly fermented drink more than validates our position.
If kombucha has yet to make it into your vernacular, here’s a quick 101: kombucha is a lightly effervescent beverage that is made through the fermentation process, much like hard cider, kefir or kvass. It is produced by fermenting tea, typically black or green, using a colony of bacteria and yeast called a “scoby.” The fermentation of the bacteria creates a drink that is naturally rich in healthy, beneficial probiotics, antioxidants, organic acids (acetic acids) and nutrients such as B vitamins. Having been consumed for thousands of years, it is a traditional drink that has been used in countless cultures to help improve health. In particular, it has been shown to boost immunity, raise energy levels and support digestion. Here’s the breakdown on kombucha benefits and how this fizzy drink can change your health…
6 Benefits of Drinking Kombucha
Kombucha is a natural source of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract. They help to digest food and to formulate vitamins. They also prevent bad bacteria from overpopulating. An overabundance of bad bacteria causes a range of issues including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, indigestion, flatulence, food allergies, fatigue and skin disorders. Additionally, probiotics promote the function of the intestinal inner lining, enhancing its ability to act as a barrier to the entry of potentially dangerous organisms and chemicals.
Balances Blood Sugar
Rich in acetic acid, kombucha can help to balance blood sugar. Studies have found that consuming foods and beverages rich in acetic acid, like kombucha, reduces the glucose response to a carbohydrate load in healthy adults and individuals with diabetes. There is also some evidence that it may increase short-term satiety.
Our beloved carbonated beverage is acidic in nature. And just like apple cider vinegar, it acts as a natural antibacterial and has a beneficial influence on the body’s acid-base balance. Through this mechanism, it can help to fight unwanted pathogens, preventing infection and disease. In addition, kombucha supports the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. These bacteria, called probiotics, are known to strengthen the immune system.
Studies have indicated that beneficial bacteria in the gut are directly related to mood. The stronger the bacteria presence, the more stable the mood. This is called the gut-brain connection. The gut and brain have a steady ability to communicate via the nervous system, hormones and the immune system. And when the gut is unhealthy (due to low beneficial bacteria), clinical depression, chronic anxiety syndromes and other psychiatric diseases such as ADD and autism may occur.
Kombucha contains nutrients that are believed to support hyaluronic acid and glucosamine. Hyaluronic acid and glucosamine are naturally occurring substances that build and maintain the matrix of collagen and connective tissue that form the ground substance of cartilage. As a result, kombucha can help improve the health of cartilage and joints.
Probiotics, which are naturally occurring in kombucha, have been found to act as anti-inflammatory agents. They help to reduce inflammation in the body, which decreases the risk of an array of related conditions ranging from arthritis to cardiovascular disease.
Let’s try some: There are many brands of kombucha to choose from, but remember, not all offer benefits to your health. It is imperative that you purchase a brand that is 100% raw and unpasteurized, as the pasteurization process kills the beneficial bacteria. Second, pick a bottle that’s dark. The bacteria in the kombucha is very sensitive to light, so it likes to be protected by a dark bottle. Next, look for brands that only use organic sugar: since kombucha must use sugar for the fermentation process, we only want organic sugar to be used – non-organic has the potential to be genetically modified. To get the nitty-gritty details, head on over to the 5 Golden Rules of Kombucha to learn which brands are the best and how to shop for them.
Start Now: Drinking kombucha for your first time can be a bit surprising. It has a taste similar to a fermented red wine, which can take some time to get used to. But we promise, once your taste buds adapt, you will be as hooked as we are. To reap its benefits, we suggest drinking a bottle a day. It can be consumed straight up on an empty stomach, or get a little creative with our Kombucha Salad Dressing and this outrageously tasty Honey Kombucha Float.