Last Updated: 10th October 2016
You hear all the time about drinks you should consume on a daily basis. There are so many that it can become confusing how good they are and what they do.
Kombucha will be one of those that you’ve heard you need to drink. But what exactly is it and why should you have it? Is it really going to be that beneficial for you? Here’s a look at all you need to know to make sure you opt for the best products for your health and mind.
What Exactly Is Kombucha?
You need to know what it is to help benefit from it. Kombucha is a green or black tea, usually sweetened slightly and fermented. It’s one of those functional beverages, specifically designed to create health benefits that you can’t get anywhere else.
The tea is fermented with a colony of yeast and bacteria. The type of the two will vary between Kombucha products, but they will all create the same outcome: a probiotic to create a healthier gut. You’ll have heard of probiotic yoghurts, well this is the same but in tea form.
Throughout history, the drink has been part of everyday life in many cultures. It used to be locally or home-brewed, and was mainly available in Asian cultures where it was extremely popular. From the 1990s, the Americans and other nations learned about the drink and the benefits, and it became commercially bottled for sale.
There are certainly health benefits to the drink. While there is little scientific evidence at the moment, there are plenty of people who share the benefits they have noticed. Not all can be a placebo effect. It is worth noting there are also adverse reactions, but there are reasons for these so you can avoid them.
The Dangers of Drinking Kombucha Tea
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Before moving onto all the health benefits, it’s worth noting all the adverse effects. As mentioned, there are reasons for these, and you can avoid them.
The adverse risks have been noted as rare. This could be due to the smaller number of people drinking the tea, but it could also be due to the poor quality of the tea being made.
One of the more major side effects is death. Liver and kidney toxicity have also been noted with the product. However, the drink has never purely been linked to deaths and problems. Many of the issues come from those making it at home in less than ideal conditions. Contamination can lead to problems within the body. If you do decide to make your own from home, you will need to follow guidelines to ensure the bacteria is cultured in a way that will help your body.
Over-fermentation is one of the biggest issues with brewing and leads to contamination of the fungi and bacteria. The over-fermentation process can also lead to higher levels of acid, which leads to other health problems. The teeth enamel can be worn away much quicker, and there may be problems with acid reflux, among more serious conditions.
There have also been links between the tea and anthrax infection when the tea has been used as a topical treatment. Again, this isn’t due to the tea itself but more to do with contamination during storage. You will need to follow the recommended guidelines for storing your tea, whether you source it locally or make it yourself.
Due to the risks and problems with contamination, children under four, pregnant and nursing women, and those with poor immune systems are recommended to stay away from the tea. This is also due to the microbiological nature of the tea, which can cause problems for those people mentioned.
If you’re none of the above, you could benefit from Kombucha tea. When created properly and stored safely, there are various health benefits.
Stimulating the Immune System
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One of the health benefits manufacturers of the tea claim is that the tea will boost the immune system. It will need to be in fair working order to benefit from the tea due to the bacterial nature of it.
The tea is full of properties that will help the immune system function and kill off the harmful elements within the body. There are claims that it can help to fight against cancer, AIDS, and diabetes. It is important to note that there are no studies to back this up and little in the way of evidence with people.
However, if you’re just under the weather from a cold, it could give you the peace and boost that your immune system needs to kick the illness. It’s therapeutic, warm and relaxing, which are things that some people just need when they are suffering from a cold or the flu.
The idea is that the drink is full of antioxidants. These can help to fight against the free radicals in the body, protecting the cells. Rather than fight off cancer, it can help to prevent it and give the immune system the boost it needs to fight quickly against early signs of problems.
Reversing the Grey Hair
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Some people state that the drink can reverse grey hairs. It will at least stop grey hairs from forming, helping you to keep a more youthful look.
Again, there is no scientific evidence to back this up. There is also nothing to agree that it will reverse the aging process, so you naturally have no grey hairs anymore.
The idea is that the properties within the tea kill off the aging cells. You grow and develop fresh cells again, so you don’t have all the signs of aging. More research is needed to check whether this is all true.
Better Digestive System
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Previously mentioned was how the tea is a probiotic, similar to the yoghurt drinks available in the stores. The kombucha tea can offer the same as the probiotic drinks to create a healthier gut and better digestive system.
There are good and bad bacteria. A poor digestive system is affected by the bad bacteria, and you need the good stuff to help fight against it and create a better space within your gut. This is something that the kombucha tea offers, as it is created by the good bacteria and yeast.
Having a better digestive system helps you in numerous ways. One of those is that you will feel more comfortable when you eat and go about your daily life. You won’t feel bloated or suffer from other digestive problems, like constipation or loose stools.
Another benefit of a healthier gut is that you’re less likely to suffer from yeast infections. These include cystitis and UTIs. Your body detoxifies naturally.
Some research now shows that kombucha could help to protect the gut from leaking and help to reduce stomach ulcers. This is both due to the antioxidants and good bacteria found in the fermented drink. It can also be better for fighting against gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn.
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How often do you struggle with painful joints? This could be due to arthritis, or you may struggle with fibromyalgia. Kombucha can help with joint problems. It can both treat and prevent joint issues, through the glucosamines within the tea.
Glucosamine helps to boost the amount of hyaluronic acid within the body, which helps to preserve cartilage. The cartilage between the joints helps to protect the bones, and when that starts to wear away, arthritis pain is commonly felt.
When the tissues are protected, the cartilage remains in place to protect the bones. Your joints will also have more moisture and lubrication. This also then links to the benefits of preventing cancer, as it will mean the free radical damage is lessened.
You’ll also find that you have more flexibility and stronger tissues. Many signs of aging are diminished, so you feel like you can do a lot more throughout the day.
Detoxify the Body
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The body is full of toxins from unhealthy diets for many people. The liver has to try to keep the system clean. Otherwise, the immune system is compromised. One of the biggest benefits of kombucha is that it helps to detoxify the body. This is from the good bacteria that is being fed into your system.
There are also detoxifying benefits from the glucaric acid. Some studies now show that it helps to prevent cancer, but there are also other tissue benefits as mentioned above.
Various people have claimed that kombucha tea has helped to cure their cancer. Russian nobel-Prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that his stomach cancer was cured of the tea when he was in the Soviet labor camps. President Reagan then used the tea to prevent his cancer spreading, when he was diagnosed in 1987. President Reagan died of old age in 2004, rather than cancer, so the drink helped.
Detoxification helps to protect the liver from stress and helps to keep the immune system working properly. You may remember that there are risks to the liver, but this is likely due to the contamination and over-fermentation processes. When created properly and safely, the drink will actually help to keep the liver protected and free from disease.
Boost Your Energy Levels
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How often do you feel like you just need to give your energy levels a quick boost? Whether it’s that 3 pm slump or you’re just having a bad day, you can give your energy levels a boost by drinking kombucha tea.
The tea is full of iron after the fermentation of black tea. This is released back in the body, which helps with the oxygenation of the blood. The extra oxygenation helps to give all the organs and the brain everything they need to work properly, so you feel like you have more energy
There is also the benefit of the caffeine in the tea. This isn’t in the large amounts that coffee has, but does help to give a small boost of energy after drinking it. Kombucha tea is also full of B vitamins, which help to keep the body energized.
Improve Weight Loss Possibilities
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When you’re trying to lose weight, you want food and drink to work in your favour. This is possible with kombucha tea for various reasons, many of those linked to the benefits mentioned above.
A healthy and fully working gut will improve chances of weight loss. You can reduce bloating and water retention, and you’ll feel happier sticking to a healthy diet. These help you lose weight because you won’t feel down and depressed about the way food makes you feel. The scales will also tell you the truth because there won’t be the water retention causing a gain one week from the next.
You’ll also see a boost in energy levels. This instantly helps to improve weight loss efforts, because you’ll be able to make healthier choices. Being tired often means that you reach for the unhealthy foods options that give you a boost of energy. When you have energy throughout the day, you’ll reach for food that you know will be good for your overall system.
Likewise, with the extra energy you’ll be able to do more throughout the day. You’ll want to get to the gym or make it to your exercise class. If a friend suggests that you attend a swimming lesson together, you won’t have the excuse of being too tired to play on. In fact, you’ll want to get out and do more, because you’ll feel happier within yourself.
The antioxidants have also been linked to weight loss, along with the caffeine and other properties within Kombucha. The properties boost the metabolism, so you start to burn more calories throughout the day than you used to do. It’s still important to note that this isn’t a miracle cure. You will need to follow a healthy and balanced diet to benefit fully from the weight loss effects.
Reduce Your Wrinkles
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Signs of aging are annoying, and you just want to get rid of them all. Kombucha is a way to do that, as already mentioned a few times. One of the benefits is that you can reduce the wrinkles you experience within your skin. It can also help to fight against stretch marks, which can make your skin look older than it really is.
The benefit is with the help of collagen production. The tissues are made stronger and more flexible so your skin layers won’t tear as easily. It’s the tearing that leaves you with flabby, wrinkling skin and marks from weight gain or weight loss.
Another benefit is that your skin remains flexible when you are losing weight, so you won’t end up with large amounts of sagging skin affecting your look after weight loss. There will be less need to opt for surgery to get rid of the skin since it will shrink back to the way that it used to be.
With the tea, you’ll also keep yourself hydrated. This is important for good skin care. Without hydration, even with the collagen, the skin won’t have the flexibility it needs. Hydration is also useful to help protect from eczema and dry skin conditions that can be uncomfortable and unsightly.
Reduce Mental Health Problems
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Whether you suffer from mental cloudiness or have to deal with depression and anxiety, kombucha can help. In some cases, you will be able to overcome mental illness without the need for prescription medication.
This is all linked to the clearing of the gut. The candida (yeast) within the system affects many other aspects of the body that don’t seem linked to the guy. However, candida is linked to various mental health problems, including cloudiness and instability. You may experience mood swings just because of the bacteria and fungi in the gut!
You’ll also feel better within yourself, which is amazing for helping to improve the mental state. If you feel energetic, healthy, and free from pain, you’ll be happier with your mindset. You’ll also find that you can do more exercise, which helps to release happy and painkiller hormones.
There are suggestions that the tea can help to fight against dementia and mental aging. These are benefits that still require some research to see just how much people will benefit. However, with better mental clarity, you will find it easier to keep the brain exercised, so you’ll find it easier to protect it from mental problems later in life.
Can You Make Kombucha Tea at Home?
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Now you know all the health benefits, it’s time to consider making it yourself. After all, this will help you keep the cost down, and you’ll know exactly what has been added into it. When you are making it, follow instructions and watch out for over-fermenting the drink.
- A large glass or metal jar/bowl with a wide opening. Plastic or ceramic jars have chemicals that can lead to contamination.
- A large dish towel or cloth and rubber band for securing it around the jar opening. Old cotton t-shirts or towels work the best to avoid contamination.
- A SCOBY disk. This is available in health stores and will create the bacteria and yeast for the fermentation process.
- Tap or filtered water. The choice is yours on this part.
- Organic honey or cane sugar. Avoid substitutes as much as possible, as they don’t offer the same quality or benefits in the tea. Organic options are the best to avoid other contaminants.
- Black or green tea bags. Black tea is the most traditional option, but green tea is becoming popular now. Try to find organic options.
- Premade kombucha. You won’t need much, and you can use some of your own premade kombucha or a store-bought option.
Start by boiling the water on the stove. Remove from the heat and then add the sugar and teabags. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and allow the tea to stew for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
Allow the mixture to cool and then pour into your metal or glass bowl. Add the SCOBY disk and kombucha. Cover with your towel and secure with your rubber band.
Leave for 7 to 10 days, depending on the flavour that you want. It may be worth starting with just 7 days to avoid a sour taste. Don’t leave for longer than 30 days or you’ll over-ferment the drink.
If you really want, you can try to make some flavoured kombucha tea. Some people find that this helps to reduce the sour taste, especially if you ferment it for longer than normal. Ginger root is one of the popular options to add to the mixture, but you could also opt for lemon, orange or even cranberry juice to your tea. It’s best to add the flavours after the fermentation process has been completed. You will then be able to add as much of the flavours as you want to hide the sourer taste.
Certain flavours can also offer extra health benefits. For example, orange and lemon are full of vitamin C, which will help to boost the immune system further and avoid inflammation in the body.
One thing you will need to watch out for is the extra sugar in your flavours. This can cause some negative outcomes, especially to your teeth. You will also likely have more acidity in the tea, which is something that can create health problems.
Should You Try Kombucha Tea?
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While there are health risks associated with the tea, they are associated with the contamination of the tea. This can happen during the fermentation process or in the storage of it. It’s important to find out how your tea has been made and store it safely to avoid any of this contamination.
By avoiding contamination, you will improve your chance of benefitting from it completely. There are so many health benefits, whether you want to lose weight, fight against cancer or protect yourself from aging. This is certainly a drink you should try, whether you opt for making it yourself or choosing a store-bought option. It’s time to put your health first.
Just think of the benefits this tea could give you and be very keen on making sure it doesn’t get contaminated. You should see the wonderful results shortly and these should stay for long.
Check out more info on kombucha gray hair here:
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