Kombucha tea, a concoction brewed from tea, sugar, and a mix of bacteria and yeast, is the latest trend in health beverages. This fizzy drink starts with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), which when mixed with sugar and tea, ferments to produce a tangy beverage that can be found in every supermarket and service station across the country.
Some advocates tout kombucha as a remedy for ailments ranging from hypertension to even cancer. Although there are some preliminary studies that hint at potential health benefits similar to those of probiotic supplements, there is not yet hard evidence to back up the more outlandish claims.
Where’s the Health?
Kombucha contains B vitamins, antioxidants, and probiotics, but the drink’s nutritional content will vary depending on the brand and how it’s prepared. Despite all the health claims about kombucha, nutrition experts say there’s not enough scientific evidence yet to support most of them.
Naturally fermented foods come enriched with probiotics. Consuming these foods might lead to perks such as enhanced digestion and a harmonized gut microbiome. Kombucha, a fermented beverage, has captured the attention of many nutritionists who theorize it might hold benefits for gut health courtesy of its probiotic content.
Some individuals have reported stomach disturbances, infections, and allergic responses after consuming homemade kombucha, often attributed to unsanitary brewing environments conducive to harmful bacterial growth.
The acidic nature of kombucha raises eyebrows when it comes to dental health, although the full impact of this trendy beverage on our teeth is yet to be comprehensively understood.
A low pH in drinks such as kombucha can be worrisome for our teeth. But lovers of kombucha, don’t fret just yet. While moderation is key, completely cutting out kombucha isn’t mandatory.
Kombucha inherently carries a trace amount of alcohol as a byproduct of its fermentation process. However, for most individuals, this alcohol content is too minuscule to produce any intoxicating effects. To put things in perspective, “non-alcoholic” drinks must possess an alcohol content below 0.5% by volume, compared to a typical beer hovering around 5%. So, while kombucha does contain some alcohol, its quantity is substantially less than that found in traditional alcoholic drinks.
Made primarily from fermented tea, it inherently contains some caffeine. However, kombucha’s caffeine content stands out as relatively modest. This translates to approximately 10 to 25 milligrams of caffeine for every serving when derived from black tea. Some people might not notice the caffeine in kombucha at all, while others might find themselves slightly affected. Of course, this depends on an individual’s caffeine sensitivity.
A Healthy Habit or a Cause for Concern?
At the end of the day, the question often arises: “Is it safe to drink kombucha on a daily basis?” According to nutrition experts, for the average person, a daily dose of kombucha is typically harmless. However, if you’re on the fence about incorporating it regularly, it’s always prudent to consult with a healthcare professional.
There are certain groups for whom kombucha might pose potential risks. Particularly, expectant mothers, those breastfeeding, or individuals with weakened immune systems are advised to be cautious. The primary concern revolves around the live bacteria present in kombucha.
Josh is the owner and lead writer at Daily Wisely. His career has taken him from finance to blogging, and now shares his insights with readers of Daily Wisely.
Josh's work and authoritative advice have appeared in major publications like Nasdaq, Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News, Fortune, The Street, MSN Money, and Go Banking Rates. Josh has over 15 years of experience on Wall Street, and currently shares his financial expertise in investing, wealth management, markets, taxes, real estate, and personal finance on his other website, Top Dollar Investor.
Josh graduated from Cornell University with a degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at the SC Johnson College of Business.