Kombucha has earned a crazy good reputation in the health and fitness world. From improving gut health to reducing inflammation, the beverage has become increasingly popular in recent years. The sweet, fizzy drink is made from yeast, sugar and fermented tea and contains living probiotic bacteria, like the ones you’d find in yogurt and cottage cheese.
You can either purchase kombucha from your local health foods store or make your own. Either way, you’re likely to enjoy multiple health benefits when you sip this bubbly beverage.
1. Boost Metabolism and Burn Fat
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, kombucha might help. While it certainly isn’t a miracle weight loss drink, the green tea in it may boost your metabolism. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, the most important of which are epigallocatechin gallate. These help increase metabolism and some studies suggest they may even burn fat both during and after exercise.
Moreover, kombucha is typically lower in sugars and calories, making it a healthy alternative to soda or juice. Making it your go-to drink could help you maintain your current weight or lose some pounds.
2. Lower Blood Sugar
Drinking kombucha might also benefit those who live with diabetes. The drink inhibits a protein in the pancreas responsible for higher glucose levels after eating. In a study involving rats with diabetes, kombucha had curative effects after just 30 days. It also enhanced the rats’ liver and kidney functioning.
Researchers also think kombucha made from green tea is even more beneficial since the tea alone may reduce blood sugar levels. Although more research is needed, you may see doctors recommending this fizzy refreshment as a complementary treatment for diabetes in the future.
3. Promote Gut Health
As previously mentioned, this beverage contains probiotics — specifically, lactic acid bacteria, which may function as a probiotic. These bacteria are very similar to the ones in your gut, so consuming more of them may improve your digestive health. Probiotics aid your body in breaking down fats, proteins and carbs and help you better absorb the nutrients in food.
If you have a stomach ache after eating, try sipping some kombucha to help with digestion. These bacteria may also ease irritable bowel syndrome and help treat diarrhea.
4. Reduce Inflammation
While kombucha may not be as strong as prescription drugs or medication, it may help treat inflammation in conjunction with meds. This ability occurs because the teas in this drink contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These anti-inflammatory effects are most prevalent in the intestinal tract, where the kombucha re-balances the good and bad bacteria, relieving irritation from inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal issues.
5. Improve Heart Health
Kombucha could also boost cardiovascular health by positively influencing cholesterol levels. Once again, rat studies show its effectiveness. Rats showed improved levels of HDL cholesterol and lower levels of LDL in 30 days. Further, the green tea in the drink protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which generally contributes to heart disease. By halting this process, this juice improves heart health and lowers disease risk simultaneously.
6. Prevent Cancer
Although scientists don’t completely understand it yet, kombucha may very well help prevent cancer. In test-tube studies, the drink stopped the growth and spread of cancerous cells. The tea’s high concentration of polyphenols played a major role in facilitating this. Their anti-cancer properties blocked gene mutation and promoted cancer cell death, which generally makes tea drinkers less likely to develop certain cancers.
7. Aid Depression Treatment
In addition to possibly curing cancer one day, kombucha may also minimize depression. Recent research has shown that the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system communicate with each other. A healthy gut may mean a happy brain. Kombucha’s probiotics could do just that, relieving depressive symptoms by introducing these substances to the gut bacteria.
However, scientists will have to conduct additional tests and research before they consider prescribing kombucha as an anti-depressant.
Choosing the Best Kombucha
Are you ready to throw back a cold glass of this beverage? If you’re looking to purchase or make your own healthy drink, consider a few things first. There is an immense variety of kombuchas on the market today. From supermarkets to local family-owned grocery shops, you can find the stuff almost anywhere. But how do you choose?
First, find out what kind of tea is in it. As this article discussed, green tea has some amazing health benefits by itself, so you may want to go with a brand containing it. But there are also black, white and other varieties to choose from. Pick whatever sounds good and inspect the label.
Kombucha isn’t sugar-free, but it shouldn’t contain more than a few grams. The typical bottle will have six to eight grams per serving, so be wary of added sugars. Any more than that and the sweet substance negates the health benefits of kombucha.
If you make your kombucha, be sure to prepare it properly. Leaving it to ferment for too long can increase the alcohol content and cause an upset stomach and other health issues. Additionally, you run the risk of contaminating the drink if you go the DIY route. So if you aren’t a kombucha-making pro, you may want to play it safe and stick with the store-bought version.
Achieving Better Health
Drinking more kombucha can help you become your best “you” concerning your health and wellness. Give it a try and see how you like it — then invite your friends and family to take a sip, too. Everyone can boost their health by trying something new and delicious.