Beverage

Kombucha Benefits and Risks

Kombucha is well known for its health benefits. To make this fizzy sweet drink, all you need to do is to take sweetened green or black tea and ferment it with yeast. In the process, the yeast will break down sugars in the drink and give out probiotics.

The last step involves carbonation and is the reason that kombucha is fizzy. That said, as much as this drink comes with plenty of benefits, it also features its share of risks. You can check them below.

Kombucha Benefits

1. Supports Healthy Gut

Fermentation of kombucha results in healthy bacteria called probiotics. These are similar to the bacteria found in the guts. As a result, drinking kombucha may help improve the health of your gut. Moreover, studies have shown that it is possible to treat diarrhea with probiotics.

Furthermore, there is a direct link between a healthy gut system and an improved immune system. Due to this fact, there is a good reason to believe that kombucha and the probiotics it provides can help boost immunity.

Kombucha

2. Helps Prevent Infection

During the fermentation process, kombucha gives off acetic acid. This has proven effective against destroying certain types of bacteria.

Drinking kombucha can, therefore, help fight infections from bacteria by destroying them before they can cause any harm to the body and before they can be absorbed.

3. Serves as a Weight Loss Remedy

Green tea is a great solution for people who want to lose weight. While this does not replace a lack of exercise and a healthy diet, studies have shown that people who drink green tea regularly burn more calories than people who do not.

Drinking kombucha made with green tea can, therefore, help in burning fat and enhancing weight loss. 

Kombucha

4. Reduces Cancer Risk

One study showed that drinking kombucha reduced the growth of cancer cells as well as significantly bringing down the life of cancer cells. This suggested that kombucha could prevent the development of cancer.

Keep in mind that the cancer cells tested were inside a test tube and not in a live patient. Therefore, further studies are needed to confirm this. However, the results from the tests are a good reason for maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

5. Promotes a Healthier Liver

Kombucha is full packed of antioxidants that help destroy free radicals in the body, which destroy the cells.

One study, in particular, showed that kombucha tea is great at removing toxins from the liver. This reduces liver inflammation and boosts liver health.

Kombucha Varieties

Risks of Kombucha

1. Causes Excessive Calorie Intake

It is much easier to consume more calories in liquid intakes than with solid food. This is because drinks are less filling.

That said, some types of kombucha contain more calories than others. While drinking occasionally will not cause significant weight gain, drinking regularly may increase weight.

2. May Result in Bloating

The probiotics in kombucha can help improve gut health. However, due to the carbonation process, drinking too much kombucha may result in bloating. This is because of excess carbon dioxide in the system.

Furthermore, kombucha also contains certain carbohydrates, which, when taken in excess, may result in digestive stress.

Kombucha

3. Can Pose Dangerous Effects

Most people find kombucha safe to drink. However, kombucha can cause severe side effects for some people. Given that there is no pasteurization and the fact that yeast and bacteria are used in its making, opportunistic bacteria can take hold in some people and cause infections.

This is especially so with people who have an impaired immune system. In rare instances, some people may even experience allergic reactions.

Furthermore, owing to its small caffeine and alcohol content, pregnant women should avoid it altogether.

4. May Contain Excess Sugar

Often kombucha drinks are made sweeter using sugarcane juice or fruit juice. While this will make the kombucha easier and more pleasant to drink, the sugar levels will also be high.

Excessive sugar consumption is linked with various health issues such as diabetes, liver complications, and heart disease. Some kombucha brands could have over 28 grams of sugar per serving. This is equivalent to 7 teaspoonfuls of sugar. 

Conclusion

While kombucha has many benefits, it also comes with plenty of risks. If you choose to take regular kombucha, it is advisable to avoid the sweetened variety and to only consume a properly prepared drink. Make sure it is safe to take to avoid infection or other health concerns. Taken the right way, you can enjoy all the benefits of kombucha.

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Dr. Jagdev Singh

Dr. Jagdev Singh (B.A.M.S., M. Sc. in Medicinal Plants) is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Herbalist. He has successfully treated thousands of patients with Ayurveda (including Herbal Ayurvedic Medicine and Ayurvedic Diet). Ayur Times is an initiative of his efforts to bring quality information on Indian Medicine with the highest level of relevancy and scientific evidence.
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