Q: What’s the deal with Kombucha? I read about all of these health benefits and it was referred to as the elixir of life, so I should probably be drinking it, right?
A: Kombucha tea is a living culture of yeast and bacteria that is added to black or green tea with sugar. It’s then left to ferment for up to 30 days, and a “pancake”, if you will (see below), of that yeast and symbiotic bacteria forms on top. And if THAT doesn’t sound delicious I don’t know what does. So this whole fermenting process results in the formation of active enzymes, probiotics, amino acids, B-vitamins, antioxidants and polyphenols. It’s been used as an “elixir” since the Tsin Chinese Dynasty in 221 BC. Here are some of the health claims:
Balances pH in the body · Detoxifies the body · Restores hair color · Thickens hair · Increases energy · Lengthens lifespan · Speeds healing · Lowers cholesterol · Lowers blood pressure · Increases blood circulation · Eliminates wrinkles · Strengthens leg muscles · Improves digestion · Cleanses gallbladder · Lessens anxiety · Levels glucose ·
Protects teeth from cavities
The list goes on and on… Apparently the Chinese believed Kombucha had magical powers that would allow you to live forever. Not bad! But what does the research say?
Well, I think it’s safe to say the whole magical powers/living forever thing was a little off. And at this point there is no evidence that the support the claims that Kombucha is beneficial for your health- not one human trial has been published in any major medical journal. The lack of evidence doesn’t mean that Kombucha does not have any beneficial effects, just that there’s not enough research yet.
(for serious, that’s the “pancake-like” glob of yeast and bacteria)
People who drink it swear by it- my bro included, and I’ve seen many-a-celeb photographed toting it around. At 30 calories/8 oz it’s not going to make a dent in your diet, and I am never one to say no to extra antioxidants. So, if you have the acquired taste for it (I’ve never gotten past the first sip), and you’re not drinking homegrown kombucha, there’s no real reason for you to put it down.
But should you pick it up in the first place?I think Kombucha is probably another over-hyped trend, and instead of counting on a drink to lengthen your life, you should concentrate on eating an overall healthy diet and getting in enough exercise. How totally boring, I know.
Should you choose to become a Kombuchini, just be careful where you get it from. Bottled tea from the store is perfectly safe, but be wary of the homemade stuff. Leave messing with bacteria and fermentation to the pros cuz a bad batch can make you very, very sick.
So do you drink this stuff??