The health benefits of kombucha have made this fermented tea a beverage consumed for thousands of years.
In Asia, it is known as the elixir of immortality; but what are the real properties of this fermented drink?
In addition to the benefits of tea used as the base of the preparation of kombucha (especially its richness in antioxidants), it offers the advantage of being a drink low in sugar and rich in probiotics, which makes it a natural ally of your digestive system and your overall health!
We say that, but what does science really say1?
Here are the 6 main benefits of kombucha, validated by science - and a super-easy little homemade kombucha recipe to benefit from these good properties immediately!
1. Kombucha strengthens the digestive system with probiotics and enzymes.
Let's start with the property that makes it famous: kombucha helps digestion.
Kombucha contains a large ecosystem of yeasts and bacteria. These microorganisms are recognized for their beneficial effects on the health of our digestive system.
As the nature of this drink remains wild, it is difficult to know exactly what is in each kombucha. From recipe to recipe, the composition of the microorganisms present in the final drink varies. René Redzepi, co-author of The Noma Guide to Fermentation, even speaks of terroirs for fermentation, just as we speak of terroirs for wines.
This diversity of micro-organisms is what gives this drink great potential to strengthen the human microbiota, and therefore overall health2,3. More diversity of microorganisms means more opportunities for our gut to develop a rich flora to fight, protect, nourish and support our health.
If the beneficial bacteria resulting from the fermentation of kombucha are known to strengthen the intestinal flora as well as facilitate digestion, the presence of enzymes amplifies this effect by facilitating the breakdown of nutrients during the digestive phase.
Also, the benefits of this fermented tea on the digestive system are of such magnitude that it may even prevent ulcers!
So it's always a good idea to have a glass of kombucha after a meal, especially if the meal was heavy. You thus facilitate your digestion, and avoid bloating and heaviness while enjoying a healthy digestive for which your intestines will thank you!
2 The Potential Impact of Probiotics on the Gut Microbiome of Athletes
3 Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action.
2. It helps prevent disease and slow down aging
Drinking kombucha is said to be beneficial in preventing many infections and diseases4 due to its detoxifying, antioxidant, energizing and immunizing properties.
Kombucha contains powerful antioxidants that work in the body to destroy free radicals, protecting us from many conditions.
Free radicals accelerate the aging of organisms and the development and aggravation of diseases. Their accumulation in cells causes lesions to multiply.
"A 'free radical' is an atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in its outer shell. [...] Most of the free radicals present in the organisms are strongly reactive. In most biological structures, lesions associated with the presence of free radicals are closely associated with the oxidation process. Antioxidants are reducing agents which limit the action of free radicals in these structures by passivating them. "
These antioxidants help reduce inflammation5, and limit the wear and tear and aging of body cells6,7 which may help protect the body against many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
They also have cleansing and detoxifying properties for the liver,8
In addition, antioxidants from food are known to be better for your health than those from supplements9. All the more reason to drink a good glass of fresh kombucha!
4 Current evidence on physiological activity and expected health effects of kombucha fermented beverage
5 Tea, Kombucha, and health: A review
6 Antioxidants and aging
7 Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging
8 A review on health benefits of kombucha nutritional compounds and metabolites
9 Surviving antioxidant supplements
3. Kombucha can kill bad bacteria
Like the polyphenols in tea, acetic acid (vinegar) produced during the fermentation of kombucha is able to kill microorganisms that are potentially harmful11 to the human body.
Kombucha produced from green tea or black tea seems to demonstrate strong antibacterial properties, in particular against infectious bacteria and the yeast Candida12.
4. It's a low sugar drink
No need to repeat it, sugar is not good for you. Kombucha generally contains between 30 and 50 grams of sugar per liter, while soft drinks contain around 100 to 130 grams per liter13!
Kombucha has 5 times less sugar than a soft drink, yet still having a great taste (and is, dare we say, even more delicious), as well as having that sparkling aspect that we like so much.
This number is a very conservative approximation, as we are not even talking about the very low sugar homemade kombucha that you can measure to your taste and according to your dietary restrictions.
This means that with a view to reducing sugar consumption, kombucha is an essential ally, whether it is to replace juice, soft drinks, or alcohol, or even to make a unique and healthy cocktail of it.
5. It promotes lung health
An unexpected benefit of kombucha is its use as a potential method of treating silicosis, a lung disease caused by repeated exposure to silica particles.
An animal study from China found that inhaling kombucha10 may be a way to treat silicosis, as well as several other lung diseases caused by inhaling hazardous materials.
While it's always nice to smell your kombucha, but we recommend that you don't forget to drink it!
6. It's easy, economical and safe to do at home
To fully enjoy the benefits of kombucha at home, nothing could be simpler: it is very easy to prepare it safely in the comfort of your home.
Making your own homemade kombucha costs around $1 per liter, and you can make it to your liking! Just add juice, herbal tea, or fruit at the end of fermentation.
Forgot your kombucha for too long? No problem, it turns into an excellent quality probiotic vinegar that you can use in your salads and other favorite dishes!
Homemade kombucha recipe summarized in 5 steps:
- Prepare a sweet tea.
- Add a Kombucha "mom".
- Leave to ferment on the counter.
- Add the herbal tea or juice (optional step).
A kombucha scoby - or "mother kombucha" or "mamma" - is a symbiote made up of yeast and bacteria (often mistaken for a fungus) that reproduces endlessly if you take good care of it.
Back in ancient days, giving a kombucha scoby was a tradition in Asia that was like a wish for good health. Do not hesitate to divide yours to offer it to your friends!
Making kombucha at home is very easy. Do you want to get started? Here is a more detailed homemade kombucha recipe.