Kombucha is one of many people’s favorite fermented drinks. It gives you energy thanks to the lactic acid levels. In addition, it contains beneficial yeasts and bacteria, and several other beneficial substances. Read this post to learn more about the science-backed health benefits of Kombucha.
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a beverage made from tea, sugar, yeast, and bacteria. A culture of acetic bacteria and fungi (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, or SCOBY) ferments the sugared tea. Originally from China, the beverage made its way to Korea, Japan, and Russia, where its health benefits became well known.
Traditionally, Kombucha is made using white sugar and black tea, but can also be made with green or oolong tea. After the tea is prepared, sugar, starter culture, and tea fungus are added to the mixture to ferment the tea for one to eight weeks.
After this fermentation period, the Kombucha is ready to be taken out and stored in a clean container. It is consumed after fermentation is finished.
Kombucha is reported to have many health benefits. It improves cancer resistance, increases immune functions, reduces inflammation, prevents heart diseases, and promotes digestion.
Health Benefits Of Kombucha
Kombucha has many health benefits. Here are a few of them:
The antioxidant activity in tea and Kombucha can be attributed to their catechin and polyphenol content from the tea leaves.
The fermentation process increases free radical scavenging activities in Kombucha, so Kombucha has even higher antioxidant activity than unfermented tea.
Kombucha’s antioxidant activity is believed to help prevent cancer, but there are no clinical trials done on the subject.
EGCG, a major tea polyphenol, can stop cancer cell growth.
In a cell-based study, Kombucha tea extract decreased the survival of prostate cancer cells and prevented blood vessel formation. It does this by inhibiting inflammatory genes such as COX2, IL-8, HIF-1alpha, MMPs, VEGF, and other growth-promoting genes inside of the cancer cells.
Also, the polyphenols, gluconic acid, glucuronic acid, lactic acid, and vitamin C present in Kombucha have been shown to reduce the occurrence of stomach cancer.
Both green and black tea extracts significantly lower blood glucose.
Kombucha was a better suppressor of high blood glucose levels than black tea. Kombucha polyphenols can prevent the damage and death of pancreatic β-cells, which plays a role in insulin secretion.
Additionally, Kombucha’s antioxidant properties also help protect against diabetes-related complications.
Tea extracts reduce total cholesterol and inflammation. It also reduces blood pressure and prevents obesity. All of these effects can help lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Kombucha has probiotic properties. The microorganisms found in the tea can balance intestinal microbiota, improve digestion, fight against harmful bacteria, and aid gut processes.
The bacteria and yeast used in the fermentation process help in the growth of beneficial microbes in the intestine. When humans are exposed to unhealthy environments, their gut microbiota can change and harm their health. Kombucha can help revert the changes and keep their gut healthy.
Kombucha’s antioxidant activity can also help during detoxification in the liver.
Glucuronic acid most likely contributes to most of Kombucha’s detoxifying properties. Glucuronic acid binds to toxin molecules to increase their excretion from the body. It expels drugs, pollutants, steroids, and bile acids out of the body.
Additionally, kombucha contains measurable amounts of glucaric acid. Glucaric acid increases the efficiency of the liver’s detoxification pathways. It does this by eliminating waste the first time instead of letting it become reabsorbed and detoxified repeatedly.
Malic acid, another product of tea fermentation, is similar to glucuronic acid. It also helps in the detoxification of the liver by binding with toxic metals and eliminating toxins.
Kombucha’s toxin removal action may help patients obtain relief from gout, arthritis, and kidney stones. However, there are no human studies yet.
Kombucha tea can inhibit many pathogenic microorganisms. Black tea and green tea Kombucha possesses greater inhibitory activity compared to oolong.
Kombucha can inhibit the growth of bacteria, and various fungi.
The presence of organic acids, particularly acetic acid, large proteins, and catechins in the beverage contribute to its antimicrobial activities.