You may have heard about kombucha tea, but have you ever wondered what exactly it is? Kombucha tea is also sometimes referred to as “mushroom tea,” although it contains no mushrooms. You have probably also heard about probiotics in connection with kombucha tea and their specific benefits for the digestive system. Let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they’re made.
What is Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha tea is slightly effervescent and is made from the culturing of black or green tea, bacteria, sugar and yeast. The fermentation process, when making homemade Kombucha, forms a mushroom-like mass on top of the tea, giving it the unorthodox nickname “mushroom tea.” Kombucha tea also has a slightly sour, vinegar-like smell and taste, which can be combined with a variety of flavors during the fermentation process.
The fermentation process helps to unlock properties not normally accessible, including good-for-you bacteria, probiotics and yeast. Kombucha carries vitamins B1, B6 and B12, which may help to boost the immune system, produce red blood cells and regulate mood. During the fermentation process, acids form, as well as small amounts of alcohol.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) with intended health benefits, and include dietary supplements, foods such as yogurt and skin creams. Most people think bacteria is harmful, however, some bacteria is very beneficial to us, especially in the digestive system. Probiotics may help to maintain an appropriate community of microorganisms by outcompeting undesirable microorganisms and producing substances, which inhibit growth.
What are the so-called health benefits of kombucha tea?
8 Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea
Promoters of kombucha tea describe digestion improvement, detoxification and energy boosts when drinking the tea on a consistent basis. They also claim a boost in the immune system, weight loss, and the prevention of high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, however, there is little scientific evidence to support the claims. Animal studies have shown kombucha tea in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Let’s take a closer look at the purported health benefits of kombucha tea:
- Detoxification: contains bacterial acids and enzymes, namely, gluconic acid, which bind to toxins, expelling them from the body, and glucaric acid, which boost liver efficiency.
- Weight Loss: fewer calories and sugar than juice or sodas, natural acids and antioxidants promote fat loss and increase metabolism when consumed before meals.
- Stimulate the Immune System: healthy-gut bacteria helps stimulate the immune system and strengthens our natural defenses. Kombucha tea also contains Vitamin C, which prevents inflammatory infections.
- Digestion Improvement: combination of acids, enzymes and probiotics, which promote healthy digestion, deter or relieve constipation, diarrhea and IBS symptoms. (Note: The probiotics in kombucha tea do not survive the pasteurization process, so stay with unpasteurized products).
- Arthritis Relief: glucosamine is a compound, which can treat arthritic symptoms and enhances hyaluronic acid production, which helps to relieve arthritic pain.
- Cancer: some microorganisms found in kombucha tea activates natural cancer-killing cells.
- Energy Boost: small amounts of caffeine, B vitamins and iron to increase hemoglobin, which enhances oxygen flow giving an energy boost.
- Improve Mood: vitamins B1, B6 and B12 enhances concentration and stabilizes mood.
What Are The Risks of Kombucha Tea?
If you brew kombucha tea at home, be sure to prepare it properly to avoid harmful bacteria and mold. Probiotics can be harmful in certain situations, especially those with weakened immune systems, critically ill patients and sick infants. Always contact your physician before starting any new supplement regime.
So, have you tried kombucha? What did you think?
Is it something you drink regularly? Comment below and tell us!