Recent evidence shows that kombucha may help to improve immune function and digestion, provide chronic disease protection and benefits for mental health symptoms. Although there is still more to discover about the health benefits that kombucha can provide, one of the most obvious is the beneficial bacteria this beverage provides is being a great source of probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?Probiotics are bacteria that are part of your microbiome, a system of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes living in your gut. There is a mountain of research coming out on the importance of our micobiome and the role that it plays in our health and wellbeing. We are now discovering the essential roles these little guys play in our mood, brain function, inflammation and energy levels.
Although we don’t fully understand everything about the relationship between the microbiome and the human body, we do know that their genes outnumber our genes by 100 to 1. There has also been a series of studies that show a very distinct link between the gut microbiome and other crucial functions and areas of the body, such as the brain and the immune system. This must indicate that they play a very important role in our overall well being.
Benefits of Green TeaWhen preparing kombucha using green tea, you also benefit from the health effects that come along with it. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. As well as this, some of the vitamins and minerals in green tea increase the antioxidant effects. Recent studies have shown that green tea may help to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
AntioxidantsKombucha is a great source of antioxidants, particularly when prepared using green tea. The consumption of green tea provides a source of polyphenols. These polyphenols are responsible for antioxidant activity that provide protection against many chronic diseases, including cancer.
Kills BacteriaKombucha has been shown to produce antibacterial and antifungal activity against a number of candida species as well as many human pathogenic bacteria. Acetic acid is one of the main substances produced during fermentation, which is able to kill harmful bacteria, however this is not the only component in kombucha that may have antimicrobial effects. Another study has found that kombucha contains other compounds which kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
Reduces the Risk of Heart DiseaseGreen tea has been shown in some studies to contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease. Other studies have shown that kombucha may help to reduce cholesterol that is linked to cardiovascular disease when prepared using green tea.
Manages Type 2 DiabetesKombucha may provide benefits for the treatment and prevention of diabetes. One study using rats showed that kombucha induced healing properties in diabetic rats, particularly for kidney and liver function. These results show promising effects for the prevention and treatment of diabetes, however further studies are needed using humans.
Protection Against CancerWhen kombucha is made with green tea you may benefit from a reduced risk of developing some forms of cancer.
In one study, green tea was shown to reduce tumour growth in mice. This suggests that green tea may have a protective effect against cancer.
Improves Gut HealthAll fermented food contains various amounts of beneficial bacteria. Kombucha is a particularly good source of healthy bacteria. These microbes can help to support gut health. Some of the benefits that fermented foods may provide include reducing the symptoms of:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Antibiotic induced diarrhea
Although there is limited research showing the benefits of fermented foods on gut health, there are some studies showing positive results. In some cohort studies the consumption of fermented food was associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Other benefits include improving lactose tolerance for those who are intolerant through the consumption of yogurt cultures.
There’s a lot of exciting research emerging on gut health and fermented foods. Scientists suggest that some fermented foods, such as kombucha, may inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens and improve gut health by increasing the nutritional value of food and enhancing vitamin absorption and overall food digestibility.
Boosts the Immune SystemOur digestive tract is home to 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, it is also where the majority of our immune system is located. Research is confirming the importance of a healthy and diverse microbiome and the role it plays in maintaining a strong immune system by reducing inflammation.
Consuming fermented foods (particularly from early childhood), can help to train the immune system to tolerate and work with a diverse range of microbes. Although the human microbiome population is fairly well established within the first few years of life, adults can still gain many health and immunity benefits from regular consumption of fermented foods like kombucha, particularly due to the modern diet and lifestyle which is often detrimental to our gut health.
Reduces Mental Health SymptomsWe now know that our guts play much more of a significant role in our overall health and wellbeing beside simply digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. The human gut is involved in numerous physiological processes and diseases. It is often seen that mental health disorders and an unhealthy gut go hand in hand. And although studies are limited, evidence is showing a relationship between gut health and mental health disorders.
At least one study has shown this relationship by reducing depressive symptoms through fecal transplant. Other studies on animals are showing positive results for the treatment of depression and anxiety. However, more evidence is needed for the effects on humans, we are learning how fermented foods like kombucha can provide many benefits to our health besides basic nutrition.
Kombucha is increasing in popularity, but not only for its taste, the health benefits are becoming more and more well known. Kombucha provides the antioxidant benefits of green tea along with the probiotic effects from fermentation. This may include disease prevention, improved gut health, stronger immunity and a reduction of the symptoms of mental health disorders. Kombucha is simple to make at home with kombucha kits. You can find kombucha kits here to get started and discover the health benefits of this tasty fermented drink.