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At its basic level, kombucha is a stinky drink made from tea and bacteria. It can be made with tea, sugar, and a yeast-based active starter culture.
The bacteria is supposed to help with digestion, improve stress, and provide energy more naturally. It’s certainly healthier than your typical energy drink or supplement, but does it really work?
Like many other recently trendy health remedies, kombucha comes from ancient Chinese medicine. It was used as a treatment for arthritis and inflammation. Chinese practitioners observed some positive impact on headaches, hypertension, fatigue, acne, and even constipation. It has also been thought to ward off cancer.
Kombucha has been used all over the world to help regulate functions in the body. However, it has only recently grown in popularity in the U.S.
The ingredients are all-natural, and we know that certain bacteria are very good for our bodies, but could kombucha still be mostly just a passing health trend? Or is there something to it that could significantly support your health efforts?
Projected Health Benefits
The reported health benefits of drinking kombucha tea have been varied. As you consider whether this could be the right drink to stimulate your personal health or not, below are some of the top potential benefits to think about.
Abundant Probiotics: The fermentation process promotes probiotic bacteria, which is excellent for treating inflammation, weight loss, and digestion.
Benefits of Green Tea: Kombucha offers all the benefits of green tea, including a boost to your metabolism, energy support, improvement in cholesterol levels, greater blood sugar control, and reduction of your risk of developing cancer.
Antioxidants for Immune Support: Antioxidants fight free radicals that damage cells and hurt your immune system. With kombucha, this is particularly desirable for reducing liver toxicity.
Kills Bad Bacteria: Kombucha is loaded with acetic acid, which kills unhealthy bacteria. There have even been studies that link the bacteria in kombucha to the activity of antibiotics.
Reduces Heart Disease Risk: Heart disease is the number-one killer of American men and women. Studies show that green tea and kombucha bacteria will protect your good cholesterol while lowering the bad. Individuals who drink it regularly have a 31 percent lower risk for heart disease.
Lower Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: Diabetics are unable to produce insulin on their own, and eating carbs can be very dangerous for them because it results in a spike in blood sugar. A study on diabetic rats showed that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbs, which reduced blood sugar levels and promoted liver and kidney function.
The Downsides to Kombucha
As with almost any health drink, kombucha features some downsides to kombucha. Too much caffeine can have adverse health effects, such as dehydration or insomnia.
There’s also uncertainty about the alcohol content in kombucha. It’s made through fermentation, so, although the alcohol content is relatively low, there is definitely some present.
In addition, researchers have expressed concern that fermentation may continue after the product has been bottled and placed on the shelf, so that I could have a higher alcohol content than is cited on the packaging.
It may be in your interest to research the particular brands that are available to you, to make sure you don’t consume more alcohol than necessary.
What About the Taste?
Aside from the potential health benefits, how is kombucha to drink? The smell of natural kombucha tea leaves something to be desired for some people, and the taste has been compared to vinegar and very tart apples.
In response to this, many companies, such as Humm Kombucha, have attempted to concoct a kombucha brew that has all the health benefits without the less pleasant aspects. Humm Kombucha started after founders Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danek came up with a batch of kombucha they felt tasted good.
Mitchell’s husband, Eric Plantenberg — entrepreneur, climber of Mt. Everest, and Humm Kombucha’s current digital strategist — had grown up having to drink his mother’s kombucha, much to his discomfort. Mitchell decided to work on perfecting the brew.
After the makers added flavorings and coming up with the perfect brew, Humm has become one of the most popular kombucha brews currently on the market, and is carried by Target and major health food stores.
If you’re going to add kombucha to your typical diet, the taste doesn’t have to be an obstacle. If you find a brew that has a good balance of delicious flavoring and kombucha, you should be in good shape.
Extensive studies on the effects of kombucha remain to be performed, but the research so far suggests it’s an excellent all-natural health drink. It can be a great way to keep your digestive system healthy and rid your body of toxins.
Just screen the bottles carefully for extra alcohol and sugar that would make the health drink much less healthy for you. Find a mixture that tastes great, and enjoy all the health benefits that go with it.