Haven’t heard about Kombucha? Well, it has become all the craze over the past year or so. Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years. Not only does it have the same health benefits as tea, but it also contains beneficial probiotics. Kombucha also contains antioxidants, which can kill harmful bacteria and may help fight several diseases. This article is going to explore 5 evidence-based health benefits of Kombucha, so let’s see if it is really worth it.
Kombucha Can Kill Bacteria
One of the main substances produced during the fermentation of kombucha is acetic acid, which is also abundant in vinegar. Like the polyphenols in tea, acetic acid is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms. Kombucha made from black or green tea appears to have strong antibacterial properties, particularly against infection-causing bacteria and Candida yeasts. These antimicrobial effects suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts, but they do not affect the beneficial, probiotic bacteria and yeasts involved in kombucha fermentation. The health relevance of these antimicrobial properties is unclear.
Source of Probiotics
Fermented foods such as yogurts, sauerkraut and kefir all contain live microorganisms. As kombucha is the product of fermentation, a number of probiotic bacteria are produced. At specific concentrations, probiotic bacteria can help to balance the gut microbiome in humans and improve digestion. However, to date, there have not been enough studies to confirm whether kombucha contains enough beneficial bacteria to be deemed an effective probiotic.
May Help Boost Metabolism
If you’re looking to drop a few extra pounds, you’ll likely consider anything that’ll jump-start your metabolism. Kombucha isn’t a miracle weight loss drink. But thanks to the epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in the green tea of some types of kombucha, it may be a secret to a slightly faster metabolism. EGCG is a catechin, a compound found in green tea. According to a review published in May 2017 in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, catechins have the potential to boost metabolic rates in adults. But existing studies on the topic are short and small, and the authors of the review note that more research is needed to know the true effects of EGCG on metabolism.
May Aid Constipation
As a potential source of probiotics, one potential health benefit of kombucha is its ability to balance good bacteria in the gut and relieve some gastrointestinal issues, but more research is needed, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A study was published that examined the microbial components of kombucha and identified a “prominent lactobacillus population” in the drink. Lactobacillus is a common type of probiotic, so it’s plausible that kombucha may stabilize the digestive tract and help prevent infections and inflammation. And if so, drinking kombucha might improve irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, bloating and constipation.
Kombucha May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Studies show that kombucha can greatly improve two markers of heart disease, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, in as few as 30 days. Even more importantly, tea (especially green tea) protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is thought to contribute to heart disease. In fact, green tea drinkers have up to 31% lower risk of developing heart disease, a benefit that may also apply to kombucha.
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