Improve your digestion with kombucha, the tasty, fermented health drink
08/06/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Improve your digestion with kombucha, the tasty, fermented health drink

Kombucha has been around for thousands of years and there’s a reason why health enthusiasts still love the delicious, fermented drink.

If you’re curious about kombucha, here are four reasons to try this healthy, bubbly beverage.

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink and it’s a popular superfood that’s been around for centuries. The first recorded use of kombucha was in China between 200 to 300 BC.

Kombucha is regularly consumed in China, Japan, Russia and Eastern Europe. Roughly translated “kombucha” means “The Tea of Immortality.” The drink earned this impressive name thanks to its many health benefits.

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Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea drink made with a culture of yeast and acetic acid bacteria or tea fungus.

You can make kombucha at home, but you need to follow the steps properly to ensure that the final product is safe to drink. Black or green tea, sometimes a combination of both, is fermented with sugar, yeast and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) in aerobic conditions for seven to 10 days.

SCOBY is a biofilm of microorganisms that looks like a mushroom cap and you need this as a starter for your subsequent brews. SCOBY contains different kinds of acetic and lactic acid bacteria. Note that the longer kombucha is left to brew, the more vinegary it becomes.

Technically, kombucha is alcoholic, especially homebrewed varieties that often contain more alcohol since the bacterial growth isn’t monitored as closely as in commercial manufacturing. Commercial varieties of kombucha contain less than 0.5 percent alcohol.

If you haven’t tried kombucha yet, you’re in for a unique and refreshing treat. The drink is an acquired taste, but kombucha is fizzy and tasty.

Kombucha is a healthier alternative to soda, especially if you’re fond of fizzy drinks but are worried about your sugar intake. It’s also better to try making kombucha at home so you can control how much sugar your brewed drink contains.

Unflavored kombucha contains about 30 calories, two to three grams of sugar and trace amounts of caffeine. Unlike other sugary drinks, kombucha is fat- and cholesterol-free, with minimal amounts of protein and sodium.

Kombucha also contains vitamins, minerals and beneficial compounds such as:

  • Amino acids like lysine
  • B vitamins
  • Copper
  • Dietary fiber
  • Essential minerals
  • Ethanol
  • Hydrolytic enzymes
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Nickel
  • Organic food acids
  • Polyphenols
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

4 Health benefits of kombucha

Still not convinced? Here are four reasons to try drinking kombucha.

It can help improve your digestive health

Fermented foods like Korean pickled vegetables (kimchi), kombucha, pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt with active cultures are probiotic in nature, meaning they can help maintain the overall balance of healthy or “good” bacteria in your digestive tract.

The human body contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria. If you’re sick and take antibiotics, your medication often kills off both kinds of bacteria, which can cause damage to your gut flora.

The gut flora enables your digestive system to break down the food you eat into essential nutrients that helps your body stay healthy.

It can relieve stomach ulcers and GERD

Kombucha is a mild and soothing beverage and it can help relieve stomach inflammation that may cause ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition wherein the stomach acid churns so much that it doubles back on itself and up goes into your esophagus.

GERD isn’t life-threatening or dangerous. But long-term GERD can cause severe health issues like Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal cancer, esophagitis, or strictures (scarring and narrowing of the lining of the esophagus).

It can help people with leaky gut syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that affects the lining or permeability of your small intestine. Using certain medications or eating certain foods with gluten (e.g., grains like wheat and rye) can cause leaky gut syndrome.

The small intestine is where 90 percent of your digestion takes place. It’s also where the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients being removed from your food are transported to all the parts of the body that need those nutrients to function properly.

However, if you have leaky gut syndrome, the small intestine becomes more permeable and it can leak. This is bad because small particles of food can get into your abdominal cavity and the nutrients aren’t transported where they need to go.

Research suggests that leaky gut is associated with different autoimmune disorders wherein the body starts to attack itself, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and various thyroid conditions. There are no cures for these autoimmune disorders.

Drinking kombucha can help improve intestinal permeability, which means less leakage and better overall well-being.

It can help relieve arthritis pain

Since kombucha helps reduce inflammation, drinking it can help relieve arthritis pain. Make kombucha a part of an anti-inflammatory diet to improve your condition.

Additionally, kombucha contains glucosamine, which is used to improve bone and joint health. The compound also promotes hyaluronic acid production, which keeps your joints lubricated and working smoothly.

Finally, glucosamine helps boosts collagen, the building block of tendons and skin. Collagen helps keep your skin firm, supple and strong.

Considerations before drinking kombucha

While kombucha is considered generally safe to drink, here are some things to consider before trying the beverage:

  • Poorly made homebrewed kombucha can cause kombucha poisoning.
  • Drinking kombucha with too much sugar can cause weight gain.
  • Kombucha is a carbonated drink and it supplies carbon dioxide to the digestive system. Drinking too much kombucha can cause uncomfortable side effects like bloating and gas.
  • Avoid kombucha if you are pregnant since it contains both alcohol and caffeine.
  • You should also avoid kombucha if you have significant renal, pulmonary, or liver disease.

If you don’t belong to any of the at-risk groups detailed above, try a little bit of kombucha before making it a part of your regular diet. This will help you understand how your body might react to kombucha.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can consume about four ounces of kombucha at least one to three times a day.

Incorporate nutritious, refreshing kombucha into a balanced diet to boost your digestive health and overall well-being.

Sources:

JustPlainCooking.ca

Glamour.com

My.ClevelandClinic.org

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