All About Kombucha Tea
Kombucha is a delicious and well-loved tea drink that has a wide range of health benefits. It is high in antioxidants and probiotics and it contains antimicrobial properties that assist in treating a number of serious conditions.
The History of Kombucha Tea
Kombucha was first discovered in the Northern region of China in approximately 220 B.C, at that time Kombucha was called Manchuria. The Chinese immediately began taking advantage of its healing potential. Reports suggest that Kombucha was named after a Korean physician called Dr. Kombu who introduced the tea to Japan in an attempt to heal the Emperor Inkyo. Many years later, the tea found its way into Europe due to the expansion of trade routes at the beginning of the 20th century. It was extremely popular in Russia where its name was changed to Kambucha, it was also very well-loved in Germany where its name was changed to Kombuchaschwamm. Although its popularity declined during World War II as a result of a shortage of ingredients to make the drink, kombucha made a comeback in the 1960’s after a study conducted in Switzerland discovered that it had the same wide range of health benefits as yogurt.
The Ingredients of Kombucha
Kombucha does not contain many ingredients, but it is the combination that makes them so powerful. The beverage is made up of black tea, sugar and yeast. The mixture is put to one side for a minimum of seven days, within that period, acids, bacteria and a small amount of alcohol start forming in the drink. This process is referred to as fermentation and it is the same way that kimchi, sauerkraut, and cabbage are transformed into probiotic-rich foods.
The Benefits of Kombucha
There is a wide range of health benefits associated with kombucha, they are as follows:
- Kombucha is Full of Probiotics
You will also hear kombucha referred to as mushroom tea because during the fermentation process a film similar to a mushroom forms over the top of the liquid. The film is typically scooped off and used to ferment another batch of kombucha. Acetic acid is another compound that is produced during the fermentation process, acetic acid is one of the ingredients found in vinegar. The gases that it creates also cause it to become carbonated. Experts also believe that lactic-acid bacteria is also formed during the fermentation process and this is where the probiotics are found.
Probiotics are good for the gut because they repopulate it with healthy bacteria. This good bacteria is responsible for reducing inflammation, improving digestion, accelerating the weight loss process and many other health benefits. Therefore, kombucha tea makes a healthy addition to any diet.
- Kombucha Tea Provides Similar Benefits to Green Tea
Green tea is well-known for its many health benefits, it contains a wide range of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols which fuel the body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants. One of the main ingredients in kombucha is green tea and it is also made up of several of the same plant compounds which provide the same health benefits.
Studies indicate that drinking green tea often accelerates the weight loss process by improving cholesterol levels, getting rid of belly fat and burning more calories than normal. The beverage also helps to control blood sugar and reduce the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer.
- Kombucha is High in Antioxidants
The role of antioxidants is to destroy the reactive molecules and the free radicals responsible for damaging cells. Several scientists have come to the conclusion that the antioxidants present in food and drinks provide more health benefits than the antioxidants that are present in supplements. When kombucha is made with green tea, the antioxidants have a beneficial effect on the liver.
Studies with rats have found that regular consumption of kombucha causes a significant reduction in liver toxicity that is caused by toxic chemicals.
- Kombucha Tea Destroys Bacteria
As mentioned, when kombucha is fermented it produces a compound called acetic acid that is also highly present in vinegar. Acetic acid destroys a lot of harmful microorganisms. When kombucha is made from green or black tea, it contains powerful antibacterial properties that fight against candida yeasts and infections that cause bacteria.
The effect of the antimicrobials put a stop to the growth of undesirable yeasts and bacteria while leaving the good yeasts and probiotic bacteria intact.
- Kombucha Tea Helps to Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease kills more people in the world than any other illness. Studies on rats indicate that kombucha tea assists in reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol in as little as 30 days.
Additionally, green tea prevents LDL cholesterol from going through the process of oxidation which also leads to heart disease.
Research suggests that people who drink green tea have a 31% less chance of developing heart disease. These statistics also apply to kombucha when it is made from green tea.
- Kombucha Tea Helps With the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes
There are more than 300 million people in the world who suffer from type 2 diabetes. The condition causes high blood sugar levels which cause the body to become resistant to insulin.
In a study on a group of rats suffering from diabetes, it was discovered that kombucha caused a deceleration in the absorption of carbohydrates which causes a reduction in blood sugar levels. It also improved kidney and liver function.
When kombucha is made from green tea, additional benefits are experienced because studies have also found that green tea assists in reducing blood sugar levels.
An evaluation of several studies of approximately 30,000 people discovered that those who drank green tea reduced their chances of becoming diabetic by 18%.
- Kombucha Tea Contains Cancer-Fighting Properties
Cancer causes millions of deaths around the world, the main cause of the disease has yet to be discovered. However, its main features are uncontrolled cell growth and cell mutation.
Test-tube studies have found that because of its high concentration of antioxidants and tea polyphenols, kombucha was responsible for preventing cancer cells from growing and spreading. However, experts have yet to gain a full understanding of how the anti-cancer properties present in tea polyphenols work. But what scientists do know is that polyphenols promote the death of cancer cells and stop the growth and the mutation of cancer cells.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Kombucha Tea?
As you have read, there are several health benefits associated with kombucha tea. You can either buy it or you can make it at home. However, it is essential that kombucha tea is made properly or it can become over-fermented and contaminated and it can cause more harm than good. Therefore, it is safer to purchase kombucha from the store to ensure that it is made properly. Not only are commercial products delicious but they are also alcohol-free because they don’t contain any more than 0.5% alcohol. However, before making your purchase, it is important that you check the ingredients for low sugar content.
Kombucha is safe for the majority of adults when consumed orally; however, when it has been contaminated it can cause a number of unpleasant side effects such as neck pain, headache, vomiting, nausea, yellow skin, allergic reactions, yeast infections, stomach problems and at the very worst death.
Breast-Feeding and Pregnant Women: There is the possibility that kombucha poses a risk for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Therefore, to prevent any issues, just don’t drink it.
Alcoholics: Although kombucha only contains a low level of alcohol, it is advised that alcoholics avoid it.
Diabetics: It is possible that kombucha has an effect on blood sugar levels. If you want to drink kombucha tea but you suffer from diabetes, make sure that you pay attention to your blood sugar to avoid hypoglycemia.
Diarrhea: One of the ingredients in kombucha is caffeine, do not drink kombucha in large amounts if you are having a bout of diarrhea.
Surgery: Studies suggest that kombucha has an effect on blood glucose levels. Therefore, if you are scheduled to have surgery, it is advised that you stop drinking kombucha a minimum of two weeks before going into surgery.
What are the Drug Interactions With Kombucha Tea?
One of the ingredients in kombucha tea is alcohol when alcohol is consumed, the body breaks it down to eliminate it from the body. The drug disulfiram does not allow the body to properly break down alcohol. Additionally, the combination of disulfiram and alcohol can cause severe headaches, flushing, vomiting and many other harmful reactions. It is also advised that you do not consume any alcohol if you are taking disulfiram.
What is the Dosage of Kombucha Tea?
There is no specific dosage for kombucha tea, how much a person consumes is dependent upon a number of different factors including, health and age. At present, there is a limited amount of scientific evidence to determine the exact doses of kombucha tea. It is also important to mention that if you are taking prescription medication, it is essential that you consult your healthcare practitioner prior to drinking kombucha tea.
As you have read, kombucha tea is a delicious beverage with numerous health benefits. However, although it is a natural product, there are also negative side affects you should become aware of before consuming the tea.