Follow Your Gut - Benefits of Kombucha Tea
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
It was last year that I was introduced to Kombucha Tea or “Booch” as I like to cal it after my favourite brand - https://boochorganickombucha.com/ . I was a confessed soda pop junkie and kombucha was suggested to me as a healthier substitute. I tried it, loved it and haven't looked back since! I still enjoy a gingerale now and then but I've decreased and pretty much eliminated my dark colas!
What is Kombucha, you ask?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made up of black tea and sugar from various sources (including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional, probiotic food.
It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that is responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar.
After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic).
These bacteria are known as “cellulose-producing bacteria” which acts as a shield to cells.
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” which stands for: symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas — or both.
While nutrition facts differ between brands and homemade brews, here is the breakdown of what one popular brand includes in a 16-ounce bottle of unpasteurized, organic kombucha:
14 grams carbohydrates
4 grams sugar
20 milligrams sodium
100 micrograms folate (25 percent DV)
0.34 gram riboflavin/vitamin B2 (20 percent DV)
0.4 milligram vitamin B6 (20 percent DV)
0.3 milligram thiamine/vitamin B1 (20 percent DV)
4 milligrams niacin/vitamin B3 (20 percent DV)
1.2 micrograms vitamin B12 (20 percent DV)
Benefits of Kombucha
Precautions and Potential Kombucha Side Effects
Most people experience great benefits drinking kombucha and have no adverse side effects; however some considerations should be made in various situations as listed below:
A minor consideration should be made in regard to protecting your teeth. Because of the acidity of kombucha, you can help prevent damaging your teeth by drinking it at one sitting and swishing water in your mouth afterward.
Kombucha side effects seem to be more of a risk when making it yourself because contamination is possible, and the SCOBY disk and finished product aren’t tested for quality like they are when manufactured commercially. If you’re going to brew your own, use sterile equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.
A small percentage of people experience bloating, nausea, infections and allergic reactions when drinking it. Because it has a high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems, like stomach ulcers, heartburn or sensitivity to very acidic foods.
If you are concerned about these issues, start drinking a small amount in moderation and gradually work your way up to drinking more in order to see if you have any negative reactions to it. Stick to about eight ounces per day or less, especially in the beginning. To limit your risk, buy pre-made, unpasteurized kombucha that’s been tested for bacterial contamination.
People who have severely compromised immunity due to certain viruses like HIV/AIDS need to be careful about consuming it since there is always a possibility that the yeast can grow harmful bacteria that can cause illness. This is especially true of homemade kombucha.
While it hasn’t been studied much at all in pregnant women, there is always concern that pregnant women shouldn’t consume alcohol or caffeine, both of which are present in kombucha in small amounts. Before more formal research is conducted showing that it’s completely safe, pregnant women are advised to err on the safe side and avoid it — or at least to enjoy it in small quantities.
Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar, which when fermented turns into alcohol in very small amounts (only about 1 percent of kombucha is believed to be alcohol). For people with existing diabetes, it likely won’t cause much of a problem considering it’s very low in sugar (about two grams per eight ounce), but it’s worth being careful and monitoring blood sugar levels and related symptoms.
For those with digestive problems (like IBS) or anxiety disorders, the low level of caffeine in this drink is also something to be conscious of since caffeine can sometimes aggravate these conditions if consumed in excess.
There has been one incidence of severe acidosis in the 1990s that was associated with kombucha consumption, although no causal link was ever established.
How do I personally incorporate kombucha into my daily routine?
I buy in bulk - refillable 1L bottles, I have two on the go at all times - and make sure to have a shot of it every day with my vitamins.
When travelling or preparing for a day of physical activity, I have a 500ml bottle packed with my meals. While I'm out I use a reusable bottle and fill it 1/2 with ice then pour my kombucha in it. Although the "fizz" is what draws me to it in general, kombucha with water still tastes great and I get double out of the bottle this way.
I highly recommend trying kombucha if you can, it’s seriously delicious😋! If you have questions about kombucha and if it's something you can drink, contact me and I can work to answer any questions you may have:).
Interested in a fitness/wellness consultation or have some questions about nutrition and your current fitness program? Join any of my groups online (Facebook) and/or pick up my book, How to be Fit for Life - Eight Proven Steps to Reaching Your Fitness Goals, Getting Results, and Living the Fitness Life for more help with your fitness journey. And please feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have:).