Bubbly, probiotic-rich, and oh so trendy, kombucha is a delicious fermented drink. But, should you really be guzzling a whole bottle of kombucha everyday?After all, the list of potential health benefits of kombucha is fascinating which makes it easy to swap a soda for the 'booch.'
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from tea, sugar, water, and a SCOBY, an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. These ingredients are placed in a large jar and left to ferment, as the SCOBY (also called the Mother) bacteria and yeast work their magic.
The result is an effervescent drink that’s rich in gut-loving probiotics and noted health effects. A 2014 review that looked at several recent studies on the health benefits of kombucha concluded that kombucha is “attractive as a fermented functional beverage for health prophylaxis,” making it a preventative sip.
The study found that kombucha is detoxifying, rich in antioxidants and energizing potencies, and able to boost immunity. It may even be protective against broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders, according to the study.
According to WebMD, Kombucha tea is used for memory improvement, PMS, joint pain, loss of appetite, AIDS, cancer, high blood pressure, constipation, arthritis, and hair regrowth. It’s also used to increase white cell counts, boost the immune system, and strengthen metabolism.
However, kombucha may have a scary side – and not just its high price tag per bottle.
Are There Any Risks of Kombucha?
Since the nineties, many cases of illness and at least one death in people who drank kombucha have been reported, according to WebMD. Other reported issues have included liver problems, lactic acidosis, allergic reactions, and nausea.
Sandor Elixir Katz, the father of modern fermentation, writes in his book "Wild Fermentation," that kombucha "has inspired much polarized debate, with claims of dramatic curative properties matched by dire warnings of potential dangers” he writes.
“My own conclusion is that both sets of claims tend to be exaggerated. Kombucha is neither panacea nor peril. Like any ferment, it contains unique metabolic by-products and living bacterial cultures that may or may not agree with you. Try some, starting with small servings, and see how it tastes and feels to you” Katz notes.
The FDA considers kombucha to be safe when properly prepared. If brewing "booch" at home (see our 4-ingredient kombucha recipe), keep containers, jars, and tools sanitized and clean.
Can You Drink Kombucha Everyday?
Many experts recommended drinking just a small amount of kombucha per day, roughly no more than eight ounces (about half a bottle of store-bought stuff). Anyone drinking kombucha tea for the first time should begin with a small amount, to see how the body will react, according to Organic Kombucha.
Women who are pregnant are cautioned against drinking kombucha as well, as the drink contains both alcohol and caffeine in small amounts.
If drinking kombucha everyday is your thing, there’s no reason to give up the addiction. If you do experience any unpleasant side effects after drinking, limit the amount consumed or take a break for a while and see what happens when you reintroduce it to your diet. Another tip, here's how to know if the kombucha you're purchasing is authentic. Or perhaps you may want to make your own and invest in a kombucha making kit now.
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