Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavorings. Kombucha has recently been touted as a magic elixir, curing everything from digestion problems to arthritis and cancer, but it has also been maligned as a potentially toxic alcoholic beverage. As with most things, the truth of it lies somewhere in the middle.
Kombucha can kill bacteria. According to Healthline, one of the main substances produced during the fermentation of kombucha is acetic acid, which is also abundant in vinegar. Like the polyphenols in tea, acetic acid is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms. Kombucha made from black or green tea appears to have strong antibacterial properties, particularly against infection-causing bacteria.
Kombucha also contains antioxidants. Men’s Health Magazine explains that the role of your liver is to break down and flush toxic substances from your body. Some researchers believe that kombucha could provide a slight health boost through its concentration of polyphenols. What are polyphenols? Polyphenols are antioxidants that can boost your immune system by reducing your exposure to oxidation. This can lead to better heart health and a lower risk for infection.
Kombucha does contain alcohol, albeit very low amounts. Keeping your kombucha properly refrigerated until you drink it will help ensure the alcohol remains stable. Once the kombucha gets warm, those gut-friendly probiotics get active again and fermentation will continue. People struggling with alcoholism should always steer clear of kombucha.
Another potential drawback of kombucha is bloating. Drinking kombucha in moderation is the key to not experiencing this side effect. Excess consumption of it leads to bloating among individuals. Various reports show that when they consumed kombucha in moderation their problems with bloating diminished. So take it slow!
Ultimately, it is your decision whether to drink kombucha or not. But now you are fully aware of the most common benefits as well as the most common drawbacks of this newly popular fermented drink.