While kombucha has been around for some time, it’s seen an uptick in popularity as a health drink recently. But what is kombucha exactly, and can it be used for weight loss?
In this article, we’ll dive into the kombucha health drink craze and explore what it is, its potential health benefits, and if it truly can be used as a tool for weight loss.
What Is Kombucha?
Over 2,000 years ago, a drink was concocted out of black tea, sugar, and yeast and set aside to ferment; this drink became known as kombucha. Kombucha made its first appearance in China, before spreading throughout the rest of Asia and then Europe. Beloved for the sweet and sour fizziness it offers, kombucha is also revered for its touted health benefits.
Stores and manufacturers alike are putting their own unique spins on kombucha these days. Still, the most well-known and popular flavors are:
- Green Tea
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha has swept the health world by storm. It’s concocted in kitchens, sold in grocery stores and restaurants, and used as a base for healthy drinks. But what are the health benefits of kombucha exactly? Let’s take a look:
- Increase in Antioxidants – Antioxidants are excellent in aiding your body with hydration and filtering out and reducing the presence of harmful chemicals. Some studies show kombucha as effective in helping the body’s liver filter out unwanted particles through the antioxidants present.
- Bacteria Reduction – During the process of kombucha being made, acetic acid forms. Acetic acid is effective at killing harmful bacteria and could potentially help with the prevention of illness.
- Potential Cancer Prevention – Due to the antioxidants and tea polyphenols, kombucha has shown in some studies the capability to suppress and kill harmful cancer cells.
- Blood Sugar Lowering – Kombucha has been shown in some studies to reduce blood sugar levels by effectively reducing and slowing down the amount of carbs present. Liver and kidney functions were also shown to be positively impacted by kombucha.
- Cholesterol-Lowering – Some studies conducted have shown kombucha to be effective at increasing good cholesterol levels while simultaneously reducing harmful cholesterol levels.
- Probiotics – Probiotics are used to increase the presence of healthy gut bacteria in your digestive system. It’s thought that kombucha can help in a similar sense due to the presence of lactic acid. Probiotics and lactic acid are known to help with inflammation, weight loss, and digestion problems.
- Heart Health – There is evidence that those who consume kombucha may have a 31 percent less chance of developing heart disease at some point.
- Anti-Depressant – Because kombucha has been shown to help increase healthy hormone and serotonin production, it’s thought that it may help treat problems associated with depression. Similarly, anxiety may also be improved through kombucha consumption
- Detoxing – There is an acid in kombucha known as glucuronic acid (GA). This acidic compound has been shown to help in gathering toxins present in the human body before absorption and aid in them being expelled.
The FDA has deemed kombucha generally safe to consume as long as safe preparation protocols are met. While there are many perceived benefits of drinking kombucha, it carries a certain amount of risk. Because kombucha is bacteria-based, it can be potentially harmful when consumed if it’s not prepared correctly. Improperly made and consumed kombucha can lead to nausea, lactic acidosis, liver problems, or even death in some rare cases.
It’s also important to note that kombucha does carry a small amount of alcohol due to the fermentation process. Still, it’s usually not more than .5 percent. Small children, pregnant women, and those with liver or renal diseases aren’t recommended to consume kombucha due to its alcohol content.
Tooth enamel decay is another common concern with the regular consumption of kombucha; this is because of the presence of lactic acid. Care should be taken to protect and clean your teeth following the consumption of kombucha.
Is Kombucha Effective for Weight Loss?
In short, yes, kombucha is believed to have some limited weight loss qualities. But, losing weight through kombucha consumption may not be what you had in mind. Here are the ways in which kombucha may contribute to potential weight loss:
- Constipation Relief – Through its aid in probiotics and gut health, kombucha can possibly help with healthy regulation of your digestive system. Conditions causing potential bloat and constipation, such as irritable bowel syndrome, can, in theory, be benefited by drinking kombucha.
- Metabolism Boost – Epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) is a compound present in kombucha that has been shown to assist in the raising of a healthy metabolism. When the metabolic rate is increased in adults, it’s known to aid in fat burning and weight loss.
- Healthier Soda Alternative – Soda and juice consumption is one of the most significant contributing factors to weight gain here in the U.S. Some drinkers of kombucha have found the drink to be a healthier, low-sugar option to typical sodas.
Making a Homemade Kombucha Smoothie
If you’re looking for a way to mix up your kombucha consumption, we’ve got a great smoothie recipe you can try right in your own kitchen. As a whole, smoothies are generally delicious but often full of sugar and fat. This kombucha version gives you a much healthier option the next time you’re craving a smoothie.
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed
- 1 1/4 cup of store-bought kombucha
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1 cup of raspberries or blackberries
- 1 cup of frozen strawberry or mango
- 1/2 cup of frozen banana
Simply add all ingredients above to your blender and pulse until blended well. Pour into your favorite glass and sip your way through your new favorite healthy drink! Not only will this smoothie taste great, but you’ll get all the health benefits of kombucha plus your daily serving of fruits. Make this delicious kombucha smoothie as a breakfast drink, an after-the-gym refresher, or any time treat.