Diet & Nutrition
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Diet & Nutrition

Kombucha: Should you drink this fermented tea?

Kombucha tea is a star of the alternative medicine and health world. It has become supremely topical in it’s commercialization and popularity, while also being an incredible process in that it is created via a live and expanding bacterial culture. This fermented tea is promoted as a healthy elixir that can treat everything from heart disease to diabetes. Discover what makes this tea so unique and uncover the health benefits and side effects.

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea that typically uses green tea or black tea leaves, which are sweetened with sugar. The tea is made by combing bacteria and yeast strains with tea leaves and sugar. The mixture is then fermented to produce tangy kombucha. The fermentation process gives high levels of vitamins and minerals that are good for human health such as Vitamin C, B1, B6 & B12. It has an alcohol content of less than 0.5% and typically, about one-third of the tea’s caffeine remains in kombucha after it’s been fermented, which is about 10 to 25 milligrams per serving for black tea. Alcohol and caffeine in kombucha is present in significantly low quantities to have a major impact on our health.

How healthy is it?

Kombucha tea is purported to be a healthy elixir that can cure a host of diseases and ailments. It has probiotic properties that helps in maintaining a healthy gut and immune system functioning . This tea is also fat free and low in calories. It is also known to have powerful antioxidant effects. Kombucha is said to be beneficial for a wide variety of conditions, including hair loss, arthritis, hypertension, inflammation, cancer, etc.

Side effects of Kombucha

Drinking kombucha is safe when consumed in mild amounts and when brewed properly.

Proper brewing is adding Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast (SCOBY) into this freshly-completed tea base at specific temperatures and pH levels. To ensure a successful first fermentation, the tea base has to be adjusted for temperature and pH create a suitable environment i.e. below 90°F (32°C) before adding SCOBY and low pH ranging from 2.9 to 6.3. After 7–10 days, removing the SCOBY and pouring the Kombucha in bottles and capping them for 1–3 days will result in the second & the last fermentation.

Kombucha should NEVER be brewed in ceramic containers or those that use lead crystal or paint coatings. The acidic nature of kombucha can leach these chemicals into the tea mixture and cause lead poisonings. The consumption of large amounts of kombucha has been linked to a number of serious illnesses, notably several cases of metabolic acidosis and liver damage. Kombucha is not recommended for people with compromised immune systems, as the drink has been associated with severe bacteremia (bacterial infection of the blood) and fungemia (fungal infection of the blood) in such people.

Drinks with a low pH level indicate high acidity level like those in kombucha which can cause the erosion of the hard, outer layer of teeth, exposing the sensitive, yellow coloured dentin underneath, affecting the oral health. So, consumption must not be frequent and make sure to rinse your mouth with water to prevent any damage.

Whether you simply enjoy the flavor or are looking for a new healthy tea, kombucha is worth a taste. Make sure to consume in moderation and only drink high quality brews from brands you trust. If you choose to brew at home, do a through research before you brew kombucha and take the directions from an authentic and trusted source to avoid contamination and negative side effects.

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/kombucha
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24192111
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18641205
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22591682
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha
  6. https://medlanddental.com.au/focus-on-articles/gut-health-boosting-drinks-and-their-effect-on-oral-health
  7. https://time.com/5516472/is-kombucha-healthy/

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