Are There Any Health Concerns About Kombucha
Sugar is the main issue when it comes to kombucha. Theres really no need for any serving to have more than 5 grams .
If youre buying your kombucha and not making it on your own, youll also want to make sure your choice comes with a simple ingredient list: tea, a sugar source and some acknowledgement of live cultures. The only other ingredients on the list should be whole-food health add-ins like ginger, turmeric or lemon juice.
You also want to make sure the brand you are drinking isnt pasteurizing its bottles. Like many nutrients, the probiotics in kombucha cannot survive pasteurization, so youve got to drink it unpasteurized form.
There are many great brands that are brewing high-quality, delicious kombucha thats good for your gut. But as the market grows, there are also brands that take shortcuts or that add lots of unnecessary sugar for flavor. So, be sure to read your labels carefully.
Is Kombucha Safe For Everyone
Kombucha is classified as a functional food because of its potentially beneficial effect, when enjoyed as part of a varied and balanced diet however, it may not be suitable for all people and there may be some risks.
Kombucha is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those who have a compromised immune system. It is important to reiterate that there havent been many human clinical studies to prove its safety and efficacy. There have been some reports that drinking too much can lead to unpleasant side effects, such as stomach ache, nausea and dizziness. Prolonged fermentation is not recommended because of the accumulation of organic acids, which might reach harmful levels.
Fermented foods, including kombucha, are high in histamine, so those with a histamine intolerance should be wary that consuming kombucha may exacerbate symptoms.
Always check with your GP if you are concerned about introducing kombucha to your diet, or if you have any adverse side effects after consuming it.
What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Kombucha
Trendy and recommended by influencers and celebrities alike, kombucha has been touted as ‘the’ beverage to improve your health. But, how good for you, is it really? Pretty darn beneficial, if you ask most experts, including Hanna Crum, the co-founder of Kombucha Kamp and co-founder and president of Kombucha Brewers International. As she explains, it may seem like a new phenomenon, but in reality, this bubbly drink has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, ancient civilizations referred to it as the ‘elixir of life.’
“The fermented brew helps increase energy, aids in digestion, supports healthy liver function, and enhances overall health and wellbeing,” she says. “It doesn’t just taste good it makes you feel good.”
Here’s what happens to your body when you drink kombucha, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
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Possible Hazards Vary By Drinker And Fermenter
Drinking too much kombucha could potentially lead to reactions like headache, nausea, GI distress or going into ketoacidosis , Smith continues.
Lead toxicity is also possible if homemade kombuchas are fermented in clay vessels or other containers that leach lead into the finished beverage, she says.
Those who should skip the kombucha altogether? We do know pregnant women and young children should find another drink of choice. So should those with certain chronic diseases , compromised immune systems and alcohol dependency, she adds.
Another caveat? Know that an allergic reaction is possible, as people can be allergic to just about anything, Smith cautions.
And then theres the whole question of proper sanitation. Tainted batches can become contaminated with undesirable fungi and an overproduction of yeast, she says. As when consuming any ferments, its wise to stick to a reputable source.
If the color or smell is off , Smith cautions not to imbibe.
Most of the commercially packaged kombucha at the store is perfectly fine, she reassures. But if youre at some random flea market and theres a kombucha table, it might not necessarily be the best place to get it.
What about if youre a DIY-er? If you brew your own using a SCOBY, youll also be OK as long as you have experience making fermented foods and you have a very clean, sterile environment, Smith concludes.
Can Kombucha Help Alleviate These Conditions
Can Kombucha Help Alleviate Acid Reflux?
Kombucha contains acetic acid, which increases stomach acidity and further irritates the food pipe. Currently, there isnt any medical evidence that kombucha alleviates acid reflux.
Can Kombucha Help Alleviate Heartburn?
Drinking kombucha does not help in alleviating heartburn due to the fact that the drink is acidic. Kombucha also slows down the digestion process meaning that food will take much longer to move along from the stomach, which only serves to increase the occurrence of heartburn.
Can Kombucha Help Alleviate GERD?
While there are some long-term benefits to drinking kombucha, which might help in alleviating GERD, the short-term risk of increased acidity offsets such gains. Raw kombucha contains live probiotics that improve the overall health of the digestive system by eliminating harmful bacteria culture. This benefit can, however, only be a preventive measure against GERD, not a curative action considering the increased acidity, caffeine intake, and carbon dioxide gases that are in kombucha.
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How To Drink Kombucha For Stomach Benefits
Most of the world’s population suffers from stomach diseases. They are well studied, amenable to treatment with medications and herbs. Kombucha is not the last hope here. If there is the slightest doubt that the infusion is safe, you need to refuse it.
Kombucha for stomach diseases is drunk only diluted, often in combination with herbs. Sometimes honey is added to the drink.
Kombucha May Help Protect Against Cancer
Cancer is one of the worlds leading causes of death. It is characterized by cell mutation and uncontrolled cell growth.
In test-tube studies, kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells due to its high concentration of tea polyphenols and antioxidants .
How the anti-cancer properties of tea polyphenols work is not well understood.
However, its thought that the polyphenols block gene mutation and growth of cancer cells while also promoting cancer cell death .
For this reason, it is not surprising that tea drinkers are much less likely to develop various types of cancer .
However, whether kombucha has any anti-cancer effects in people has not been confirmed. Further studies are needed.
Summary Test-tube studies show that kombucha may suppress the growth of cancer cells. It is unknown whether drinking kombucha has any effects on cancer risk in people.
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Kombucha: Good For Your Gut Or Fad To Forget
Kombucha is praised by many for its gut health benefits, but is it really as healthy as you think?
What exactly is kombucha?
Kombucha is made from a mixture of three ingredients: tea, sugar, and a SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Dont let the word bacteria scare you, as the funky tea fungus has an important job.
The SCOBY begins the fermentation process, by breaking down the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol and then converts the alcohol to acetic acid. This gives the drink a sweet and tangy taste. Oftentimes, fruit juice and extracts are later added for flavor. Basically, it is an acidic non-alcoholic fermented drink. The health benefits are believed to be linked to the acidic property of the food which can limit growth of some bacteria and even have antimicrobial effects.
Investigating the health claims
Most of what we hear about the benefits of kombucha is by word-of-mouth.
There just isnt enough research to back the health claims, says Veena Kumaravel, MD, gastroenterologist on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. We may see more studies in the future, but for now its difficult to say if kombucha is good for your gut.
Determining fact or fiction from health claims starts with information. Lets explore some of the top health claims:
1. Kombucha is a great source of probiotics.
2. Kombucha has antimicrobial properties.
3. Kombucha can cure cancer, AIDS, and heart disease.
The jurys still out
Fruits And Vegetables Beat Out Kombucha
Turns out moms mantra to eat your fruits and veggies is sound advice for promoting a healthy and diverse microbiome.
Thats because fruits and vegetables are full of digestible fibers that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. For this reason, theyre known as prebiotics.
Unlike probiotics, prebiotics can and do make it through the acidic environment of your stomach. They end up in your intestinal tract, where the bacteria of your microbiome eat the digestible fibers and convert them to other molecules.
So as they eat, they grow, they reproduce and they expand, says DePaolo. Prebiotics accomplish exactly what most people are trying to do when they take probiotic supplements or drink kombucha.
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Kombucha Is A Potential Source Of Probiotics
Kombucha is thought to originate in China or Japan.
Its made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast and sugar to black or green tea, then allowing it to ferment for a week or more .
During this process, bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface of the liquid. This is why kombucha is also known as mushroom tea.
This blob is a living symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or a SCOBY, and can be used to ferment new kombucha.
The fermentation process produces acetic acid and several other acidic compounds, trace levels of alcohol and gases that make it carbonated .
A large amount of bacteria also grow in the mixture. Although there is still no evidence for the probiotic benefits of kombucha, it contains several species of lactic-acid bacteria which may have probiotic function. .
Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria. These bacteria can improve many aspects of health, including digestion, inflammation and even weight loss.
For this reason, adding beverages like kombucha to your diet might improve your health in many ways.
Summary Kombucha is a type of tea that has been fermented. This makes it a good source of probiotics, which have many health benefits.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Drinking Too Much Kombucha
Kombucha isnt some magical elixir that will cure what ails you. Drink too much, and you may also leave yourself more prone to headaches, gastrointestinal discomfort, and other side effects.
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from green or black tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. That description of kombucha, which comes from a review published in December 2015 in the Journal of Chemistry, may sound strange, but the beverage is gaining popularity throughout the United States and for good reason.
The fermented process of brewing kombucha makes it a potential source of probiotics, which are live organisms that help balance good and bad bacteria in the gut. Proposed benefits of kombucha include its potential to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and increase metabolism, according to the aforementioned review.
Its important to note that there is not a wealth of human research on the potential health benefits of kombucha, as the Cleveland Clinic points out. Nonetheless, its possible to speculate on its benefits given what the drink is made of, says Alissia Zenhausern-Pfeiffer, MD, a licensed naturopathic medical doctor practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona.
How Much Kombucha Tea Should You Drink Per Day
Though kombucha is safe for most people, its best to limit your intake for several reasons.
It can be high in calories and sugar, so overindulging isnt the best choice for your health.
To reap the benefits of kombucha without consuming too many calories, limit your intake to one to two 8-ounce servings per day.
Its important to note that most kombucha bottles contain two servings 16 ounces or about 480 ml.
Choose high-quality, low-calorie, low-sugar products stored in dark glass containers. This packaging protects the probiotics from light damage.
Pick a kombucha that delivers no more than 50 calories per serving to keep liquid calorie intake in check.
Summary Limiting your kombucha intake to one or two servings per day is best. Focus on products that are high in quality and low in calories and sugar.
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Kombucha Benefits Plus How To Make This Gut
Known as the Immortal Health Elixir by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and your gut.
How does this ancient drink make such a huge difference in your body?
Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of living healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.
Since 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, and the digestive system is the second largest part of your neurological system, its no surprise that the gut is considered the second brain.
If you already eat a whole foods based diet, drinking kombucha regularly is a great addition that can help you maintain peak immune health, which trickles down into an impressive number of benefits for your overall health.
The Antioxidants In Kombucha Can Help You Stay Healthy
Past packing a probiotic punch, just how much kombucha can keep you well is a bit murky. As with other teas, you can sip a slew of antioxidants and polyphenols.
These compounds support healthy cell function and help you stay healthy overall, but commercial brews may not supply as much, says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., author of Dressing on the Side . Check labels to make sure you’re choosing kombucha versus a kombucha-like product and look for actual tea in the ingredients list. Or you can simply drink green tea for tea-related health benefits.
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Is Kombucha Bad For Your Teeth
Kombuchas acidity is potentially problematic, but further studies are needed to learn more about how the drink impacts oral health. We can speculate that kombuchas low pH, which is similar to that of soda, can have a comparable effect, says Clarisa Amarillas Gastelum, assistant professor in the Department of General Dentistry at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.
Low pH beverages may compromise the tooth enamel and increase the likelihood of tooth discoloration when drinking highly pigmented beverages, she says. But this doesnt necessarily mean you need to ditch kombucha altogether. To protect your teeth, Gastelum recommends drinking your kombucha in one sitting rather than sipping throughout the day, using a straw and rinsing your mouth with water after finishing.
Kombucha Is High In Probiotics
Probiotics are an essential part of your gut and digestive health. But the standard diet rich in processed foods and sugars can kill off the probiotics in your gut.
This makes it harder for your body to digest food and get the nutrients it needs to thrive.
The average kombucha contains more than a billion natural probiotics. While this isnt as many as a probiotics supplement, most people find that their body responds better to the buch.
Think of it this way. When you take a pill or supplement, it slowly dissolves in your stomach with help from your stomach acid. Once its broken down, whatever the acid hasnt killed off gets absorbed into your system.
Kombucha gets absorbed by your colon almost immediately. It then deposits the probiotics where they need to go without exposing them to harsh stomach acid.
But heres the real kickeryou can combine kombucha with your probiotic supplements. And you can do it without worrying about overloading your system!
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The Drink Has Antibacterial Properties
During the fermentation process, the tea develops a high amount of acetic acid, a compound commonly found in vinegar.
But this acid does more than contribute to the tangy taste of the drink. It also helps kill bacteria and harmful microbes growing in your gut.
Antibiotics kill off the beneficial bacteria and probiotics in your digestive tract. This can make it harder for you to digest food after a round of treatment. Worse, it can make you feel off for weeks after you finish your pills.
But kombucha helps get rid of small amounts of bad yeast and microbes that can make you feel ill. And it does this without destroying the probiotic levels in your digestive tract.
Its not a substitute for antibiotics and you should never use it instead of seeing your doctor. But it can still help you keep your body functioning properly.
So Just How Much Kombucha Should You Drink
Too much of anything is bad for you, of course. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that four ounces of kombucha can be safely consumed one to three times a day.
That means you shouldnt consume more than 12 ounces of kombucha a day, says Smith, who points out that the average bottle of commercially prepared kombucha exceeds a daily, single serving at 16 ounces.
We just dont have a lot of research identifying optimal quantities, or even benefits and risks of many probiotic foods, she notes.
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Who Shouldnt Drink Kombucha
Be mindful that while kombucha might be beneficial for some people in moderate amounts, certain people should avoid it.
To be clear, there havent been any large-scale studies examining the effects of kombucha in pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and a definitive recommendation has not been reached, says Casey Seiden, RD, CDE, who is based in New York City. Some pregnant women might choose to avoid kombucha because theres a small amount of alcohol from the fermentation process. Others may consult their doctor and find its safe to drink during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are advised to not consume any alcohol-containing beverages however, given the very small amount present, drinking kombucha is seen as a personal choice, with the guidance of your doctor, during pregnancy, explains Seiden. For this same reason, registered dietitians dont recommend that children drink kombucha.
Because of the acidic nature of the beverage, those who have liver or kidney disease should also avoid kombucha. Additionally, people who have a compromised immune system, such as the elderly and those with HIV or cancer should avoid kombucha, warns Seiden. This beverage is unpasteurized, so it could lead to food poisoninglike illness, she continues.
To err on the side of caution, you may also choose to avoid this beverage if you have an alcohol dependency.
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