Kombucha: 7 benefits and how to make the drink

benefits of kombucha
This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage that has a slight gasification. In addition, it has a taste very similar to cider.

Due to its distinctive taste, this drink of Chinese origin is easy to drink, but its potential is on the list of health benefits. Improving the intestinal microbiota, fighting bacteria and preventing hair loss are some of the positive effects.

“Kombucha is prepared with a base of black or green tea to which two elements are added, sucrose (sugar) and SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), which is a culture of bacteria and yeast. The fermentation time for preparing kombucha varies from 3 to 60 days”, explains nutritionist and specialist in orthomolecular medicine, Leone Gonçalves.

But, do you know how to make this drink at home without it getting contaminated? This is one of the information that the nutrition professional will answer in this article. Here you can also find out how to buy, what the price is and if she really loses weight.

7 benefits of kombucha

According to Gonçalves, the B complex vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and B12) are some of the nutrients found in the drink. In addition to them, vitamin C and various probiotics also make up the liquid.

1. Improves intestinal microbiota

This action results from the presence of live microorganisms that benefit health, especially the gastrointestinal tract. The so-called probiotics help maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota as they act in the production of substances that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Due to this regulatory action, the drink is able to prevent the development of some gastrointestinal pathologies, such as: lactose intolerance, diarrhea , Crohn’s disease and colon cancer. ( 1 )

2. Strengthens the immune system

The nutritionist explains that vitamins and probiotics also contribute to strengthening the immune system. Thus, they increase the body’s ability to protect itself against myco-organisms that are harmful to health. ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

3. Cleans the organism

“Kombucha is rich in catechins and flavonols, two antioxidant polyphenols that reduce free radicals and heavy metals in the body, acting as a detoxifier, ” explains Leone Gonçalves.

Another substance with these same properties is glucuronic acid. Despite its difficult name, this compound is essential for eliminating toxins present in the body.

Pollutants, excess steroid hormones, exogenous chemicals (such as medications) and bilirubin (a compound resulting from the breakdown of hemoglobin) can be eliminated through the urinary system.

4. Protect cells

Speaking of antioxidants, it is important to mention the protective action of cells against free radical attacks. When unstable molecules accumulate in the body, they begin a cellular oxidation process.

This effect is harmful to cells and can be a contributing factor to the emergence of different types of cancer. But the drink manages to block the activity of free radicals, preventing the oxidizing effect.

Furthermore, it has anti-cancer property , since it decreases the survival of diseased cells. This is because it inhibits molecules responsible for the formation of new blood vessels, a process that is related to the development of diseases such as cancer. ( 1 , 2 )

5. Fight bacteria

“The bacteria and yeasts present in kombucha are mostly of the Acetobacter, Gluconobacter and Sacharomyces type and are responsible for promoting beneficial antibacterial activity to the body and also act protecting the contamination of the drink pathogenic bacteria”, highlights the nutritionist.

In this way, the drink prevents the emergence and growth of the bacteria responsible for the development of gastritis , Helicobacter pylori. In addition, other microorganisms are inhibited such as Escherichia coli (causes infections in the digestive and urinary tracts) and Staphylococcus aureus (causes skin, heart, bone and pneumonia infections).

These effects result from the presence of acetic acid. However, the antimicrobial action is not equally found in different types of kombucha. The drink made with green tea has greater potential compared to black tea. ( 1 , 2 )

6. Relieves inflammation

Also thanks to its antioxidant action, this fermented liquid is able to reduce inflammation that affects the health of the body. An example of this is joint pain relief.

In addition, the drink significantly improves multiple sclerosis. This inflammatory disease is considered autoimmune and is responsible for the degradation of parts of the central nervous system. ( 1 )

7. Fights hair loss

“Some studies show that kombucha can be beneficial to treat alopecia, which is hair loss. Tea can be a very useful tool in hair strengthening ”, says nutritionist Leone Gonçalves.

However, according to the professional, this natural product should not be considered a magic elixir, as it is necessary to do the treatment for at least two months for the results to begin to appear.

The way to use it is simple, explains the specialist in orthomolecular medicine. “The kombucha should be rubbed into the scalp 30 minutes before washing the hair. Studies suggest that this can partially interrupt hair loss”, he concludes.

Other beneficial effects studied

In addition to all the benefits already mentioned, some users point to other positive effects of the drink. However, Gonçalves explains that these activities are still being studied and for the time being there is no way to prove them. Check out what they are:

  • Cholesterol reduction
  • Blood pressure control
  • Aid in the treatment of diabetes
  • Fights kidney failure.

Kombucha loses weight?

Another action very associated with this drink is the reducing effect of measurements . Even so, the nutrition professional explains that there is still no strong evidence to prove this activity.

“The supposed slimming power of tea is not unanimous in the medical and scientific community. However, there are some indirect effects of the drink that can favor weight loss”, he explains.

Among these effects is that of stimulating the metabolism , making the body spend more energy, justifying its use in the morning. Even so, there are few data that fully support this assertion.

“Because it has a high content of sucrose, which is sugar, consuming it in high doses can actually contribute to weight gain”, warns the nutritionist.

How to make?

According to Leone Gonçalves, the preparation itself is neither laborious nor expensive, but it requires patience, as it is necessary to wait for the drink to ferment the micro-organisms necessary to benefit the body.

He teaches how to make a type of kombucha based on black tea (5 g for each liter of water) and using brown sugar (50 g). Follow the step step below:

  1.  Bring the water to a boil and turn off the heat as soon as it comes to boiling point
  2. Then add the tea leaves (or bags) and sugar, leaving to brew for 10 minutes
  3. With the tea already cold, strain (or remove the bags) and place the drink in a large glass container with good width
  4. Add the scoand cover the container with a thin cloth, paper towel or coffee filter, securing it with a rubber band. The intention is to let air in, but not be exposed to insects such as flies and ants
  5. Store this container in a dark, warm place.
  6. Wait around seven days to see if the drink is ready. You’ll know it’s ready when you smell a sour but pleasant smell.
  7. Strain the liquid preserving 10% of the drink and the scoby. The rest should be stored in the refrigerator.

To make and consume without fear, it is necessary to pay attention to some details, such as the water used. It must be filtered, chlorine-free and preferably fluorine-free.

Another important point is the choice of tea. In addition to the black or green tea option, you can choose other leaves and even fruit juice to make a custom type. Hibiscus , ginger, star anise , grape or apple juice are some viable options.

Finally, pay close attention to the aspects of scoduring fermentation, as this yeast can indicate that the drink is contaminated.

White, yellow and/or brown colors indicate a healthy culture. Even dangling brown filaments are good signs. However, green, gray, blue and black colors are not desirable and the drink should be discarded.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much kombucha can I have a day?

“It is known that the ideal is a daily intake of around 120 ml , not much more than that. This level of consumption does not present any harm to health”, recommends Leone Gonçalves.

How long does the drink last in the fridge?

The drink must be consumed within 5 days and this is the most appropriate way to store the tea.

Where to buy ready?

Kombucha has already become a very common product in Brazil, available in different flavors, sizes and prices. So, if you don’t want to produce your own, you can look for natural food stores or those that specialize in this product.

Kombucha, kefir and kimchi: what are the similarities and differences of these drinks?

These three products are made from fermentation . However, kimchi is a spicy condiment made from Chinese cabbage and spices, kefir is a milk derivative similar to yoghurt, and kombucha is a lightly fizzy drink derived from black tea with sugar.

“Studies show that the three help to restore balance, introducing beneficial bacteria that assist the digestive system in its functions”, reveals the nutritionist.

Are there dangers and harms?

According to Gonçalves, the US agency responsible for food and drug inspection and regulation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), confirms that the consumption of kombucha is safe for humans.

“However, there are some contraindications for consumption in the case of pregnant and lactating women , since tea can favor the production of heparin, which inhibits the production of proteins in the coagulation system”, advises the expert.

People with gastritis or who have liver disease should also not consume this drink, as warned the nutritionist. Also, excessive consumption can cause some discomfort.

“Some people claim that they felt symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, gastrointestinal disturbances and allergic reactions after consumption”, concludes Leone Gonçalves.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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