7 Reasons Why You Should Drink Kombucha Every Day
“So what is Kombucha exactly?”
Kombucha is a delicious living health drink. I’m often asked what it tastes like. The best I can come up with, is a combination between sparkling apple cider and champagne. So, why wouldn’t you want to drink Kombucha every day?!
Until relatively recently, Kombucha was a secret well-kept by the Chinese. Its health benefits have been enjoyed in the Far East for over 2,000 years. Indeed, the Chinese refer to the drink as the “Immortal Health Elixir”.
This health tea belongs to the group of foods known as fermented – or cultured – foods, and its health benefits are wide-ranging and remarkable.
“What health benefits can I enjoy if I drink kombucha?”
The health benefits associated with drinking kombucha can be summarised under seven main headings, namely:
- Immune health.
- Joint Care & Anti-ageing.
- Cancer prevention.
- Weight loss.
Kombucha is a great detoxifier. Its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity is remarkable. In one study, liver cells were exposed to a toxin that should have resulted in liver damage or death. Kombucha was also added to the mix, and the liver cells survived unharmed! The researchers concluded that this was:
“probably due to its antioxidant activity and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”
When you drink Kombucha, it improves digestion in a number of ways:
- Counteracts free radicals
The ancient tea counteracts free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc in the digestive system. Secondly, the elixir contains high levels of beneficial acids (acetic, lactic and gluconic), probiotics, and enzymes. These play a significant role in supporting digestion.
2. Heals and Seals the Gut
Kombucha has also been found to prevent and heal leaky gut syndrome and stomach ulcers. Indeed, in one study, Kombucha has also been found to be as effective as Omeprazole (Losec) in treating heartburn, gastro-oesophageal reflux (GERD) and ulcers.
3. Treatment of Candida Yeast
If you drink Kombucha, you can also help treat an overgrowth of Candida yeast within the gut. This is because the tea contains live probiotic cultures. It’s these cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the Candida yeast.
Health Benefit #2: Powerful Digestive Aid
As well as probiotics, Kombucha contains beneficial bacteria, (“apathogens”). These apathogens counteract the “bad” pathogens in the gut and digestive tract.
According to a study published in the Food Microbiology journal, the health tea contains no less than four different strains of probiotic:
- Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
- Acetobacter (<2 percent)
- Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
- Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent).
Health Benefit #3: Boosts Energy
There are a number of reasons why kombucha is an energising beverage. During the fermentation process, iron is released from the black tea. This iron helps boost blood haemoglobin. As a result, there is an improved supply of oxygen to the tissues. The knock-on-effect, is a greater stimulation of the energy-producing process (ATP) at the cellular level. Kombucha also contains a small amount of caffeine, together with b-vitamins, which can energise the body.
Health Benefit #4: Immune Health
If you drink Kombucha, you benefit from the powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL). Scientists suspect that DSL and the vitamin C that is also present, are responsible for the tea’s ability to protect against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumours, and to boost the immune system.
Kombucha contains glucosamines, which are used to prevent and treat joint pain and arthritis. This is because glucosamines increase the production of synovial hyaluronic acid. And it is hyaluronic acid which preserves the structure, lubrication and flexibility of the cartilage in the joints.
Hyaluronic acid lessens free radical damage. Indeed, it is an essential component of collagen production. And it’s that wonderful substance – collagen – that reduces wrinkles and slows down the skin ageing process. But don’t take my word for it – you can read at least two studies confirming these findings here and here.
Health Benefit #6: Cancer Prevention
Kombucha is also a powerful force when it comes to cancer prevention and recovery. The reason for this, is the fact that the tea contains glucaric acid. A study published in Cancer Letters found that if you drink kombucha, then the glucaric acid it contains, reduced the risk of cancer in humans.
This health tea is high in acetic acid and polyphenols. So if you drink Kombucha, it will help improve metabolism and limit fat accumulation.
Personally, I find that it’s also a great appetite suppressant.
Health Benefit #7: Weight Loss
“But I read somewhere that there are risks associated with drinking Kombucha?”
Since the Western World discovered kombucha, it has continued to gain in popularity. It has attracted some bad press, too. But then, what natural product hasn’t? If a substance is naturally occurring, then pharmaceutical companies can’t patent it. It follows, that there’s little financial incentive to conduct extensive clinical trials into its efficacy. If that doesn’t provide you with enough comfort, then perhaps this will. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Kappa Laboratories, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. (1995), have carried out microbiological and biochemical tests and reported that kombucha tea is safe for human consumption.
Yes, if you try to ferment kombucha in less than sanitary conditions, using unclean utensils and containers then, chances are, you’re going to encourage undesirable bacteria and other contaminants to flourish. But, unlike some contaminated meats, fish and other food products, you won’t be able to overlook a bad batch of kombucha. For a start, it will stink to high heaven! Secondly, it will look mouldy.
In order to make kombucha, you need a scoby disc. I have a dear friend who insists on calling it a Scooby, which never ceases to make me giggle. Anyway, I digress. So, Scoby is an acronym for a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. A bit of a mouthful, hence most people tend to stick with scoby, or kombucha culture.
The other vital ingredients for making the tea, are kombucha brew, green or black tea, and sugar. As soon as you mention sugar, this can send some people into a bit of a tail spin. After all, sugar is the root of all evil right? Well, not where scobys are concerned.
That’s because these lovely little creatures like to “eat” the sugar. Or, in more technical terms, the sugar initiates the fermentation process. Think of it like adding sugar to yeast when making bread. Like yeast, the scoby carbonates the kombucha, giving it its characteristic tingle on the tongue.
The fermentation process also produces vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, lactic and gluconic.) These goodies were discussed in the health benefits section above.
Things to Note
1. Potential Side-Effects
The majority of people who drink kombucha, enjoy many health benefits and experience no side-effects. However, those with compromised immune systems, or digestive problems, should be aware of the possibility of interactions and side effects. As with all food preparation, side effects are also more of a risk when proper hygiene practices are not followed.
2. Sensitivity to sugar, caffeine or alcohol.
Kombucha is brewed using green or black tea, and sugar. When fermented, small amounts of alcohol are produced (about 1 percent). Because plain kombucha is very low in sugar (about 2 grams per 8 ounce), it’s unlikely to cause problems for people with diabetes. Nevertheless, proceed with caution and monitor blood sugar levels and associated symptoms if you have this condition.
The low levels of caffeine can aggravate anxiety disorders and digestive problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Also, because kombucha contains high levels of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems, such as leaky gut syndrome. It’s therefore advisable to start by consuming a small amount of kombucha at a time and listen to what your body is telling you.
As with most health supplements and medications, pregnant and lactating women are advised to consult with a medical practitioner before consuming the tea.
Kombucha boasts many health benefits, and is perfectly safe to drink for most people provided that appropriate food hygiene practices are employed.
You can easily make this tasty brew at home for a very low cost. You can find a recipe for plain and flavoured kombucha here.
And, if you would like your very own scoby, or a complete starter kit, we have those too! Check us out at The Kombucha Shop.
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