By: Adam L.
In the past ten years, the healthy beverage industry has exploded.
As people turn their back on soda, they’re exploring new, innovative drinks.
But a lot of people miss soda and the fizz, which is why a funky, far-Eastern tea that could help reverse cancer and heal your gut has become so popular.
It’s got the fizz of soda, but it’s not as sweet.
Plus it has the nice, acidy bite soda-lovers enjoy, as this far-Eastern tea has a pronounced vinegar flavor.
Chances are if you shop in a health food store or are interested in alternative health you’ve heard of this tea.
It’s called kombucha.
Kombucha has a long history of medicinal use as the Chinese have used it to cure all types of ailments for eons.
Beverage makers create kombucha by adding small amounts of sugar and fruit juice to either black or oolong teas and then add something called a SCOBY to the mixture. SCOBY stands for symbiotic cultures of organized bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) and these bacteria and yeast sugar digest the sugars to create a fizzy, fermented masterpiece.
In the process, they release a host of healthy acids into the elixir as well as helping form colonies for healthy bacteria called probiotics to exist.
These byproducts of the fermentation process lead to some amazing health benefits.
Here are three of the most pronounced benefits of drinking kombucha
1 – Supports Your Gut Microbiome:
Over the past decade, researchers have studied our guts intensely. That’s because scientists have conclusively shown a healthy gut is critical for total health.
Most of our immune system resides in the gut, and if the gut microbiome (the ecosystem of good and bad bacteria in the gut) is compromised, it means immune function is weakened.
Kombucha helps to heal the gut as it contains antioxidants, amino acids, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, all of which are needed for enhanced gut function.
Animal studies show when mice are given kombucha tea it helps to restore the function of the digestive system and could ward off the formation of ulcers. The researchers reasoned the antioxidant activity of the drink itself was enough to influence gut health by toning down how much gastric acid the stomach produced during digestion.
Additionally, fermented teas like kombucha contain various forms of probiotic that go to work deep in the large and small intestine to increase mucosa in the gut which is essential for keeping food contained inside of the intestines where it belongs, and not leaking out into the bloodstream where it might cause damage.
Dr. Amy Myers, a leading integrative MD, points out that some of the probiotics in kombucha are also helpful for controlling the overgrowth of specific yeasts and bacteria commonly linked to leaky gut – a well-documented problem where undigested food particles invade the body after passing through the damaged lining of the gut.
2 – Boosts Brain Power:
There is a close link to the health of your gut and the health of your brain, and that’s because when our guts are damaged, it means your body doesn’t break down food into essential nutrients that it needs to function correctly.
When the gut is healed by kombucha, it allows for your body to extract essential nutrients from food to enhance brain function.
In addition to that, many kombuchas contain a host of b vitamins, like vitamin B-12, which are necessary to help your body produce the body’s primary energy source: ATP.
Some studies show introducing kombucha into the diet can improve several potential mental health issues.
As Dr. Josh Axe writes:
“A 2012 study published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration (yes, you read that right). Among other various features, kombucha’s ability to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggested it would be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression, particularly for astronauts and others under extreme work conditions (like miners).”
3 – It May Help Balance Blood Sugar
Surprisingly, even though kombucha contains some sugar, it may also play a role in helping balance blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity.
Two probable mechanistic actions are likely responsible.
The first is how the antioxidants in the tea could help improve blood sugar. Studies in rats show that the introduction of kombucha teas (and the antioxidant content) may help to manage diabetes-like symptoms.
The researchers studied how kombucha made of black tea compared to regular black tea for diabetes management and noted that the kombucha did a much better job of lowering body weight (a risk factor for diabetes) and lowering plasma insulin.
Beyond that, recent research indicates that the reintroduction of probiotics into the gut microbiome helps the body better handle carbohydrates and also reduce food cravings, both of which can help to keep blood sugar normalized.
The only caveat is not any kombucha will work for balancing blood sugar. The best kombuchas need to have less than 4 grams of sugar per serving for optimal blood sugar control. More sugar than that per serving may negate any of the positive benefits derived from the antioxidant and probiotics.
The Last Word on Kombucha
Two things about kombucha that you ought to know.
The first is kombucha isn’t available everywhere as it’s a specialty drink. If you’re in a market that doesn’t carry kombucha you may be frustrated by the fact you can’t buy this healthy elixir.
Secondly, kombucha can be quite expensive.
One bottle can cost up to $4.00, which is definitely a hit to the wallet.
The good news is kombucha is easy to make. SCOBYs can be purchased online and you can brew your own kombucha from the comfort of your home. Not only does this guarantee you access wherever you are, but brewed kombucha is also about 90% cheaper than buying it from the store, so that’s a win too.