What is kombucha and is it beneficial? Everyone who has heard of it dies to try it. Don’t worry – you will read the answers in this piece. We will be taking on the hottest trend in healthy beverages and uncover what it is, how to drink it, and what are the kombucha health benefits.
What is kombucha?
Kombucha has actually been around for literally centuries. It regained popularity in recent years simply because the world has gone on a craze of healthy eating and is searching for alternative ways of staying on top of the health food chain. What actually is kombucha? Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. People refer to it as ‘mushroom tea’, but they are mistaken since it is not made from mushrooms, but from bacteria and yeast. So why the confusion? Simply because of its aspect. The bacteria and yeast that make kombucha what it is clump on the surface of the liquid and form a blob that resembles a mushroom. The aesthetics are what caused people to believe there’s an actual mushroom involved in the kombucha drink and the kombucha health benefits. It is easy to make it – just add the said bacteria and yeast to some green or black tea and let it ferment for a while.
The taste is not so good, unfortunately, but it has an acquired taste. This means you’ll get used to it after a while. When you first taste it, it’s a bit tart, with a somewhat earthy aftertaste. It’s also a tad effervescent, and it smells like vinegar. Therefore, bubbly, earthy vinegar is not what you’d call a special ‘after 5’ cocktail, but the kombucha is really healthy, so you will pass over all of this.
What you should know is that kombucha has a bit of alcohol in it, as do all fermented drinks. It’s not enough to get you drunk, but it might interfere with some medication you are currently taking. This is the reason why you need to check with your physician before undergoing a kombucha course. It is also rich in sugar, vinegar, all the B vitamins, and a whole array of antioxidants. The sugar and vinegar come from the fermented part of the process while the antioxidants and the vitamins are there on behalf of the tea. It’s very low in calories, as well, which makes it perfect if you’re on a weight-loss diet. 16 ounces of kombucha pack only 60 calories, a lot less than a soft beverage. This means that you ought to feel free drinking it.
You can purchase kombucha or prepare it by yourself at home. If you go for the second option, you can buy a ‘starter pack’ made of bacteria and yeast, or you can use a sample from an existing culture. You can ask around and see if you have any friends that are currently making kombucha at home. They will lend you some and then you can start building your own colony. Do it between 7 and 14 days, and be careful the jar you are going to pick to be very clean.
Be careful – pregnant women must visit their gynecologist first about the bacteria this beverage uses to ferment and see if they are healthy for you and your unborn baby.
Safe to drink or not?
Is it safe as far as pregnant women and the consumption and kombucha go? Let’s describe it to the interested general public. All kombucha health benefits aside, is the beverage safe to drink?
Opinions vary. Some heath experts warn not against kombucha itself, but against making it at home and drinking it unpasteurized. They say drinks that ferment should not be brewed at home, as the conditions are not sterile. Therefore, you risk contaminating the beverage with unhealthy bacteria. They also say that the safest way to go is to buy the store brands, because there have also been reports of some adverse effects after drinking this fermented tea. People claimed they got upset stomachs, toxic reactions, and acid building up excessively in their body. The last one is called metabolic acidosis. This is the reason why the FDA decided to take measures and caution the general audience that brewing kombucha at home is really not a good idea since contamination can arouse and in pretty much high percentage.
Remember always to go for the store brands and check with your doctor before drinking this tea, just to make sure it will complement your system rather that distressing it. Everything has been said. Now, let’s see the benefits.
Kombucha Health Benefits
- I can help you prevent cancer
Glucaric acid? Do you know what’s that and where to find it? Yes, in the kombucha tea. It helps both prevent the disease and recover from cancer. A stud published in the Cancer Letters journal says that glucaric acid highly reduces the risk of cancer in humans.
There are stories that President Ronald Reagan used to drink this tea every day. He had stomach cancer, and it was part of daily routine of combating it. If that was good enough for the president of the USA, it should do you good, too.
- It gives a thorough detox program
The kombucha has extremely high health benefits when it comes to detoxification. It comes in direct link with the liver as it works against the toxicity in its cells. A study showed how, after ingesting kombucha, the person’s liver cells not only detoxified, but were actually protected from the toxin. They maintained their everyday physiology and were protected from oxidation. This concludes that, according to the research, kombucha is very high in antioxidants. It implies that this simple drink might help fight liver damage and disease since oxidative stress plays an important part in them. Get used to the drink and you will cure your liver, and that’s not all – the liver will start protecting itself afterwards.
- Lose weight
One study performed back in 2005 showed that this fermented tea improves the metabolism and puts a limit to all fat deposits and accumulations. Indeed, there is a need to see more studies like this one before we can base entire diets and plans on the tea, but it does make sense to believe it helps. It aids weight loss because it’s high in acetic acid. This is, in fact, what gives it its vinegar-like taste, because acetic acid is also found in large quantities in all vinegars. The beverage is also very high in polyphenols, which are good if you want to lose weight.
In the ancient times, mainly in China, this tea was called ‘Immortal Health Elixir.’ The beverage itself and, thus, the kombucha health benefits have been around for more than 2000 years. Even so, it didn’t step into the limelight until recent years in the Western culture. Our want and need of eating as healthily as possible and fighting the consequences of a lifetime of processed, sugary, and salted foods, has led us to rediscover this amazing elixir.
- Better digestion
Kombucha is a good friend to a faulty digestive system. Not only the antioxidants work here, but the probiotics and enzymes in it, as well. The reason why your digestive system is in chaos is the fact that you have a lot of free radicals running wild. The antioxidants will make you digest better and faster.
Studies show that kombucha is not only good towards your digestive system, but it heals, too – it prevents and fixes leaky guts and stomach ulcers. It’s excellent, seeing how these two ailments cause a lot of distress and pain to any patient. In fact, the same studies show how the kombucha health benefits are similar to those of some drugs like Prilosec, a medicine prescribed by the doctors in cases such as ulcers, GERD, and heartburn.
What about candida? Kombucha is an enemy to this disease and it prevents it to spread over the gut. Seeing as it has a high level of probiotics, it will help your intestines grow a lot of bacteria, but the good kind. These will virtually crowd the evil bacteria and compete with them. The good bacteria called apathogens is found in kombucha – they are highly beneficial to the human body in general.
- Boosting your immune system
This beverage can boost your immune system. It is also known that kombucha decreases the stress caused by oxidation of the cells and battles with immune-suppression. Its scientific name is D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL). The reason why it was discovered was the kombucha fermentation itself. Scientists noticed something different than by fermenting black tea alone and so they found the DSL. They believe that an excellent combination between DSL and Vitamin C is a natural weapon against tumors, inflammations and inflammation diseases, cell damage, and immune system depression.
- Preserved joints
The fantastic kombucha also takes care of your joints. It heals and repairs them, and it protects them from further damage. The main reason is the high level of glucosamines. These are the main responsible for increasing the production of hyaluronic acid. This, in turn, preserves the body’s natural collagen deposits and helps prevents pains caused by arthritic ailments. There is also a side effect – kombucha not only supports the collagen deposits in the joints, but it does so throughout the body. And you know what more collagen means – younger skin, less wrinkles, and smooth skin.
- It gives you energy
Kombucha energizes, too. This “power” is mainly caused by the iron structured in it and released from the black tea they use as a base during the fermentation. Why iron stimulates the body? This has to do with the chemical process it goes through. When introduced to our bodies, the iron goes straight to the blood stream. From there, through a process called chelation, it helps up the hemoglobin in the blood. Thus, the oxygen supply is increased, the supply that is headed straight for the tissues, and by this it produces more energy in the cell itself.
All in all – why don’t you try it? It may not be tasty, but surely it’s healthy. You’ve read that already!