Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years.Not only does it have the same health benefits as tea, but it’s also rich in beneficial probiotics.Kombucha also contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria and may help fight several diseases.
Here are the top eight health benefits of kombucha, based on scientific evidence.
1. Kombucha is a Rich Source of Probiotics
Kombucha is thought to originate in China or Japan.
It’s made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast and sugar to black or green tea and then allowing it to ferment for a week or more (1). During this process, the bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like blob on the surface, which is why kombucha is also known as “mushroom tea.” This blob is actually a living symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast or a SCOBY and can be used to ferment new kombucha.
The fermentation process produces vinegar and several other acidic compounds, trace levels of alcohol and gases that make it carbonated (2). A large amount of probiotic bacteria is also produced during fermentation (3).
Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria. These bacteria can improve many aspects of health, including digestion, inflammation and even weight loss. For this reason, adding probiotics foods like kombucha to your diet can improve your health in many ways.
Bottom Line: Kombucha is a type of tea that has been fermented. This makes it a good source of probiotics, which have many health benefits.
2. Kombucha Contains the Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
This is because green tea contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body (4). Kombucha made from green tea has many of the same chemical properties and therefore many of the same benefits.
Studies show that drinking green tea regularly can increase the amount of calories you burn,reduce belly fat, improve cholesterol levels, help with blood sugar control and more (5, 6, 7, 8). Studies also show that green tea drinkers have a reduced risks of prostate, breast and colon cancers (9, 10, 11).
Bottom Line: Kombucha made from green tea has many of the same health benefits and may help with weight loss, blood sugar control and more.
3. Kombucha Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals, reactive molecules that can damage your cells (12, 13). Antioxidants from foods and beverages are much better for your health than antioxidant supplements (14). Kombucha, especially when made with green tea, appears to have powerful antioxidant effects on the liver.
Rat studies consistently find that drinking kombucha regularly reduces liver toxicity caused by toxic chemicals, in some cases by at least 70 percent (15, 16, 17, 18). Unfortunately, there are no human studies on this topic, but it does seem like a promising area of research for people with liver disease.
Bottom Line: Kombucha is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to protect the liver from toxicity, at least in rats.
4. Kombucha Can Kill Bacteria
One of the main substances produced during the fermentation of Kombucha is acetic acid, which is also abundant in vinegar. Like the polyphenols in tea, acetic acid is able to kill many potentially harmful microorganisms (19).
Kombucha made from black or green tea appears to have strong antibacterial properties, particularly against infection-causing bacteria and Candida yeasts (20). One study of chickens found that kombucha had antimicrobial effects and similar growth-promoting effects as antibiotics (21). The researchers even suggested that kombucha tea could be used as an alternative to the antibiotic growth-promoters typically fed to these chickens.
Bottom Line: Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have both been shown to kill harmful bacteria.