The 12 surprising benefits of kombucha

Kombucha is an old-world fermented drink full of healthy benefits. In recent years it has become a common item in most health food and grocery stores. 

So what’s the hype all about? What makes kombucha so special? 

Read on to find out 12 benefits of kombucha! 

What is kombucha? 

Kombucha is tea (usually black and/or green tea) and a sweetener (usually sugar) which is then fermented using a scoby. This is an acronym for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’. 

The process is similar to making vinegar. If you’ve bought a bottle of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar for example, you’ll like see a brownish-cloudy substance floating around. This is called the ‘mother’. Like in vinegar, the scoby acts as the ‘mother’ for making kombucha. 

During the fermentation cycle, the scoby’s yeast and bacteria essentially eat up the tea and sugar and leave behind the fermented, effervescent beverage we know as kombucha.

What’s in kombucha?

Before we get to the health benefits of kombucha, we need to look at kombucha’s ingredients and properties. This is where the health benefits come from. If you’d rather just jump straight to the benefits, scroll down to the next section! 

Through the starting ingredients and the fermentation process, kombucha gains a variety of beneficial bacteria, yeast, healthy acids, vitamins and antioxidants. 

While the specific types and amounts can very depending on how the kombucha is made, here is a general list of what you could expect a quality kombucha drink to contain:

Beneficial bacteria and yeast: these can vary among kombucha brews, but a common bacteria strain is acetobacter, which is used to make acetic acid and gluconic acid (see below) and a common yeast strain is saccharomyces.

Amino acids: usually all nine of the essential amino acids plus non-essential ones are found in the kombucha scoby. These include lysine, glutamic acid, alanine, aspartic acid and proline. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. 

Organic acids: these healthy acids are actually alkaline forming within our bodies, in the same way that lemon or raw apple cider vinegar are alkaline-forming acids once ingested. Acetic acid is kombucha’s primary acid and it can help to boost energy, digestion, absorption of minerals and lower blood sugar levels. 

Antioxidants: present in the tea used to brew kombucha and magnified through the fermentation process, antioxidants help fight oxidative stress in the body. 

B vitamins: these are produced by the yeast during the fermentation process and play an important role throughout our bodies, especially in cellular metabolism.

Enzymes: numerous enzymes have been found in kombucha, such as amylase, lipase, protease and sucrase. These are proteins that help metabolism by building up or breaking down certain substances. 

Sugars: while most of the sugar is used up in the fermentation process, kombucha contains small amounts of fructose (a naturally occurring fruit sugar) and even smaller amounts of glucose, which is further metabolized into gluconic and glucoronic acids. These two acids can help with digestion and the elimination of toxins. 

Caffeine: it’s a necessary part of the kombucha fermentation, but the original levels found in the tea are reduced during the brewing process.

Alcohol: kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol which occurs as part of the fermentation process. The amount of alcohol in home-brewed kombucha varies but commercial kombucha contains no more than 0.5% alcohol. 

The 12 surprising benefits of kombucha

Before we dive into the amazing and surprising health benefits of kombucha, please be aware that kombucha is not a cure for disease or any type of health condition. The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any food, drug or health administration. 

If you have any diagnosed medical concerns, please work closely with your trusted medical professional to help you decide how much kombucha is right for you. 

That said, kombucha can be a very beneficial compliment to other healthy habits and regimes.

Although kombucha has been around for centuries and has a huge following around the world, there have been few formal studies done on its properties and benefits. 

The below benefits of kombucha are based on the ingredients which may be commonly found in kombucha. Be aware that actual presence or amounts can vary depending on the ingredients used and the fermentation time. 

Here are 12 of the many health promoting benefits of enjoying kombucha:

1. Kombucha encourages whole body balance and health 
Kombucha is considered to be an adaptogen, which is a natural substance that normalizes and balances the body in its entirety. While some people have amazing testimonials on how kombucha has helped them heal specific ailments, it actually helps the whole body return to a healthy balance, so that the body can heal and maintain its various systems and processes at optimal levels. 

This is the most important benefit of kombucha: it helps your body so that your body can help itself. 

2. Kombucha aligns to any diet. 
Whether you’re a raw foodie, vegan, kosher, paleo, self-sustained homesteader, or a Mom who’s trying to do the best she can, kombucha can support you no matter where you’re at in your health journey. Most people can benefit from more healthy bacteria and yeast.  Kombucha can be either a great starting point or addition to an already healthy lifestyle. 

3. Kombucha can support healthy gut bacteria and digestion
Kombucha can help to support digestion with its beneficial bacteria and yeast rich in Vitamin B’s. Its acetic acid content can effectively lower the pH in the stomach, thereby increasing stomach acid levels for better digestion. Kombucha’s various acids and enzymes can also help with better nutrient absorption, and can help fight off unwanted bacteria and even candida yeast organisms. 

4. Kombucha can promote healthy liver function
Glucoronic acid is naturally produced in the liver to help it metabolize toxins. Both gluconic and glucoronic acids bond with toxins so that they can be eliminated from the body. Kombucha can contain varying amounts of both gluconic and glucoronic acid, depending on the ingredients used and the length of fermentation. Further, antioxidants can help the body remove toxins and repair cells. Vitamin B's play an important role in supporting liver function. 

5. Kombucha can support healthy blood sugar balance
Kombucha is high in acetic acid which has many health promoting properties, including lowering blood sugar levels and blood triglyceride levels. Kombucha contains very low residual sugar, most of which is fructose - a naturally occurring type of sugar that does not impact blood sugar in the same way glucose does. Many people can enjoy kombucha without it negatively affecting their blood sugar levels. It can be a great alternative to commercial soda pops or juices. 

6. Kombucha can help with efficient metabolism/healthy weight
As an adaptogen, kombucha can help reduce the cravings for sugar and boost feelings of energy and stamina. With its multitude of enzymes and beneficial acids, kombucha can promote better nutrient absorption in the gut. This can lead to reduced hunger signals and reduce the likelihood to reach for high calorie snacks. Kombucha’s lactic and malic acid content can support specific weight loss diets or fitness regimes. 

7. Kombucha can encourage cellular regeneration and repair
Kombucha is rich in antioxidants, which are made even more potent through the fermentation process. They help rid the body of free radicals. Its vitamin C content can help manage inflammation. Glucoronic acid also converts to glucosamine, which is important for healthy joints and cartilage.

8. Kombucha helps with healthy management of stress
Kombucha has bioavailable amounts of vitamin C and various vitamin B’s, such as B6 and B12. When feeling stressed, the adrenal glands release cortisol to induce the fight or flight response. Both Vitamin C and B’s help maintain healthy cortisol levels, which means calmer and more stable moods. With its gut promoting bacteria, enzymes and acids, kombucha can protect the digestive tract from stress-related gut issues. 

9. Kombucha can support healthy heart function
Kombucha contains a variety of health-promoting acids. Acetic acid is known to help lower triglyceride levels and reduce cholesterol. Caprylic and capric acids promote HDL (good cholesterol) while helping to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol). Kombucha’s antioxidants help to remove free radicals that can damage heart tissue. 

10. Kombucha can help reduce cravings
Common unhealthy cravings for soda pops, sugar, caffeine or alcohol can be reduced with drinking kombucha. Its natural fizziness and refreshing flavor have health promoting properties while satisfying your taste buds. Instead of empty calories, damaging artificial ingredients or a sugar-crash, kombucha can supply trace minerals, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, and antioxidants for better health. 

11. Kombucha can support your immune system
The gut is your body’s first line of defence. With kombucha’s healthy bacteria and acids, it supports your digestive tract in protecting itself from harmful organisms. Many acids such as lactic acid and caprylic acid are known for their antibacterial properties. Antioxidants help remove toxins and repair cells. Kombucha’s vitamin C content can further support immune function. 

12. Kombucha can help with healthy looking skin
When the internal environment becomes compromised with an overload of harmful bacteria or yeast, skin rashes are a common side effect. By promoting gut health, a balance of healthy organisms, and encouraging the removal of toxins through liver and bowels, kombucha can help the body clear up rashes or other skin concerns. Its antioxidant properties can help remove free radicals that can contribute to premature aging. Glucoronic acid readily converts to glucosamine, which has been shown to increase collagen density. 

How to incorporate kombucha into your diet

If you’re new to fermented foods, including kombucha, start slowly by drinking 1/4 to ½ cup (60 - 120ml) per day and slowly increasing that amount over several days or weeks, depending on your level of health. 

Since kombucha has detoxifying and regenerating qualities, you don’t want to create a ‘healing crisis’ by consuming too much too soon. 

Once your body is used to kombucha’s healthful benefits, drinking 1-2  cups (250-500ml) per day on a regular basis allows it to act as a tonic for optimal health. 

Ready to make your own kombucha? 

Now that you have an idea of kombucha’s many health-promoting benefits, you may want to start making your own delicious fermented brew. I offer a digital course to help you make the most delicious, healthiest kombucha for just pennies a glass. Click here to learn more! 

All my best,

Live/Dried Blood Analysis - Homeopathy - Essential Oils Specialist
Health & Life Coaching

P.S. Remember to check out my kombucha making course here

References and Resources:
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
The Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz
The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates

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