Kombucha: What to Know About the Hottest New Probiotic
Kombucha: a tea-like drink that has hit the market and become extremely popular what seems like overnight. With a combination of mixed reviews, myths, and confusion, you might be asking yourself “What’s all the hype about?” Never fear, we’re here to tell you what you need to know about the most popular new probiotic.
Q: What is kombucha?
Good question! Kombucha is a culture of fermented probiotic bacteria typically added to a sweetened tea to make it into the drink you know. It comes in a variety of flavors ranging from raspberry to ginger, and can even be brewed from your home if you decide you like it enough!
Q: What are the health benefits of kombucha?
As previously stated, kombucha is a probiotic drink, meaning it contains bacteria that is good for your intestinal health. The benefits of probiotics include improved digestion (which can result in a faster metabolism), boosted immune system, and reduces the symptoms of digestive disorders and similar issues. On top of the probiotic benefits, the positive effects of kombucha can also stem from other things in the tea. For instance, a ginger kombucha will have the probiotic benefits on top of the health benefits that ginger provides (anti-inflammatory properties, immune system boosting, improves digestion).
Q: Is kombucha alcoholic?
Yes and no. Due to the fermentation process used to make kombucha, there are trace amounts of alcohol in the drink. However, if you’re afraid of getting day-drunk off of probiotics, worry not. An average serving of kombucha contains about 0.5% alcohol, meaning you would have to drink approximately 160 ounces of commercial kombucha to consume the amount of alcohol found in an average glass of beer, which has a 5% alcohol content. An important note to remember however, is that home brewed kombucha can have a much higher alcohol content (up to 3%) as compared to commercially sold ones.
Q: Is kombucha just a fad health drink?
Unlike some mass marketed “metabolism boosting” drinks, the bacteria cultures found in kombucha have actually been a part of Indian medicine for centuries, its origin dates back to up to 2,000 years ago. Although it has been newly popularized in Western culture, its long and storied history more than proves its legitimacy! While some of the newer sweetened teas may not necessarily be the original formula used in traditional Indian healing methods, they still provide many of the same health benefits.
Q: Is kombucha a meal replacement or weight loss supplement?
No! While kombucha has undeniable health benefits and can help with losing weight via improving metabolism and digestion, it does not have the nutritional value to sustain you in lieu of a meal. Instead, drink it along with a meal to provide your gut with the bacteria necessary for healthy digestion to help improve your metabolism and burn calories quicker.
Q: I don’t like the taste of kombucha, but still want the health benefits. What should I do?
Kombucha can be an acquired taste, as it is so unlike anything most people have ever tasted. If you don’t immediately like the taste, maybe try a few more flavors before giving up on it entirely! If you ultimately decide it’s just not for you, there are plenty of other ways to add probiotics to your diet.