HANDS UP IF YOU LOVE KOMBUCHA! (pronounced kom-BOO-cha) This fermented tea has been consumed for thousands of years but did you know about the nutritional benefits as well? Read on to find out more:
- Kombucha contains probiotics – you know, those healthy things in your gut! Probiotics are literally that – healthy bacteria. Studies show probiotics can be beneficial to your health as they may aid digestion, reduce inflammation and even assist with weight loss. Plus they maintain the balance of good bacteria in your gut.
- Kombucha contains antioxidants (just like tea!). As we know, antioxidants fight free radicals in the body (molecules that can damage your cells). A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper functioning in the body. However, if free radicals overpower the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress follows. Evidence shows us that the more oxidative stress your body has, the more at risk you are for many conditions, including anthersclerosis, inflammatory conditions, certain cancers, and the process of aging. The more antioxidants you consume, the lower your oxidative stress in the body.
- Kombucha is healthy when made properly and contains a small amount of vitamins, minerals and sugar. If you decide to make it at home, it’s essential you have excellent sanitary conditions and know what you’re doing. If not, it can potentially get contaminated by harmful bacteria. The toxicity of home brewed kombucha has lead to ICU admissions for some people! Stick to store bought or bottled kombucha as it normally has strict conditions under which it is produced and stored.
Important things to know about kombucha:
- Kombucha isn’t something I recommend you gulp down. Start small roughly 150mls and sip on it (rather than gulp). For those with a sensitive gut (such as myself), I find I can only tolerate ½ cup every other day as if I have too much it upsets my stomach (as it’s a rapidly fermentable carbohydrate) – note: 150-180mls is allowed on a low FODMAPs diet. I love all the benefits it provides and it tastes delicious so I continue to drink it occasionally, I just watch the amount I have as it makes my IBS worse if I have too much.
- Kombucha is not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those who have a compromised immune system. Kombucha tea, if taken in excess, like any substance, can tactfully be harmful.
- Bottom line: Kombucha has so many wonderful health benefits but for some, it may create more harm then good. Trial it in small amounts (150-200mls) and sip it slowly as most people can tolerate small amounts. It has a small amount of nutritional benefits but like anything, too much can be a bad thing and it won’t cure cancer, make you lose weight or improve your diabetes like I’ve seen some people/ companies claim. Overall, I wouldn’t quite call it a super food but I would say that it is a beneficial functional food/drink which can be a great compliment to an overall healthy balanced lifestyle.
- I get my organic kombucha from my local The Source Bulk Foods – it’s available on tap in 3 delicious flavours! Ask me any comments about kombucha below or share this article with a friend who would love to read up on kombucha!