Kombucha, also known as the “Elixir of Immortality” in the Far East, is an age-old tea that’s been around for more than 2000 years.
It’s made by fermenting bacteria and yeast with tea (green or black) and sugar, amongst other ingredients. As a beverage kombucha is consumed for a number of reasons, but most of all for its touted health benefits.
Many people claim to drink kombucha tea to help alleviate the symptoms of various health conditions. Though it’s important to note that there is limited evidence (in terms of human trials) to back these claims up.
There have, however, been several promising studies conducted on rats which show amazing potential for the positive impact kombucha may have on human health. Just be sure to do your research before consuming kombucha to make sure it’s the right tea for you!
With all that said, here are 7 potentially magnificent benefits of kombucha tea.
Kombucha may reduce your risk of heart disease
To oversimplify, risk of heart disease increases when levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) are low and levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) are high. Higher levels of triglycerides also contribute to the risk factor. Ideally, for a healthy heart, we want higher levels of HDL compared with lower levels of LDL.
A study by Lobo and Shenoy, two researchers based in Mangalore, India, found that rats fed on kombucha had higher HDL levels and lower triglycerides compared to rats that weren’t. This means that overall heart health was better in the kombucha-fed rat group.
The research concluded that drinking half a cup of kombucha per day could potentially raise “good” cholesterol and lower triglycerides!
It could help manage Type 2 diabetes
Public Health England state that over 3.8 million people have diabetes in the UK. With 90% suffering from the most common form, Type 2.
In another rat-focussed study, kombucha was shown to help reduce blood sugar and improve kidney and liver function.
Several benefits of kombucha consumption for diabetics are also listed in an article by Doctors Health Press. These benefits include:
– Improved metabolism and energy levels, resulting in better digestion.
– Potential alleviation of chronic inflammation (when made from green tea).
– Slowed digestion of carbohydrates (in rats, according to studies) which reduces blood sugar.
It could improve your digestion
It’s believed by many researchers that the probiotics, acids, and enzymes in kombucha all combine to boost digestive function.
Essentially, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that support the body’s natural bacteria. Probiotics are found most commonly in yogurt and fermented foods. But you’ll also find them in kombucha!
Probiotics, among other things, help fight inflammation, slow down bowel movements, and inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria. This may be very helpful for people with IBS. Especially considering that 84% of IBS patients experience bacterial overgrowth in their small intestines.
Kombucha may also help to replenish bacteria in the gut which can be lost due to stress and alcohol consumption.
In short, the probiotics and other healthful elements found in kombucha may help to restore balance to your digestive system!
Kombucha contains acetic acid, which could help maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Kombucha contains acetic acid, which is also found in vinegar (don’t worry, it doesn’t taste the same). One study suggested that acetic acid might have been responsible for the reduction of high blood pressure in test rats.
In another study, cited by Reader’s Digest, participants who drank a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar after consuming a blood sugar-spiking meal found their blood sugar levels reduced by 50%. It’s believed that the acetic acid may have largely contributed to this positive effect.
It’s also believed by some that acetic acid increases the time it takes for food to be broken down into blood sugar. This, in turn, could have the desirable effect of more balanced blood sugar levels.
So, in short, kombucha could offer a wonderful alternative source of acetic acid. Especially when you aren’t in the mood for a cup of vinegar.
It provides a dose of vitamins and minerals
When the yeast in kombucha breaks down the sugars, small amounts of several vitamins and minerals are produced. These include vitamins C, B1, B6, and B12.
Why’s that a good thing? Well, let’s take a quick detour into the lovely land of vitamins for a moment. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) boosts energy and stimulates digestion. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) aids brain development and helps the immune and nervous systems function properly. Vitamin B12 helps prevent anaemia, form red blood cells, and contributes to bone health. And vitamin C may prevent cataracts, helps prevent heart disease, and helps wounds heal faster.
Getting them all together inside a cup of tea? What could be better!
It also contains antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Whilst free radicals are a natural by-product of our bodily processes, it’s important to try to diminish their negative impacts. We can do this is by consuming an antioxidant-rich diet.
Tea is packed with a type of antioxidant known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are very important in helping us maintain optimal health. In general, antioxidants help control the speed at which we age. Also, by protecting us from free radicals, they help keep us safe from a number of diseases and health issues.
It’s believed that tea contains about 8 to 10 times the amount of polyphenols found in fruit and vegetables. So drinking tea is an amazing way to get an antioxidant boost throughout the day!
It may benefit the lungs
During animal trials, Chinese researchers discovered that inhaling kombucha could be a way to treat various lung diseases. In particular, ones caused by breathing in toxic chemicals and materials.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that you actually go away and try this. We’d much sooner advocate drinking the stuff. But these kind of research findings are reassuring nonetheless!
FYI. Before you get drinking…make sure to consume safely
Generally speaking, properly produced kombucha is considered safe to consume. However, it’s worth noting that homemade batches have been known to cause health issues (sometimes very serious). This is largely due to poor production methods in environments that aren’t adequately germ-free. So please be aware of the possible side effects and safe ways to consume kombucha. Make sure to always purchase from a reputable source, and don’t try making it at home unless you’re an expert! In essence, it’s always a safer bet to buy properly prepared kombucha from a professional and reliable source. Or, better yet, why not try it in a loose leaf blend? (Psst, you can find a lovely little kombucha green tea blend here. You’re welcome!)