Kombucha originated in either China or Japan. It has been used for centuries as an effective health tonic. It’s made by fermenting black or green tea with a symbiotic culture called “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and letting it ferment for a week or longer. SCOBY produces acetic acid, which gives kombucha its sour taste and helps it maintain its shelf life.
During the fermentation process, it also transforms some of the compounds found in tea into other beneficial substances. For example, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), one of the most abundant catechins in green tea, is converted into quinic acid during fermentation.
Quinic acid may help prevent cancer cells from growing and multiplying. And caffeine converts into theobromine, an alkaloid compound that may have antioxidant properties. The benefits of kombucha go beyond just being healthy; it can actually improve your mood!
A study published in 2012 showed that people who drank two cups of kombucha daily had significantly lower levels of stress hormones than those who didn’t drink kombucha. Another study found that drinking kombucha could reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Here are 13 ways that kombucha has been shown to improve your health, backed up by science:
1. Weight Loss
There are many reasons why you might want to lose weight, but there are few things more satisfying than feeling good about yourself when you look great in clothes that fit better. If you’re looking to shed pounds, kombucha tea could be the perfect solution.
In fact, research suggests that consuming kombucha may help you lose up to 4% of your body weight over time. One study found that obese women who consumed 1 cup of kombucha three times per day lost an average of 5 pounds after 12 weeks.
2. Heart Health
A number of studies suggest that kombucha may protect against cardiovascular disease. A 2013 review of several animal studies found that kombucha improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Researchers believe this is because kombucha contains probiotics, which are live microorganisms that promote gut health. Probiotics support the immune system and help keep harmful bacteria at bay. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is high in antioxidants and helps reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
Tea (especially green tea) helps protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation which is thought to contribute heart disease. Drinking green tea has been shown to lower the risk of developing heart disease by 31%.
The fungus-like film form on the top of the mixture during fermentation is what gives kombucha its characteristic flavor, making it similar to beer.
During this process, microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) form a mushroom-like layer on the surface of the water. Kombucha is also known by another name: mushroom tea. A SCOBY is a living symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast that can be used to ferment kombucha.
Fermentation produces acids, traces of alcohol, and gases that make it fizzy. There is a lot of bacteria growing in the mixture. Kombucha does contain some species of lactic acid bacteria which may have probiotics.
Probiotics provide your digestive system with healthy bacteria. Bacteria can improve many aspects of your health, including digestion, improved liver function, weight loss, and inflammation.
4. Benefits of Green Tea
Kombucha made with green tea may offer many the same health benefits as regular green tea.
Drinking green tea regularly can increase your energy level, increase metabolism, reduce belly fat, lower cholesterol levels, help with blood sugar management and decrease your risk of cancer.
Green tea contains many bioactive components, including polyphenols, which act as powerful antioxidants in the human body. It is known for its antioxidant properties and ability to help prevent heart disease. Studies also show that people who drink green tea have a lower risk of developing cancer.
5. Filled with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help protect you from free radical damage. Green tea seems to have the most antioxidants. Drinking kombucha regularly may reduce liver toxicity caused by toxic chemical exposure.
No human studies currently exist on this topic. However, studies show that kombucha helps protect rats' livers from toxicity.
Kombucha is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production and keeps skin smooth and supple. The same antioxidants that give kombucha its tangy flavor also help fight free radicals, which cause premature aging.
6. Can Kill Bacteria
Kombucha contains high levels of acetic acid, which kills some types of bacteria and fungi. Green and black teas both contain acetic acid, which may be responsible for the antimicrobial properties of kombucha.
There are other compounds in kombucha like high levels of tea polyphenols and acetate, which help prevent bacteria and yeast from growing.
7. May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that affects many people around the world. It is characterized by having high blood sugar levels and being resistant to insulin. A study in diabetic rats found that kombucha slows down the digestion of carbs. This reduces blood sugar levels.
Kombucha made with green tea may be even more beneficial than regular kombucha because green tea itself has been found to lower blood sugar levels. A study of almost 300,000 individuals found that people who drink green tea have an 18% lower risk for developing diabetes.
8. Protect against Cancer
Cancer is one of our leading causes of death. Cancer is characterized by cell mutation, uncontrolled cell growth, and metastasis. Kombucha contains a lot of tea polyphenols, which help prevent the growth and spread cancerous cells.
Polyphenols may prevent gene mutations and promote cancer cell death. For this reason, tea drinkers are much less prone to developing various types of cancer.
9. Help with Digestion
Many digestive problems stem from poor digestion. Fermented foods like kombucha can help restore proper digestion. According to a 2015 study, people who regularly consume kombucha tend to experience fewer digestive issues such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn.
10. Help with Brain Power
According to a 2014 study, kombucha boosts brain power. Scientists suspect that the polyphenols and flavonoids in kombucha may increase the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals play important roles in regulating mood and energy.
11. Immunity Boost
Kombucha has been shown to strengthen the immune system. A 2011 study found that mice given a dose of kombucha every day for four months were less likely to catch infections. Other studies suggest that kombuchas high level of antioxidants may protect against infection by neutralizing toxins released by pathogenic organisms.
12. Energy Booster
If you’ve ever felt tired or run down, you know how difficult it can be to get going in the morning. But if you have trouble getting out of bed, kombucha tea may be able to help. A 2010 study found that people who drank kombucha before they went to sleep reported sleeping longer and waking up feeling refreshed.
13. Mood Elevator
If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you already know how hard it can be to feel happy. However, new research suggests that drinking kombucha may help lift your spirits. A 2012 study found that participants who sipped on kombucha daily had lower stress hormone levels and experienced improvements in their mental well-being.
Potential Side Effects
Kombucha is an ancient fermented drink with many potential health benefits, including strengthening the immune system. You can buy it in stores or make them yourself at home. But make sure you prepare it well.Kombucha contaminated by harmful bacteria or yeast can cause serious health problems.
Homemade kombuchas may also contain up to 3% alcohol. Buying kombucha from a store or online is the safest option. They're delicious and considered alcohol-free because they contain less than 0.50% alcohol.However, check the ingredient list and try to avoid brands with added sugar.
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened black or green tea. It contains beneficial bacteria called probiotics. There is some evidence that kombucha may help treat various health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and others.
However, there is also evidence that drinking too much kombucha could be harmful. Some people may experience gastrointestinal issues after consuming kombucha.