What’s the deal with kombucha?
Kombucha seems to be all the rage these days, especially as the hot summer days hit us and many prefer to opt out of alcoholic beverages.
Though this sparkling beverage has made its recent comeback, it is not new. In fact, it's quite ancient, as it has been consumed for thousands of years.
Originating in Asia, kombucha is a fermented tea drink using strains of yeast, bacteria, and sugar. This fermentation process is what makes the drink carbonated and creates beneficial bacteria or microbes, also known as probiotics.
As it continues to gain popularity, one might be wondering how kombucha may contribute to health?
Though studies are lacking when it comes to the benefits of kombucha, many of the compounds found in kombucha have been studied and associated with health benefits such as improved cholesterol levels, blood sugar regulation, lowered inflammation, and improved gut and liver function.
Today we are sharing with you 6 ways kombucha may provide benefits to your health!
If you're already a fan of kombucha, carry on, and if you're still reluctant this may be the boost you need to give it another try!
Supports Gut Health
Kombucha is most well known for its gut health benefits due to its probiotic content created from the fermentation process. Probiotics are live organisms that live in the gut and provide beneficial effects to the host. Bacterial populations such as lactobacillus have been identified in kombucha suggesting possible benefits for overall digestion as probiotics can help to improve digestive symptoms and conditions such as constipation, IBS, and inflammatory bowel disease (1)(2)(3).
Though more studies are needed to confirm the probiotic benefits obtained from kombucha, it may still be a beneficial drink to include to support your gut but also other areas of health as well.
Most of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties found in kombucha come from the tea itself, as kombucha is most commonly made using green or black tea.
Antioxidants are compounds that counteract the effects of free radicals, compounds that can damage our tissues and cells when produced in excess. This means consuming plenty of antioxidant rich foods and drinks can help to slow and prevent damage caused by chronic exposure to inflammatory chemicals.
Chronic inflammation is a common denominator for all chronic disease and illness and also associated with accelerated aging.
Kombucha's anti-inflammatory effects may stem from a variety of factors such as its gut healing properties but also its antioxidant content from its polyphenols and flavonoids (4). The amount of antioxidants obtained will vary depending on the type of tea brewed. For example, green tea has been shown to provide the highest amount of antioxidants, with slightly lower levels found in red and white tea and the lowest measured in black tea.
Aids the liver
Green juice isn't your only detox drink, kombucha may also help your liver's detoxification process as well!
Though human studies are lacking at this time, this is promising news to support kombucha as a potential liver support in humans as well.
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
This may stem from the antioxidant properties of tea, particularly green tea, which can help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (9).
However, it's not just the antioxidants. Probiotics and other nutrients created from the fermentation process have also been associated with favorable heart health and lowered risk of developing heart disease by potentially reducing blood pressure and cholesterol markers (9)(10)(11).
Support Neurological Health
Can kombucha benefit the brain? It may.
This fizzy drink may indirectly help support mood by promoting good gut health through probiotic consumption. The gut-brain connection is now thoroughly backed by scientific research highlighting the significant influence these organs have on one another. The vagus nerve acts as a highway between the two allowing conversation to happen between the brain and digestive system.
As we know that most serotonin is actually manufactured in the gut, roughly 95%, we cannot neglect or overlook digestive health while addressing neurological issues and improving mental health.
The state of our microbial health has been shown to influence our mood and cognitive function through various mechanisms such as antioxidant and inflammatory activity, glycemic control, nutritional status, and the production of chemicals such as GABA and serotonin (13).
May Improve Immunity
If you've been a reader of ours for some time now you will know how connected gut health is to immunity, as the vast majority of our immune system resides in our digestive system. So it makes sense as to why kombucha may indirectly help support our immune system via the good bacteria it provides us with.
Also known as probiotics, these bacteria strengthen our immune defence mechanisms by helping to protect the intestinal lining, boost immune cells, and regulate and enhance the immune response in order to fight off pathogens and protect the body (14)(15).
So what's the conclusion about kombucha? Kombucha is a healthy alternative to drinks like pop and alcohol and that may likely transfer beneficial health effects when consumed in moderate amounts. Lucky for you there are many flavors and varieties of kombucha tea on the market and you can even make it yourself if you are feeling up for a challenge.