Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years, especially for its health benefits.
In Asia, it is known as the elixir of immortality; but what are the real benefits of this fermented beverage?
Besides the benefits of the tea used in the making of kombucha (particularly high in antioxidants), kombucha is a low sugar, probiotic-rich beverage, which makes it a natural ally to your digestive system and overall health!
This is what is said, but what does science really say? (ref)
Here are the 5 main benefits of kombucha, validated by science, and a little recipe for homemade kombucha that’s super easy to achieve, so you can enjoy these virtues right away!
1. Probiotics and Enzymes Strengthen the Digestive System
Let’s start with the feature that makes it so popular: kombucha helps digestion.
Kombucha contains a large ecosystem of yeast and bacteria. These microorganisms are known for their beneficial effects on our digestive system’s health. (ref)
Since kombucha contains dozens of good bacteria and wild yeast, it is difficult to know exactly what is in every kombucha. From one recipe to another, the composition of the microorganism colony will vary.
This diversity of microorganisms is what gives this beverage great potential to strengthen the human microbiota, and thus, overall health. (ref.) More diversity of microorganisms means more opportunities for our gut to develop a rich flora to fight, protect, nourish, and support our body.
The beneficial bacteria produced by kombucha fermentation are known to strengthen the intestinal flora, improve transit and facilitate digestion. However, kombucha also contains enzymes, that help facilitate the absorption of nutrients by our digestive system.
Also, the virtues of this fermented tea on the digestive system are so significant that it could even prevent ulcers! (ref)
It is always a good idea to drink a glass of kombucha after a meal, especially if it was a substantial one. This way, you can facilitate your digestion and avoid bloating and heaviness while enjoying a healthy digestive that your intestines will thank you for.
2. Kombucha Contains Nutrients and Vitamins
In addition to microorganisms, kombucha contains many interesting nutrients and vitamins.
There are several essential nutrients and vitamins: iron, manganese, nickel, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and C (ref.). As in many fermentations, the activity of microorganisms can facilitate the absorption of many of these vitamins by the human body. (ref.).
During fermentation, microorganisms also produce beneficial organic compounds. These include glucuronic acid, which is currently being studied for its protective effects on the liver. (ref)
You get more benefits from a glass of kombucha than a glass of regular carbonated beverage!
3. Kombucha Helps Prevent Disease and Slow Down Aging
Drinking kombucha is said to be beneficial in preventing many infections and diseases due to its antioxidant, energizing, and immune properties. (ref)
Kombucha contains powerful antioxidants that act on the body by destroying free radicals, thus protecting us from many diseases.
Free radicals accelerate the aging of the body as well as the occurrence and aggravation of diseases. Their accumulation in the cells leads to an increase in lesions.
Antioxidants present in kombucha come mainly from the tea that is used. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation (ref.) and limit the wear and tear and aging of the body’s cells. (ref) (ref) This can help protect the body against many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
They also have liver cleansing and detoxifying properties. (ref)
In addition, food-based antioxidants are known to be better for your health than the ones found in supplements. (ref.) Another reason to drink a good glass of freshly made kombucha!
4. Kombucha Can Kill Bad Bacteria
Kombucha is very safe because of its great diversity of microorganisms. These good microorganisms are extremely effective at killing dangerous pathogens.
During fermentation, the bacteria and yeast create powerful organic acids and various compounds that are both beneficial to us and deadly to dangerous microorganisms. (ref)
Kombucha produced from green or black tea seems to have strong antibacterial properties, especially against infectious bacteria (E. coli, B. subtilis) and even Candida yeast infections. (ref) (ref)
To learn more, see What are the dangers of kombucha?
5. Kombucha Is a Low Sugar Beverage
No need to repeat it, sugar is not good for your health. Kombucha generally contains between 30 and 50 grams of sugar per litre, while carbonated beverages contain around 100 to 130 grams per litre (ref)!
That’s 5 times less sugar than a carbonated beverage – a taste as pleasant (if not more so), and that fizzy appearance we like so much.
And this is a very conservative estimate, as we’re not even talking about the very low sugar kombucha that you can measure to your taste and dietary restrictions. For more information, check out 6 tips for making (almost!) sugar-free kombucha, or learn how to measure the sugar in your kombucha.
Kombucha is a great way to reduce your sugar intake, whether it’s to replace juice, carbonated beverages, or alcohol, or to make an unusual and healthy cocktail.
6. Kombucha Is Easy, Affordable, and Safe to Make at Home
To enjoy the full benefits of kombucha at home, nothing could be simpler: it is very easy and safe to prepare in the comfort of your own home.
Making your own kombucha costs about $1 per litre and you can customize it to your taste! Just add juice, herbal tea, or fruit at the end of the fermentation process (see our Complete guide to flavouring kombucha).
Homemade kombucha recipe summarized in 5 steps
- Prepare a sweet tea.
- Add a kombucha scoby.
- Leave to ferment on the counter.
- Add the herbal tea or juice (optional).
For more information, check out the complete guide for making kombucha.
Kombucha scoby is a strain of yeast and bacteria (often mistaken for a mushroom) that replicates endlessly if you take good care of it.
At that time, in Asia, giving a kombucha scoby was a tradition that was like a wish for good health. Feel free to divide yours up and give it to your friends!