What is kombucha? Kombucha is a mildly fizzy, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture (‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’). The bacteria and yeasts in the scoby convert the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. The acetic acid is responsible for kombucha’s distinctive sour taste.
1.Potential source of probiotics Fermented foods such as yogurts, sauerkraut and kefir all contain live micro-organisms. As kombucha is the product of fermentation, a number of probiotic microbes are produced. At specific concentrations, these probiotic bacteria can help to balance levels of bacteria in the gut and improve digestion. However, to date, there have not been enough studies to confirm whether kombucha contains adequate amounts of these beneficial bacteria to be deemed an effective probiotic. Furthermore, amounts and strains of probiotic microbes will vary depending on differing factors, including how the kombucha is made and its fermentation time.
2.May be a source of antioxidants Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are a normal by-product of processes in the body, but the key is to minimise their impact by consuming food and drink rich in antioxidants. Tea, especially green tea, is rich in a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, especially catechins. However, there are a number of variables which may influence the antioxidant properties of kombucha, including the tea it was made from and the fermentation time.
3.May contribute vitamins and minerals Kombucha contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals which are produced when the yeast breaks down the sugars, including vitamin C and the B group of vitamins such as B1, B6 and B12. Levels are likely to vary between products.
4.May be anti-fungal One of the by-products of fermentation is acetic acid and it is thought this, as well as other compounds found in green and black tea, may suppress the growth of less desirable bacteria and yeast whilst promoting more beneficial strains.
5.May support heart health Animal studies suggest consuming kombucha may improve cholesterol management and, in conjunction with the protective polyphenols in tea, especially green tea, may reduce the risk of developing heart disease.