I was first introduced to Kombucha by my vegan friend at a Galentine’s Day party in 2018. My passion for health was in the midst of its biggest growth spurt, so I couldn’t say no when she offered it to me. One small sip from her bottle, however, with its strange smell and unique taste, was enough for me to decide that I never wanted to try it again. Eight months later, my mom brought home three bottles of Synergy Kombucha and I decided to give it another try; after a few sips, I was hooked. Fast forward another eight months and I was drinking three bottles a day. This is an insanely unhealthy and crazy expensive habit. I’m proud to say that I’ve dialed it down to 3 bottles a week, and my immune system is thankful (I think).
Kombucha is a mildly (less than 0.5% – no ID necessary) alcoholic tea drink made with fermented bacteria and yeast. It’s no surprise that the majority of non-drinkers approach Kombucha with heavy suspicion; the aforementioned weird smell and taste are enough to drive anyone away. Also, much of the health science world believes any evidence claiming Kombucha to be healthy is too limited. Despite all of this, the popularity of the drink has grown steadily in recent years. I personally believe it’s a smart alternative to yogurt (yogurt isn’t as healthy as you’ve been told – click here for more info) and soda. It also tastes better than green tea, but with the same benefits (for the most part!).
Get to the point. What are the health benefits of Kombucha?
1. Gut Health
The probiotics found in Kombucha are particularly beneficial to gut health; they help with diarrhea and have even been used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. FYI, a healthy gut is directly connected to an effective immune system! 70% of your immune system strength is linked to your gut health.
2. Decreased Cancer Risk
Note: Most of the studies linking cancer prevention and Kombucha consumption were performed on cancer cells outside of a living body, which decreases credibility in the health science world.
3. Cardiovascular Health
According to a study published in Pharmaceutical Biology, Kombucha may lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Green tea (reminder that Kombucha is a type of green tea drink!) protects LDL cholesterol cells from turning into molecules that cause heart disease. Drinking green tea can lower an individual’s risk of contracting heart disease by 31% and Kombucha is believed to have the same impact. More on this can be found here.
4. Liver Health
The antioxidants found in Kombucha decrease liver toxicity, which (obviously) improves general liver function. This also decreases your chances of liver disease and makes it so that your liver doesn’t have to work as hard. This organ is in charge of over 500 bodily functions, including fighting infections and regulating hormones, so I think it’s safe to conclude that liver health is incredibly important to an individual’s overall health.
There’s not much to say here, other than the fact that Kombucha is believed to boost hydration. Every cell, organ and tissue in your body relies on hydration. Being hydrated can also improve your mood, sleep and cognitive activity.
Side note: If you aren’t going to start drinking Kombucha, please drink more water.
6. Kidney Health
Rat studies have shown that Kombucha consumption can lower blood pressure and help with general kidney function. Your kidneys remove waste from your body and filter your blood – so, once again, incredibly important organs.
7. Pancreas Function
Kombucha slows carb digestion, which lowers blood sugar. It also increases insulin production and decreases hemoglobin A1C levels. FYI, hemoglobin A1C is a measure of the amount of sugar in your body. You can find more information about this health benefit here!
Ok, what brand should I try?
I always recommend Kevita to beginners. It’s not too fizzy and, for the most part, tastes like bubbly lemonade. It has 9 grams of sugar, as opposed to the Kombucha average of 2, so keep that in mind. I find the Ginger flavor to be absolutely repulsive, but everything else is enjoyable.
My favorite brand is GT’s Living Foods (they sell the Synergy line) which, considering it was the brand that made me fall in love with Kombucha, makes sense. Grocery stores almost always have BOGO offers and the flavors are absolutely heavenly. My favorites, however, are Trilogy, Watermelon Wonder and Raspberry Rush.
I also like Big Easy Bucha; it is, however, extremely fizzy. Most of the regular drinkers I know find it too strong, but that only means it’s more effective. I (sometimes) like Big Easy Bucha, so if you find yourself craving an adventure – try it!