Kombucha tea is becoming popular these days amongst health buffs. The slightly sweet and acidic taste of the beverage has been enjoyed for hundreds of years.
What sets this tea apart from other teas is that it goes through fermentation, which gives it unique taste characteristics and possibly beneficial health effects.
With that in mind, here are 9 key things you need to know about kombucha tea:
1. It Contains Caffeine and Alcohol
Kombucha is made by fermenting green or black teas, which contain caffeine. Caffeine can have health benefits in small amounts but there are some people who avoid it. If you avoid caffeine, then this tea is not right for you.
Kombucha also contains a small amount of alcohol from the fermentation process (usually 0.5% or less) and therefore may not be suitable for those who don’t drink alcohol at all.
2. A Good Source of Probiotics
Kombucha is produced from fermentation by both yeasts and bacteria. It is thought that some of the proposed health benefits from kombucha may be from these bacteria acting as probiotics in our gut. However, this has not been clearly established and research is underway.
3. It Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Because kombucha is made from green or black teas, it contains many of the antioxidant compounds that can be found in these teas.
4. It May Help Kill “Bad” Bacteria
During the fermentation process, acetic acid is produced. This may prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
5. It Might Help Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
There have been studies that show that kombucha can help reduce “bad” LDL” and increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Thus, it may help in protecting against heart disease.
6. It May Aid in Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Although further human studies must still be made, studies have shown improved blood sugar levels in rats, following the consumption of kombucha.
7. It Could Improve Liver Health
A study has shown that kombucha tea was more effective than black tea when it came to protecting the liver against harmful substances.
8. It’s Not a Miracle Worker
Before you fill your home with kombucha tea, keep in mind that the tea is not a miracle worker. You may see outlandish claims attached to this tea (such as the ability to cure cancer or HIV), but these are unfounded.
Although there are a few studies that suggest kombucha may have some positive health effects, these are all from animal and petri-dish studies, so it’s hard to tell how the effects translate to humans.
9. Be Aware of the Risks!
Acidity. Kombucha tea is highly acidic. It is therefore not a good idea to drink high quantities. Rather, drink a small amount every once in a while.
Sugar. Some kombucha brands are also very high in sugar. Make sure to check the label if you’re thinking of picking some up.
Contamination. Make sure to buy kombucha from reputable retailers. Home-brewed kombucha may become contaminated with undesirable bacteria which could cause illness. Because of this, people with weakened immune systems should not consume kombucha, except from reputable sources.
Your Key Takeaways
Because of the purported health benefits of kombucha, it is likely that this will be a “health drink” of choice for many years to come. Many find the drink delicious, and its supposed health effects make it even more appealing.