Kombucha has been a trendy drink for a number of years and has greatly increased in popularity during the COVID pandemic. It is sometimes called kombucha mushroom tea, however kombucha is not a mushroom, and it is a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha, the drink, is a fizzy, fermented drink made from a sweetened tea and this specific culture of bacteria and yeast. It is touted as having many health benefits including:
Potential source of probiotics:
Due to the process of fermentation in the making of kombucha, it does possess a number of probiotics. These probiotics can help to balance levels of bacteria in the gut and improve digestion. The type and amount of probiotics varies depending on how the drink is made and the fermentation time. Unfortunately, to date, there is little research to confirm these findings.
May be a source of antioxidants:
Tea, especially green tea, is a rich source of antioxidants so if the tea is made with green tea you may benefit from antioxidant properties. Fermentation time can affect the beneficial levels from the antioxidants.
May provide vitamins and minerals:
When the yeast breaks down the sugars in kombucha, small amounts of vitamins and minerals are produced, including vitamin C and B1, B6, and B12. How much of these vitamins you get will vary depending on the product consumed.
May be anti-fungal:
One of the by-products of fermentation is acetic acid. This along with other compounds found in green and black tea may suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeast in our GI system.
May support heart health:
Some studies on animals suggest that kombucha may improve cholesterol levels and with the health benefits of the tea may help to reduce heart disease.
Kombucha is considered a functional food because of its potentially beneficial properties however, it might not be suitable for everyone. Kombucha should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women or anyone with a compromised immune system. There have been some reports that drinking too much can lead to unpleasant side effects such as stomach ache, nausea, and dizziness. As well, fermented foods are high in histamines, people with a histamine intolerance should avoid drinking kombucha. Be careful not to consume Kombucha that has been fermented for too long as it could create high acids levels that may be harmful. It is important to note that there has not been much research completed on the safety and efficacy of kombucha for people. If you have any concerns please check with your doctor.