Kombucha: Ingredients, Health Benefits, & Side Effects

Ayushi Khandelwal · 3 mins
Kombucha: Ingredients, Health Benefits, & Side Effects

What is Kombucha and What Makes it so Trendy

Why is something that tastes like sour vinegary apple cider so famous? Because it is your gut’s new best friend. Ancient Chinese invented hong cha jun aka Kombucha which is a fermented tea. It may transform to your gut’s bae from just a BFF when you get to know more about it. 

What is Kombucha

So what’s the deal with Kombuchas? Melvin aka Vin (B99) swears by Kombucha for a reason. They’re full of probiotics and antioxidants that help your body flush out toxins and improve digestion. It is 100% vegan and contains a variety of b vitamins. What more do you need from a drink?

4 Primary Ingredients for Kombucha

Making Kombucha isn’t rocket science, but you need to be careful with the fermentation process. You majorly need four of the following ingredients to make a decent Kombucha.

SCOBY

SCOBY is the only thing standing between sweetened tea and Kombucha. Not pretty to look at, SCOBY is a whitish-beige colour, squishy mass floating within the brewed mix. It gives Kombucha the famous vinegary flavour and alcohol content. 

Teas

The best flavour of Kombucha comes from a combination of black, green, white, Pu-erh and oolong teas. The flavour of Kombucha will change with the tea used in brewing it. You can also mix different teas together to create a unique flavour base.

Sugar

You can choose brown sugar, white sugar, raw sugar, honey and other sweeteners. SCOBY metabolizes most of the sugar during the fermentation process creating a vinegar-like flavour and carbonation. Experiment with different amounts of sugar as too little can lead to a flat Kombucha and too much of it can outnumber the SCOBY microbes. 

Proven Health Benefits of Kombucha

So just how healthy is Kombucha? 

Gut-friendly

Much like fermented food like sauerkraut, yoghurt, Kombucha also contains probiotics. However, it cannot be a replacement for probiotic supplements as it does not have sufficient amounts of good bacteria in it. While it wouldn’t provide some additional benefits, it would also not harm your health. 

Source of Antioxidants

Kombucha contains antioxidants that fight bacteria and may help in fighting diseases. Both red tea and green tea are prominent sources of antioxidants that protect the body against oxidative stress. It also helps your skin look more youthful, supple, and reduces the signs of ageing. 

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Rat studies show that Kombucha can greatly improve bad and good cholesterol levels within a month. Green tea protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation which could contribute to heart disease. 

Helps Manage Type-2 Diabetes

Kombucha has the ability to significantly reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin production. Combining it with black tea is extremely effective when it comes to blood sugar and insulin. 

Helps Prevent Acne

As an oral probiotic, Kombucha may help in reducing acne. Due to the acidity in Kombucha, it can have the same effect as chemical exfoliation. You may notice suppleness in the skin and fading scars. 

Side Effects of Consuming Too Much Kombucha

Kombucha surely has its benefits, but too much of anything is not good. Let’s go over the possible side effects of consuming excessive Kombucha. 

Weight Gain

Drinking kombucha every day can hurt your waistline by contributing to excess calorie consumption resulting in weight gain. Liquid calories are easier to consume than those from solid food. 

Indigestion

Probiotics in Kombucha is known to help digestive health, however, when consumed in excessive amounts can lead to bloating. It also contains FODMAPS, types of carbohydrates that can be a cause of digestive distress in many people who suffer from IBS. 

Sleep Disruption

Kombucha is made with teas and contains caffeine. You know what too much caffeine does to your body, don’t you? Overdoing it on the Kombucha can have similar effects and may cause jitteriness, sleep disturbances or in some cases insomnia. 

Does Kombucha Contain Alcohol

The fermentation process breaks down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Homemade Kombucha teas have a higher percentage of alcohol than store-bought ones. So pregnant women should steer clear from consuming homemade Kombucha teas. 

How Much Kombucha is too Much

A sweet relief such as this isn’t easy to give up. You have this urge to keep sipping till the bottle is empty. So where and how do you draw the line? According to experts, you shouldn’t have more than 12 ounces of Kombucha per day, which is less than a bottle of commercially sold Kombucha (1).

What Kind of Bacteria is Present in Kombucha

Kombucha is fermented by a symbiotic community of acetic acid bacteria (AAB) and osmophilic yeast. It contains lactic-acid bacteria which potentially works as a probiotic. 

Kombucha Tea as a Health Drink

Still, weighing the pros and cons of Kombucha? I’d say give it a try and roll with it. It’s trending for its benefits and unique taste. Why not get on the fancy train yourself? See firsthand how Kombucha tea can perfectly fit into your diet and is often used as a health drink as it comes with numerous benefits and amazing flavours.

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