Do you ‘Kombucha?’

December 7, 2021


You have probably heard of this fermented drink that’s been getting lots of attention lately and wondering, is this something I need? You may think you need it and may see people just like you walking around in yoga pants or with their gym bag taking a swig (while likely wincing at the taste). You’re right to think you may need it based on the hype; but, it’s time to get a little more educated to make that determination for yourself.

Kombucha is a fermented black tea drink made from a colony of bacteria and yeast. It has been around for a couple thousand years, even though you may just be hearing about it!  The bacteria combines with sugar and the tea to ferment. It offers probiotic benefits to seemingly promote a healthy gut and immune system. I’m going to stop here to remind you of what probiotics are- they are the “good” bacteria in your gut. They can help ease lactose intolerance, constipation, and various other digestive troubles. They can be found as live, active cultures in yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir and other types of milk products. ‘Prebiotics,’ on the other hand, help to feed the bacteria already living in your gut. Now, fermented foods in general have been around for centuries as a way to preserve food. Aside from trying to preserve their food through the seasons, our ancestors likely figured out they were also beneficial for their health: Fermented Foods.

So, should you be drinking Kombucha? Well, I think that’s up to you. You can brew it at home, as it’s been done this way for a long, long time. However, it seems that this is where there are risks and adverse effects- there’s a risk of contamination, and perhaps illness as a result. It is bacteria, after all. There is government regulation on the commercial drinks that you buy, and that stuff you see floating around in the drink- well that’s the good bacteria. Regulation came in when there was concern a few years ago about the percentage of alcohol found in the drinks- an obvious product of the fermentation process. Here’s some more information about how Kombucha is made: Kombucha Brewing.

The bottom line is, yes, you could find Kombucha helpful with the benefits of supplying probiotics to your gut. You may hate the taste, but you can always take a probiotic supplement, should you choose to. However, there’s a lot of research to be done in this area of ‘gut health,’ and the effects of an ancient drink, like Kombucha, really need to undergo a thorough scientific study to determine its true usefulness. In the meantime, trying a commercial drink and noting how it makes you feel could be your own personal case study of the product! Check-out this recent Forbes article on Kombucha for more information: Kombucha 101.


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