What are the main health benefits of kombucha? Kombucha has been enjoyed for thousands of years across countless cultures to promote health. Kombucha is fermented tea, naturally full of probiotics and healthy acids. It is thought that these probiotics and healthy acids are the reason kombucha is functional. Probiotics are friendly bacteria, enzymes, and yeasts that live in your gut – and for a “happy gut,” you should have more probiotics in there than there are stars in the milky way (crazy, right?). Healthy acids are thought to help detox your digestive system, especially the liver, from metals, alcohol, and toxins. The problem is, our American diet is so processed now that it rarely contains any probiotics or healthy acids, so it’s more important than ever before to make sure we’re eating foods that contain these things. People with diets rich in probiotics and healthy acids often report having improved digestion, immunity, and metabolism – but the literature is showing an impact way beyond just this! Fermented foods like kombucha naturally contain an assortment of probiotics and healthy acids, so it’s no surprise these foods and drinks make people feel good.
How is it made? Kombucha is made using 4 ingredients: Tea, sugar, water, and the SCOBY. The SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast and is what turns the sweet tea into kombucha. Basically, you start with sweet tea, add the SCOBY, and allow the liquid to ferment over time. Flavorings can be added at any point in the process. After somewhere around two to three weeks, the probiotics have eaten most of the sugar and converted the sweet tea into delicious and slightly bubbly kombucha.
Is it a meal replacement? Kombucha generally has less than 100 calories per bottle (often closer to 60), so it is not a meal replacement – but I would say it’s a great snack! Also, it goes great alongside a lighter meal.
Are there any down sides to drinking Kombucha? Not that we are aware of. I would view kombucha like you view a bag of carrots, not like you view medicine. When you look at it like that, and you ask yourself, “Are there any down sides to eating carrots?”, that is exactly how we would frame kombucha.
How often do you drink it / can you drink too much Kombucha? I’m sure you can have too much of anything. I would suggest “following your gut” and drinking as much or as little as you feel good having. This is a food, just like a carrot or an apple, so it’s generally recognized as safe at “normal” amounts.