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Health Benefits of Kombucha

More and more consumers are turning to kombucha for trendy, health-conscious refreshment. Health claims for kombucha are often overstated, but this drink does provide some advantages when consumed in moderation.

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented drink based on tea. To create kombucha, sweetened black or green tea is fermented using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (known as a SCOBY). This fermentation process produces carbonation, vinegar and a small amount of alcohol while giving the concoction a distinctively sour and tangy taste. Kombucha is readily available at supermarkets and health food shops, although many people brew their own.

Probiotic power

Drinking kombucha may contribute to better gut health. Lana Burgess at Medical News Today notes that when kombucha is fermented, this process creates probiotic bacteria. Ingesting these beneficial bacteria can help prevent diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, fight off chronic disease and improve digestion. According to Time, though, nutritionists warn that research doesn’t yet support definitive claims about kombucha’s probiotic content and benefits. It’s also possible to get probiotics from many other fermented items, including yogurt, pickles and sauerkraut.

Vitamin advantages

Per the BBC, fermentation enriches kombucha with small amounts of vitamin C and B vitamins like B1, B6 and B12. Vitamin C can help strengthen the immune system and protect against heart disease. B vitamins can help ward off infections and contribute to the health of your brain and nervous system.

Green tea goodness

Many of kombucha’s health benefits stem from the fact that it’s often made with green tea. This kind of tea boasts a variety of health benefits. Healthline points out that green tea provides your body with polyphenols — compounds that act as antioxidants in your body. Research indicates that green tea-provided antioxidants may decrease inflammation and contribute to lower blood sugar, healthier cholesterol levels, better weight control, stronger liver health and a lessened risk for heart disease and several types of cancer. However, these benefits can be attained with regular green tea, and more research is necessary to determine whether kombucha offers any added advantages in this area.

Kombucha caveats

Although drinking kombucha presents modest health benefits, it’s important to be aware of this drink’s drawbacks, too. There are several reasons to be cautious about how much kombucha you consume. First, notes that some kombucha brands can contain a fair amount of added sugar, so be sure to check the label. Second, kombucha contains alcohol, although the amount is typically quite small in the store-bought kind. The alcohol content of homebrewed kombucha can be significantly higher. Third, Time warns that the live bacteria in kombucha can be harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women, or to people with weakened immune systems. Finally, the Cleveland Clinic cautions that homebrewed kombucha can easily make you sick if it gets contaminated or overfermented.

Is kombucha good for your health? It certainly doesn’t possess superpowers, but if you enjoy drinking this brew, you could reap some limited benefits. Just make sure you’re aware of kombucha’s potential downsides — and don’t guzzle too much of it.

This article is presented by Zimbrick European.
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