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Should You Start Drinking Kombucha?

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 4/25/17 9:00 AM

If you've browsed through the organic foods section of your local supermarket lately, you've probably seen some version of a kombucha product occupying the shelves. This fizzy fermented beverage has become somewhat of an obsession among fitness and nutrition enthusiasts, and its purported health benefits – which range from detoxing your body to fighting off certain types of cancer – have propelled it into the international spotlight as a must-have addition to your nutritional regimen. So what is it exactly that's so special about kombucha, and should you start drinking it? Below are some key facts to know about this wildly popular health drink.

1. Kombucha is not new.

While the hype around kombucha has definitely reached fever pitch in recent months, the actual beverage itself is not new at all. Kombucha actually originated in the Far East about 2,000 years ago, and was known by the Chinese as the "Immortal Health Elixir." 

2. Kombucha is a fermented black tea.

Kombucha is the result of a fermentation process, where a starter culture of bacteria and yeast is introduced into sugar-sweetened black tea. When this initial colony of bacteria and yeast are combined with the sugar in the tea, the fermentation process begins, and at that point the kombucha becomes a carbonated drink. In addition, the drink takes on a vinegar-like taste, and produces enzymes, various B-vitamins and probiotics, as well as a high concentration of various acids (lactic, gluconic and acetic), which have been shown to have a variety of health benefits. This brings us to our next point ...

3. Kombucha has a gaggle of health benefits.

Some of the most commonly reported health benefits of kombucha include the following:

  • It has fantastic detoxifying properties, mainly due to its ability to counteract toxicity in liver cells. Since everything you eat and drink passes through your liver, maintaining the health of this organ can go a long way towards keeping your whole body free from toxins.
  • The probiotics found in kombucha promote digestive health and improve your regularity. 
  • The glucaric acid found in kombucha has been shown to combat certain forms of cancer; in fact, President Ronald Reagan was known to drink kombucha every day as part of his regimen to combat stomach cancer.
  • Kombucha is rich in glucosamine, which is a type of amino sugar that occurs naturally in the fluid that surrounds your joints, and plays a vital role in the development of cartilage. This supports proper joint health, and can repair and prevent joint damage as well as arthritic pain. 
  • Kombucha also contains generous amounts of acetic acid and polyphenols (organic chemicals found in plants), both of which are known to combat weight gain by improving metabolic function and limiting the accumulation of fat in the body. 

4. You shouldn't drink too much kombucha.

While kombucha is lauded for its many remarkable health benefits, the old saying about "too much of a good thing" definitely applies here. Kombucha contains lactic acid, which when consumed in excess can create a condition known as lactic acidosis, which is a potentially life-threatening build-up of lactic acid in your bloodstream. Bear in mind, however, that you would have to guzzle a whole lot of kombucha to put yourself at risk; as long as you consume it in moderate amounts (e.g., not several bottles per day), you'll be fine. In addition, it is important to note that kombucha does contain alcohol (a little less than five percent by volume on average), but again, you would have to knock down several bottles of the stuff to even come close to the alcohol content you would get in one single light beer. 

So should you start drinking kombucha? By all accounts, this beverage is a nutritional powerhouse that can provide outstanding health benefits, but you have to be mindful to consume it in moderation. As you well know, there is no one "magic cure-all" drink that will be a panacea for everything, but adding kombucha to your nutritional regimen would definitely be a step in the right direction.

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Topics: Healthy Living

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