Kombucha is a fermented infusion that has been consumed for hundreds of years, but has once again gained fame in the Western world for its probiotic properties. Some say that it is the perfect combination of the benefits of a vegetable infusion with the addition of yeasts and potentially beneficial bacteria for our body.
Kombucha infusion also contains antioxidants that reduce premature aging and prevent diseases related to the presence of free radicals. In this article we have wanted to bring together the main advantages of its consumption, based on research carried out in different reference organizations.
Healthy properties of kombucha
When analyzing the possible properties of kombucha, we wanted to bring together recent research, carried out both in humans and in the laboratory and animals, so that we can offer truthful information about the possibilities of this drink, considered in many Western countries (especially in the United States), as a “superfood”.
1. High antioxidant content
The future of medicine is based on a diet high in antioxidant foods, since they are able to reduce the activity of the famous free radicals, molecules that cause cellular oxidation and cause a multitude of serious diseases.
The consumption of kombucha, rich in antioxidants from green tea, favors its presence in the body, reduces the content of free radicals and improves the functioning of our organs, preferably that of the liver.
Some primary studies, initiated in animals such as rats, show that kombucha reduces liver toxicity caused by the consumption of toxic chemical compounds, with a percentage reduction of up to 70%. [See study]
However, being currently referenced only in animals, it is still too early to take serious conclusions and extrapolate the beneficial results of kombucha to humans.
2. Kombucha can provide the benefits of green tea
The infusion of green tea is one of the most consumed worldwide. Rich in polyphenols and bioactive compounds, it is a bomb of beneficial antioxidant compounds. Generally, kombucha is prepared based on green tea, so in addition to the benefits as a probiotic when the fermentation of bacteria and yeast occurs, you have to count on the positive effects of green tea. [See assay]
Some authoritative studies have found a positive response to the loss of fat and calories with the consumption of this drink, also linked to a reduction in negative cholesterol (LDL) and also related to diabetes. [See assay]
In general, since the volume of green tea we drink in kombucha is high, all the benefits of one drink can be attributed to another.
3. Kombucha as a probiotic drink
The preparation and origin of the kombucha drink originated in Asian countries, especially in Japan and China. We are talking about hundreds of years. Its preparation includes strains of yeast, sugars, bacteria and, as the main base, black tea or green tea. This mixture combines the benefits of both drinks with the advantage of combining living organisms that improve our intestinal flora, as it is called the large number of bacteria that inhabit our body and bring us numerous advantages-
In the kombucha blend, a kind of fermentation occurs that originates a film similar to that created by a fungus, which floats in the liquid. Hence, as a vulgar term it is also known as «fungal infusion«.
During fermentation, additional substances, such as acetic acid, with a bitter taste similar to that of vinegar, are also produced, as well as alcohols and carbonated gases. All this is a breeding ground for lactic acid bacteria.
The probiotic foods are those that provide microorganisms to our intestine, which are usually installed in our digestive touch. Increasingly, medicine is focused on protecting and increasing our flora, since it is related to the prevention of serious diseases, and not only related to the digestive system.
For this reason, adding drinks like kombucha to your diet could improve your health in many ways.
4. Kombucha May Help Protect Against Cancer
As for the preventive and curative foods of cancer there is a lot of controversy. We prefer talk about prevention, since it is proven that a habit of healthy consumption high in fiber and antioxidant foods reduces the risk of suffering from this disease.
Studies on kombucha have initially been conducted in test tube, as a basis to be able to strengthen concepts of this drink. Overall, it has helped prevent the development of cancer and, especially, the spread of celluliCancerous due to its high concentration of antioxidant elements and polyphenols. [See study]
However, much more information is needed to understand what the real role of polyphenols of tea in the prevention and reduction of the development of various types of cancer.
Initially, the scientific community believes that polyphenols are capable of blocking the genetic mutation and, therefore, the growth of cancer cells. In turn, it also reduces the lifetime of these affected cells.
There are many studies linking green tea to the prevention of various types of cancer. [See assay]
As you can see, green tea has a lot of more scientific development as a beverage than kombucha, so it is not correct to associate all the benefits studied in green tea with kombucha, even if it is the main ingredient.
5. Kombucha contributes to creating a bacteriostatic effect in our body
One ingredient in kombucha involved in bacteriostatic control is acetic acid (such as vinegar), product of fermentation, as well as some alcohols. This element has been shown to have the ability to reduce microorganisms considered harmful, such as pathogenic bacteria and yeasts such as Candida.
Although, there are no conclusions to find all the antimicrobial properties, for not having some clear concepts, opens a range of use of this drink to achieve a positive intestinal flora.
In fact, the polyphenols present in green tea can reduce the activity of pathogenic microorganisms, as has been scientifically proven. [See assay]
6. Benefits of Kombucha as a Heart Protector
Heart-related diseases cause thousands of deaths worldwide, and the number is increasing year after year. This is derived from poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, so the consumption of antioxidant drinks without caloric intake is a benefit that we can take advantage of.
There are several reputable studies linking regular kombucha intake to reduced kombucha heart disease marketers, reduction of bad cholesterol and increase of good cholesterol (LDL) in less than 1 month from the beginning of consumption. [See study]
Read more: differences between good and bad cholesterol
These trials have pointed out that not only is the concentration of bad cholesterol but also its oxidizing capacity, so the possibility of suffering from heart diseases is reduced.
In general, a regular green tea consumer has up to 30% less heart disease linked to bad lifestyle habits, so if we are not a fan of this drink we can replace it with Kombucha, which has a remarkably different flavor.
7. Regulate sugar production and type 2 diabetes
Along with cardiorespiratory diseases, type 2 diabetes is another major disease of the twenty-first century that affects more than 300 million people worldwide.
Primary studies conducted on rats have found that kombucha offers a reduced blood sugars, improving the activity of the liver and kidneys. [See assay]
While you can’t compare the results obtained in rats with humans, it’s a good start.
In general, the best outcomes for balancing blood sugar, in support of modern drugs, is regular consumption of green tea. This drink, according to recent high-impact studies, can reduce the risk of becoming a diabetes patient by up to almost 20%. [See studys]
However, despite the large volume studies done with the infusion of green tea, it is necessary to check if these magnificent results can be extrapolated to the consumption of kombucha, since one of the main ingredients is green tea.
Where to buy this cold infusion
This drink is quite popular in the United States, especially in Los Angeles. Although in Europe it has not arrived with such force, we have the possibility of trying it by buying it in the main world shopping platforms, as well as gourmet supermarkets.
Excess consumption of kombucha
The dose makes the poison. This phrase makes perfect sense when we associate greater consumption with an increase in all its properties, and the opposite can happen. Excessive consumption of estA drink can bring negative side effects. Let’s analyze what they can be.
1. Excessive calorie intake
Drinking an occasional kombucha drink will not affect our weight. However, taking kombucha daily can contribute to the excessive calorie consumption, which can lead to weight gain. While some are low in calories, others can have up to 120 calories per bottle.
Keep in mind that liquid calories are much easier to consume and fill less than calories from solid foods.
2. May affect the stomach
Although this drink contains probiotics beneficial to the body, excessive consumption can generate an imbalance, the opposite of the objective sought. Due to its fermentation process. kombucha contains carbonated elements, so an excess intake can cause swelling and upset stomach.
Consuming sugar-based beverages can lead to excessive intake of this element, which can trigger diarrhea processes.
3. Not suitable for everyone
While kombucha is safe for most people, in others it can cause side effects. As kombucha is not pasteurized, it contains a mixture of various types of bacteria and yeasts that can promote growth of opportunistic bacteria that cause infections in immunodeficient people.
For example, those who have weakened immune systems, people with cancer, kidney disease or HIV, may have serious complications when drinking kombucha if the exact source of origin is not known.
4. Caffeine intake
It doesn’t really get to be a disadvantage, but you have to take it into account, especially the time of day of taking it. Kombucha is usually made with black or green tea, which contain caffeine.
Read more: Is it possible to drink tea without theine?
However, as it contains less than the original tea, it can be an alternative to these traditional drinks, since it also contains probiotic elements. Approximately one cup of 250 ml of kombucha can contain between 8 and 14 mg of caffeine.
Can pregnant women take it?
Unless you know very well where you come from, the manufacturing process and some additional data, there are a number of ingredients to avoid when a person is pregnant, although controlling the dose may not be a problem.
These are the handicaps of this drink in pregnant women:
- This drink is not pasteurized
- May contain alcohol resulting from fermentation
- May be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria
- Contains caffeine
Reference studies on kombucha
- Understanding the fermentation of Kombucha tea: a review.
- The efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.
- Hepatoprotective and healing properties of Kombucha tea against carbon tetrachloride-induced toxicity.
- Fermentation of Kombucha and its antimicrobial activity.
- Hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties of kombucha tea in aloxane-induced diabetic rats.
- Coffee, decaffeinated coffee and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analyses
- . Antiproliferative and antimicrobial activity of traditional Kombucha and Satureja montana L. Kombucha.
- Cancer preventive effects of drinking green tea in a Japanese population.