Recently there have been many articles floating around the internet that make Kombucha tea and how it may not be as good for us as we once thought. Interestingly though, this drink known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago. Personally, I believe kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits. Research published in US National Library of Medicine 2014, say the following about the health benefits
“experimental studies on the consumption of Kombucha Tea suggest that it is suitable for prevention against broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders. This makes it attractive as a fermented functional beverage for health prophylaxis.”
What is it?
The ingredients are simple. It’s tea + water + sugar + SCOBY ( symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). This mixutre is allowed to ferment for a week or more. The fermentation process produces vinegar and several other acidic compounds, trace levels of alcohol and gases that make it carbonated. A large amount of probiotic bacteria is also produced during fermentation process.
It is served as a refrigerated/cold drink and has a natural effervescence and is said to contain probiotics and antioxidant properties. Some say it is an acquired taste. Depending on the brand you choose, some say it tastes sour and vinegar-like, however I loved it from the beginning. I would describe it more as having a is tangy, tart taste with effervescence.
What is Kombucha getting negative review?
Sugar content – just like any product on the market, you must read labels. Some Kombucha teas on the market are very high in sugar which is never a good thing. As an example GT’s Kombucha tea contains 2g sugar per cup where as others like Bucha Kombucha has 12g sugar per cup!
Alcohol content – kombucha tea sold in health food stores can contain up to .05% alcohol which is the legal limit. Some homemade kombucha brewers may be brewing kombucha with a much higher alcohol content. If sensitive to alcohol, then store bought Kombucha may be a better choice over homemade versions.
Caffeine – again, when brewing your own it may be difficult to determine caffeine content since most are made with black tea. GT’s Kombucha as an example has between 8 milligrams and 14 milligrams per serving. If you are sensitive to caffeine, try contacting your Kombucha tea maker for caffeine content.
Digestive Issue – SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, candida and other digestive health issues may not tolerate kombucha tea. If you suffer from digestive issues, please seek advice from a holistic practitioner who can help you eliminate these pathogens out of the body naturally, rebalance the body so that sugar cravings and sensitivity to sugars can be addressed.
Hepatoprotective and Antioxidant properties – a study by Department of Life Sciences & Biotechnology, Jadavpur University, India concluded that ” kombucha was found to modulate the oxidative stress… probably due to its antioxidant activity….could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”
Antimicrobial affect – a study by Laboratoire d’Analyse, Tunisia found “Kombucha a fermented tea has prophylactic and therapeutic properties.” Another study showed “antimicrobial activity demonstrated against a wide range of pathogenic bacteria and clinical Candida species.”
Diabetes prevention – a study by International Society for Complementary Medicine Research found “kombucha tea administration induced attractive curative effects on diabetic rats, particularly in terms of liver-kidney functions”
Immune benefits – a study by Journal of Medicinal Food found that “it is suitable for prevention against broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders. This makes it attractive as a fermented functional beverage for health prophylaxis.”
Who should avoid Kombucha?
Most people have no negative side effects. However, there are possible interactions and side effect symptoms with digestive problems, leaky gut, IBS or weakened immune system. These side effects seem to be more of a risk when making homemade kombucha due to contamination and lack of quality control.
In pregnancy I would suggesting limiting your risk by purchasing pre-made kombucha that’s been tested for bacteria, yeast, alcohol content etc.
While kombucha is not for everyone, in moderation this delicious and refreshing drink can provide health benefits like increasing your bacterial diversity, which helps prevent chronic disease. If you are new to kombucha tea, I recommend starting with small amount such as 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup per day. When purchasing kombucha tea, look for low sugar content, raw and NOT PASTURIZED
This letter is in response to an article posted recently by GT’s Kombucha company
Thank you for sharing this article with us. As you may know there are many pros and cons articles on the phenomenon know as Kombucha. Here is some information with regards to our product, GT’s Kombucha.
We’re happy to share that the main ingredient in all of our products is made with organic black tea, organic green tea, organic evaporated cane juice and a Kombucha culture (also known as a “mushroom” or SCOBY = symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria and yeast). The living organism breaks down and converts the sugar and caffeine for 30 days (which is essentially a fermentation process), cultivating an elixir naturally rich in probiotics, organic acids, essential enzymes and other nutrients. Like most cultured and raw foods, it also contains a trace amount of naturally occurring alcohol. The finished product is tangy, tart, slightly effervescent, low in residual sugar (2 grams per 8-ounce serving) and residual caffeine (between 8 milligrams and 14 milligrams per serving).
The above description is encompassed on our ingredient list as just one ingredient. We feel it more accurately reflects Kombucha as more than just the sum of it parts. We make only this one product and offer it in many different flavors that contain additional organic, unsweetened ingredients, but only in small quantities. We never add artificial ingredients, sugar or other sweeteners for flavor purposes.
GT’s organic raw Kombucha is 100% raw and unpasteurized, not flash-pasteurized. We stay true to the meaning of the word ‘raw’ and never expose our product to heat during the bottling procedure. Kombucha has been classified by the FDA as a non-potentially hazardous food since it does not contain any animal byproducts and since it is not grown in soil.
Kombucha made with organic tea contains very little fluoride. Fluoride levels were tested in organic black tea and in the kombucha made with the tea. The levels in the tea were only slightly higher than those in the filtered water from which it was made and actually slightly lower in the kombucha than in the black tea.
We hope this information is helpful! Please let us know if we can further assist.
Peace & Blessings,