Kombucha is huge right now, the latest in a long line of superfoods that has attracted public attention and is being sold in health food shops up and down the country. But unlike goji berries, acai berries and other fruit and vegetable based superfoods, the effectiveness of Kombucha is highly debated. There are as many people claiming that it’s useless as there are people claiming that it’s healthy.
So, what's the truth? In this guide we’re going to throw our hat in the ring by offering our own opinions on Kombucha. We’re approaching this from a neutral standpoint in order to get to the bottom of it. We don’t sell Kombucha, we’re not invested in it, but we love tea and can’t resist a good superfood. All of that balances out and ensures that we can take an unbiased approach in discussing the benefits of Kombucha.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink made using a specific type of culture. It is said to produce an array of health benefits, but commercial Kombucha can also be loaded with sugars and flavorings, because in its natural form it’s highly acidic and bitter.
Kombucha can also be home-brewed and there are millions of American households opting for this do-it-yourself process, but as we shall discover below, this isn’t always the best option.
Kombucha needs to be made in a sterile environment, as contaminants that are left to ferment can create a toxic product that will make you very sick. It is also alcoholic, something that many drinkers seem to forget, and if you are fermenting it at home then it will likely have a higher alcohol content than if you bought a commercial variety.
Don’t let these warnings put you off trying the drink though, as a lot of the foods we eat and the liquids we drink are fermented and the truth is that it’s actually very difficult to get this process wrong. If you have ever brewed wine or beer then you will understand where we are coming from. Providing that you practice common sense when it comes to making and storing the drink, and you don’t just throw it together in a used bottle and then stick it in a mold-infested corner of your home, then you should be okay.
If you are consuming a properly made Kombucha, then there should be few to no side effects. There are studies out there that suggest a diet rich in fermented foods can lead to an increased risk of stomach cancer, which only makes sense when you consider how these foods react with the body, but these studies looked at Korean and Japanese cultures that consume large amounts of fermented foods. If you’re drinking the occasional cup of Kombucha, it shouldn’t be an issue. But it’s cause for concern if you’re knocking-back several cups a day in addition to sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods.
If you have stomach problems, ulcers or GERD, then you should approach Kombucha with caution as it can aggravate the problem.
There is no shortage of articles out there looking at the so-called benefits of Kombucha and these are backed by peer-reviewed research. On the surface, it looks good and the claims are hard to ignore, but once you dig a little deeper you’ll discover two things:
There have not been any worthwhile human studies on the effects of Kombucha. All of the studies that have been conducted on this drink are animal studies, and while these effects can translate into humans, that isn’t always the case.
The positive human studies that do exist have been conducted on the ingredients of Kombucha, as opposed to the drink itself. For instance, there are a wealth of studies on the benefits of tea, and Kombucha is a tea-based drink, but people who claim that Kombucha is healthy are focusing on its unique bacterial composition as opposed to its tea content.
It’s not all bad news though. The lack of human studies doesn’t mean that Kombucha is not as healthy as people claim, but rather that we don’t really know how healthy it is. If you look at the things we do know, then it begins to get promising.
Firstly, we know that fermented foods improve overall health. Many health experts recommend adding these foods to your diet in order to improve gut health, which can then impact on other aspects of your health.
Your gut is the foundation of your health and inflammation and disorder in this part of your body can lead to ill health everywhere else. If you have ever gone from being severely constipated to having a healthy gut you will understand just how much of a difference it can make on everything from your energy levels and sleep patterns, to your focus and clarity.
Secondly, we know that tea is one of the healthiest superfoods around. It is loaded with healthy nutrients and is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world, helping to prevent an array of chronic diseases and to improve your short term health as well. Countless studies have shown that tea drinkers live longer and are healthier, and there are very few negatives when it comes to consuming this substance.
In conclusion, Kombucha may be good for you, but there isn’t a great deal of proof and the evidence that does exists concerns aspects of the drink as opposed to the drink itself. We can say with relative certainty, for instance, that several cups of green tea a day and a serving of sauerkraut every now and then can work wonders for your health, but we can’t say with any degree of certainty whether that applies when you bring those things together in the form of Kombucha.
If we had to make an educated guess, we’d say that occasional consumption of safe Kombucha is healthy, but that it’s better to focus on un-fermented tea if you really want a healthy drink. It’s also important to make sure you eat a balanced diet, because no amount of tea will offset the damage done by processed foods.
And as always, if you don’t have the time, money or inclination to eat pounds of fruit and vegetables a day, then get yourself a tub of Detox Organics instead. It brings together all the benefits of 25 superfoods into one healthy drink. You can even add a scoop to your Kombucha…although we wouldn’t recommend it.
Almond milk works better and will provide you with something that tastes like chocolate milk but is infinitely healthier.