Kombucha is a sweet, fizzy drink made of yeast, sugar, and fermented tea. It has a number of potential health benefits, including gut health and liver function.
This article explores eight potential health benefits of kombucha and looks at the research that supports them.
To make kombucha, sweetened green or black tea is fermented with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, otherwise known as a SCOBY.
During the fermentation process, the yeast in the SCOBY breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases probiotic bacteria.
Kombucha becomes carbonated after fermentation, which is why the drink is fizzy.
There are a range of potential health benefits of kombucha, including:
1. Gut health
More research is needed into how kombucha improves gut health, but the link between probiotics and gut health suggests it may support the digestive system.
The link between healthy bacteria in the digestive system and immune function is becoming clearer as more studies focus on gut health. If the probiotics in kombucha improve gut health, they may also strengthen the immune system.
2. Cancer risk
There is growing evidence to suggest drinking kombucha could help reduce the risk of cancer.
It is important to note that these studies looked at the effects of kombucha on cancer cells in a test tube. More research is needed to see if people who drink kombucha have a reduced risk of developing cancer.
3. Infection risk
A type of acid called acetic acid, also found in vinegar, is produced when kombucha is fermented.
4. Mental health
There are strong links between depression and inflammation, so the anti-inflammatory effect of kombucha may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
5. Heart disease
Levels of certain types of cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Studies in
At the same time, it is important to note that these studies were in rats. More research is needed to prove that kombucha reduces the risk of heart disease in humans.
6. Weight loss
If kombucha is made with green tea, it follows that it could have a similarly positive effect on weight loss.
Again, researchers need to look at kombucha and weight loss specifically before this is certain.
7. Liver health
Kombucha contains antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells.
Some studies, the most recent being in
However, studies to date have looked at rats and more research is needed to say with certainty how kombucha can support liver health in humans.
8. Type 2 diabetes management
Kombucha may also be helpful in managing type 2 diabetes.
Again, more research is needed to say with certainty whether kombucha can have the same benefits in type 2 diabetes management for humans.
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It is important to be careful when making kombucha at home, as it can ferment for too long. It is also possible for kombucha to become contaminated when not made in a sterile environment.
Over-fermentation or contamination may cause health problems, so it may be safer to buy kombucha in a store than to make it at home.
Store-bought kombucha normally has a lower alcohol content than homemade versions, but it is important to check the sugar content.
There are many potential health benefits of kombucha. However, it is important to remember that research is ongoing and not all benefits have been proven in studies with human participants.
If made properly or bought in-store, kombucha is a probiotic-rich drink that is safe to enjoy as part of a healthful diet.