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I Tried Kombucha for the First Time, and Here’s What I Learned

I don’t normally buy into fads; I never tried the cinnamon challenge and have always refuse to take a photo with a selfie stick. So, it’s only natural that I’ve always firmly believed that kombucha, like dabbing and the ice bucket challenge, is just another fad. But, in the name of science, I am trying kombucha. If you’re like me and refuse to try kombucha, you don’t have to — thank me later.

Kombucha is a lightly fermented tea; it boasts numerous health benefits. It has been called a magical health drink, and people who try to be healthier embrace it. People in ancient China drank it to ward off arthritis and cancer. Today, people claim the probiotics in kombucha can cure almost everything, from acne and fatigue to headaches and hypertension. Remember when people said the same thing about coconut water and juicing?

I decided to buy the lemonade flavor because I like lemonade and because it sounded like the least gross of the four options available at my local drug store. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. First of all, the flavor was a lie because it did not taste like lemonade; it tasted like cheap beer mixed with vinegar, with a hint of a lemon. I immediately questioned all of my friendships with people who suggested that drinking kombucha was worth it.

While there’s some evidence that kombucha lowers cholesterol and blood pressure during animal trials, the same benefits are largely unproven among humans. While the stuff you buy in store is probably safe, home brewers should be aware that harmful mold and bacteria can grow and cause numerous health problems. In fact, several cases of illness — including one death — have been reported from drinking kombucha.

I know I’m not one to preach about choosing healthy drinks — I chug iced coffee like water — these findings are definitely something to consider the next time you’re deciding what to drink.

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