Adrienne Youdim MD, FACP

The Health Benefits of Kombucha

Drink To Your Health With Kombucha

Kombucha is a drink that originated over 2,000 years ago in China and is now one of the trendiest drinks on the American market, especially among the health conscious.

Kombucha is made by fermenting black or green tea with a mushroom-shaped culture. It is a naturally effervescent drink and can be found at almost any of today’s grocery stores.

Kombucha has been linked to many health benefits including:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved sleep
  • Aiding in digestion
  • Relieving heartburn
  • Boosting energy
  • Enhancing immunity
  • Relief of hangover symptoms

Kombucha’s most potent benefits are likely from the fact that it contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system. They help absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness. It is important to note that these benefits have not been validated with any scientific evidence and there have been reports of adverse effects particularly with “home grown” varieties. The fermentation process does also create a small amount (less than 1%) of alcohol in the finished product, so breastfeeding mothers, recovering alcoholics, infants, diabetics, and anyone with liver or other health problems should be aware of potential downsides of drinking kombucha or consult with their doctor before consuming.

Due to the way kombucha is made (yeast and bacteria fermentation), the safest kombucha drinks are those that have been pasteurized, not raw like in home brews or some commercially brewed batches. Pasteurization ensures you get the good bacteria but not the toxins that can cause illness.

Kombucha contains B Vitamins including riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, B6 and B12. Kombucha also contains enzymes and certainly less calories than a soft drink, providing a healthier option in place of soda or other caloric drinks.

The original kombucha probably didn’t have very many flavor varieties to choose from, but in today’s market, you can find a wide variety of interesting flavors like berry ginger or cherry almond to excite your palate.

So quench your thirst, and make your gut happy!

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