Recently Kombucha has become a popular drink in our culture. Health food stores are stocking their shelves full of this stuff. Celebrities are claiming it as a health drink. Health fanatics are trying it. Myself being one of them. We wanted to look at Kombucha from all angles today and find out what the research is saying.
Kombucha is a traditional beverage obtained by the fermentation of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This tea has a long standing history of being used for medicinal purposes. Kombucha has been around for more than 2000 years. It is said that it originated in Northeast China and spread into Russia and then the rest of the world. The tea has been referred to as the Tea for Immortality.
Kombucha Health Claims
Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. Probiotics are substances that encourage growth of natural healthy bacteria in the GI tract. According to the book Digestive Wellness, probiotic bacteria aid in many functions including:
- manufacturing B vitamins, Vit K, and sometimes Vit A
- digesting lactose
- help regulate peristalsis and regular bowel movements
- digest protein
- establish good digestion in infants
- increase the number of immune system cells
- prevent colonization of harmful bacteria and fungus
- protect against allergic conditions
- create lactic acid that balance intestinal pH
- have antitumor and anticancer effects
- break down bile acids
- play a role in normalization of serum cholesterol and triglycerides
- break down and rebuild hormones
- promote healthy metabolism
- reduce inflammation
Kombucha is high in enzymes and bacterial acids that the body uses to detoxify. According to The Weston A. Price Foundation Kombucha is rich in B vitamins and a substance called glucuronic acid which binds up environmental and metabolic toxins so that they can be excreted through the kidneys. This boosts the natural detoxification process.
While lab studies have shown that kombucha contains a blend of probiotics, B vitamins, enzymes, and various organic acids, very little research has been done on the drink’s benefits. The FDA recommends users use caution when consuming Kombucha.
“Drinking this tea in quantities typically consumed (about 4 ounces daily) may not cause adverse effects in healthy persons; however, the potential health risks are unknown for those with preexisting health problems or those who drink excessive quantities of the tea,” according to the FDA report.”
Additional side effects reported have been upset stomach, allergic reactions, and some serious complications that include liver damage, toxicity, and metabolic acidosis. This is why experts recommend moderation.
How to Add Kombucha to Your Diet
Robb Wolf says that while there is still much to be debated about the safety and efficacy of using this drink, it’s something you may want to consider adding to your routine. The majority of information regarding dosage recommends 4oz of Kombucha daily is a safe amount for healthy individuals. The brand that I personally have tried and enjoy is GT’s Kombucha brand.
In summary, fermented foods have increased probiotic content, aid digestion, and provide health-building enzymes and higher nutritional value. The composition of intestional flora can become unbalanced by aging, diet, disease, drugs, poor health, and stress. Taking daily probiotics increases the body’s ability to protect itself from illness. Drinking Kombucha tea is one way to supplement with probiotics. It is an alternative to other widely available fermented foods including plain yogurt, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi. It is not a cure-all or a magical drink, but when used in moderation with other fermented foods most people have found it helpful with digestion and energy. Try it for yourself and drink in moderation if you enjoy the acquired taste. If you don’t, there are other fermented alternatives available.
We are curious to know your thoughts and if you all have tried Kombucha for yourselves. Let us know what your experience has been drinking it and any additional research you might know!Sources and Sites for more information: Kvass and Kombucha Digestive Wellness Crazy about Kombucha What is Kombucha? Trendy Fizzy Drink is Mushrooming Photo Credit: James Trenda