I have seen people walking across the whole food’s zone or eating out at a health-obsessed restaurant and giving an unexplained look at the word “kombucha”.
And all they want to do is, stop someone by the hand and ask,
“What, exactly, is KOMBUCHA??”
Having been awarded as the most liberal and radical product in America in the year 2009, the sales of raw organic kombucha has seen an evident surge.
Its fame and popularity doesn’t only come from the wide range of people who have been using it, but also from the various medical studies and alcoholic regulations, which have put it into the spotlight.
But, as a matter of fact, people who have been using it, have no clue about the best time to drink kombucha.
Going 2000 years back in history, every Chinese household could be found brewing a pot of kombucha tea, which came to be known as the “Tea of Immortality”, having its first use marked during the rule of the Tsin Dynasty.
This fermented “elixir” or “cha” (Chinese for tea) is a drink made from black or green tea and sugar, mixed with a rich culture of bacteria and yeast.
Some say it might taste like “carbonated urine”!!
Shelby, 34, had been encountering a few gut disorders, every now and then, because of her poor eating habits and her craving for junk food. She googled her problem and came across different ways of detoxifying her gut.
Soon after, she heard about a magical tea drink called kombucha, which is an excellent probiotic and has made a huge mark on the beverages market.
And so, she started buying bottles of kombucha on a regular basis and drank them every once in a while, without researching enough about the best time to drink kombucha.
After a few months she thought of brewing her own bucha at home.
She did some researches, shopped for some SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) and brewed her first batch.
Since it worked well, she went ahead for the next batch.
But, the SCOBY she was using was not an authentic, good quality SCOBY and also, it was not brewed at a perfect temperature range.
And, this is how, some unwanted microbes started populating her tea.
When she drank a cup from this batch, it tasted like bitter-strong vinegar with a pungent alcoholic punch at the end and she knew something wasn’t right.
I spent the next week experiencing severe diarrhea and dehydration and had to be hospitalized. -said Shelby.
In this article, you will get to know about what is kombucha tea, how it is made, when to drink it and some of its pros and cons.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Kombucha?
- 2 What Goes In Kombucha And How Is It Made?
- 3 What is SCOBY?
- 4 What Is The Easiest way Of Brewing Kombucha At Home?
- 5 For how long do I need to ferment my kombucha?
- 6 What does Kombucha taste like?
- 7 Do I need to maintain my kombucha at a particular temperature range?
- 8 What kind of a container should be used to brew kombucha?
- 9 What type of tea should be used for brewing kombucha?
- 10 Which sugar can be used to make kombucha at home?
- 11 Kombucha Nutrient Facts
- 12 How Does Kombucha Work?
- 13 Why should you know about the best time to take Kombucha?
- 14 How Often Should It Be Consumed?
- 15 How Do I Like To Drink It?
- 16 Kombucha As A Probiotic
- 17 Kombucha Vs. Yogurt
- 18 Kombucha Vs. Kefir
- 19 Kombucha Vs. KeVita
- 20 What Are The Side Effects Of Drinking Kombucha?
- 21 Favorite Kombucha Recipes
- 22 Frequently Asked Questions about Kombucha
- 23 My Take on Kombucha
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is an ancient bubbly, fermented tea which is rich in antioxidants, probiotics and Vitamin B Complex.
This health drink, having its roots in China, is made from fermenting tea and sugar with a kombucha culture. Originating from the Tsin Dynasty in China in 220 BC, it has travelled through Russia, Eastern Europe and Japan and later to Korea, where this beverage acquired its name from a physician named Kombu who served this “cha” or tea to Emperor Inyko.
Also known as the Japanese Mushroom tea or the Manchurian Mushroom tea, this beverage became famous in Germany after the Second World War where it was used to treat disorders related to high blood pressure, metabolism, diabetes and cancer.
What Goes In Kombucha And How Is It Made?
Kombucha is known for many health claims, but there have been very few researches to support its benefits.
According to many users, kombucha may help you keep off your alcohol and sugar cravings. But, rather, it was once, removed from the shelves of all U.S. stores, since it contained more than 0.5% of alcohol, higher than the legal limits permitted for non-alcoholic drinks.
Though, Kombucha is sometimes called as mushroom tea, kombucha is not a type of mushroom. In fact, it is made by using a beige, rubbery, pancake-like culture, which is often called SCOBY i.e. Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria And Yeast.
What is SCOBY?
SCOBY is a live culture of mutually associated bacteria and yeast, which transforms a normal, sweet tea into a fermented, bubbly, probiotic drink. It is slimy and gelatinous and it multiplies itself throughout the fermentation of kombucha tea.
Growing SCOBY in your kombucha is a very complex biological process as the bacteria and the yeast in the culture co-exist in harmony and benefit from each other.
Since these are live organisms, they need food and proper environment to thrive on. And this is why, the food source for SCOBY is sweetened tea.
Brewing kombucha at home is a more economical process than buying a commercially brewed product. You can choose the type of sugar and tea you like, whether it is green or black.
Besides this, every batch you brew gives you a new culture for your next one!
This health elixir can be made with the following probiotics constituting your SCOBY:
Glucanobacter: an anaerobic bacteria, which feeds on nitrogen in the tea (more than 85%)
Acetobacter: an oxygen-requiring (aerobic) bacterial strain (less than 2%)
Lactobacillus: an aerobic bacteria, which produces lactic acid and slime in kombucha (about 30%)
Zygocaccharomyces: a yeast strain, unique to kombucha brewing (more than 95%)
You should always remember that not all kombucha SCOBYs always contain the same strains of bacteria and yeast. And this is why, every kombucha might end up having a different flavor and fizz.
What Is The Easiest way Of Brewing Kombucha At Home?
Once you have all the ingredients you require, brewing your own bucha is no big deal!
You can get your SCOBY from a friend or neighbor who has been brewing kombucha or just buy a bottle from the store and use it as your first culture.
Every bottle of kombucha, either homemade or commercial, can always act as a start culture as it has the SCOBY, you require.
Here are the 5 easy steps to make this magic drink at home.
- Steep your favorite tea in boiling water with the amount of sugar, you like.
- Sterilize the container in which you want to brew. (Do this to avoid other microbes to grow in your tea, which can cause a lot of trouble, later on.)
- You can choose between adding a SCOBY, which is a slimy disc of culture or add a freshly opened bottle of kombucha, which has a live culture. (You can also, buy dehydrated SCOBY discs from the market.)
- Cover it with a breathable cover, like a piece of muslin cloth and let it sit for about 7-30 days, depending on the flavor you are looking for.
Now, you can enjoy your bubbly cuppa!! But, not without finding out when is the best time to drink kombucha.
Read on to know about it…
The balance between the sugar content, probiotics and the acid content in a kombucha tea depends on the following factors:
- The composition of the start-up culture or SCOBY, being used.
- The type of tea used.
- The strength of the tea.
- The amount and type of sugar added.
- The brewing duration.
- The brewing temperature.
It’s time to answer some of the questions, which might be coming to your mind, right now.
For how long do I need to ferment my kombucha?
Kombucha should, ideally, be brewed for 7-30 days, depending on your personal choice of taste.
A longer brewing time will result in fermenting more sugar. Hence, the end product will have a more pungent, vinegar-like flavor.
What does Kombucha taste like?
Since, you are brewing your own kombucha, it is necessary that it tastes delicious to you and not like something you would not like to drink regularly.
Taste test your kombucha after letting it sit for 7 days. Insert a straw under the SCOBY and take a sip and decide for yourself if your drink tastes too sweet or too tart.
- If your brew is too tart, you can
- Dilute it with water or a fruit juice of your choice.
- Add a small quantity of less-mature kombucha to the tart one, to even out the flavors.
- Switch it with the vinegar you use in cooking.
- If your brew is too sweet
- Allow your drink to be fermented for a few more days before you can taste test again.
- If it remains too sweet, even after many days, it is possible that your culture has become dormant, perhaps because of inappropriate temperature; and needs to be replaced by a fresh one.
The tangy taste comes from a variety of nutrients and acids produced during the fermentation of the sweetened tea. It mainly contains acetic acid, fructose and gluconic acid.
It has a refreshing taste with a fizz, which tingles your stomach and that is why, it is an easy replacement for soda drinks.
Do I need to maintain my kombucha at a particular temperature range?
It is necessary to maintain an optimum temperature for any culture to grow. And, likewise, you need to maintain a certain temperature for kombucha SCOBY to ferment your sweetened tea.
A temperature between 70-80°F is considered ideal.
At a hotter temperature, you will find that the rate of fermentation has slightly accelerated. On the contrary, a cooler temperature leads to a slower fermentation process.
TIP: It is utmost important to keep your tea away from direct sunlight and from excessive heat. This can kill your culture.
Fermenting kombucha can also depend upon the season. Sometimes kombucha might just take 10-12 days to get completely fermented in summers, whereas it might take the same composition, more than 2 weeks’ time, during winters.
What kind of a container should be used to brew kombucha?
Generally, people prefer brewing kombucha at home in a glass jar, since the acids released during the fermentation process can degrade other materials such as plastic.
Also, the new SCOBY will always grow to the size of your vessel, no matter how small your mother culture was.
What type of tea should be used for brewing kombucha?
The flavor of your bucha will largely depend on the tea, you are using.
So, here is a list of teas you can use for making kombucha.
- Black Tea – best for activating the SCOBY as it has all the required nutrients. Gives a bold, fruity flavor.
- Oolong Tea – works well with a dehydrated SCOBY and provides a milder, fruity and grassy flavor to the tea.
- Green Tea – since the tea leaves are minimally oxidized, it give a light and soft flavor to your drink. Avoid teas with oils and added flavors.
- Other Herbal Teas – since they are made up of other plants and not tea leaves, the flavor depends on the herb used. These teas are not recommended if you want to activate a dehydrated SCOBY and also, not used for making the first 4 batches of your kombucha.
TIP 1: You should preferably, wait for at least 4 consecutive batches of kombucha, before trying a different tea, till you can catch hold of one perfect flavor.
TIP 2: Also, try using organic tea, whenever possible, so that your body can go through the detoxification process, without more chemical contaminants getting accumulated in your body.
Which sugar can be used to make kombucha at home?
I know, we are trying to cut out sugar from our diet, right?
And, it is still, in the recipe!?
Well, yes! Because it is what feeds the SCOBY. This is why, the use of sugar cannot be substituted or bypassed.
If an appropriate amount of sugar is not added to the tea, the culture may starve.
Also, the longer you let your kombucha sit, the lesser sweet is the end product.
Here is what you can use and what you shouldn’t.
- White cane sugar
- Organic cane sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Brown/raw sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Coconut sugar
Now, let’s get on to knowing more about kombucha!
Kombucha Nutrient Facts
While kombucha is a sugary beverage, anyone would be worried about the calories, it may contain and the nutrients present in it, which would make it easy for them to compare kombucha with other such products.
The nutrition facts always differ from brand to brand and between branded and home-brewed bucha.
Here is a generic breakdown of nutrients, which might be present in 16 ounces of organic kombucha.
- 60 calories
- 14 grams carbohydrates
- 4 grams sugar
- 20 milligrams sodium
- 100 micrograms of folate (25% of Daily Value)
- 34 grams of Vitamin B2 (20% of Daily Value)
- 3 milligrams of Vitamin B1 (20% of Daily Value)
- 4 milligrams of Vitamin B6 (20% of Daily Value)
- 4 grams Vitamin B3 (20% of Daily Value)
- 2 micrograms of Vitamin B12 (20% of Daily Value)
Let’s check out some major components of kombucha you should be worried about!
- Alcohol Content
When the SCOBY ferments the sweetened tea to produce kombucha, it releases some amount of alcohol as a by-product.
According to the traditional brewing practices, the alcoholic content is very low.
All store brands have a regulated limit of alcoholic content, which is permitted in non-alcoholic beverages.
However, for home-brewed kombucha, you have to attempt certain trials over a few first batches, to get a very subtle alcoholic taste.
- Sugar Content
For sure, sugar is a key ingredient in kombucha brewing.
But, it will be apt to say that kombucha is “fed on sugar” and not a sweetened beverage, since the SCOBY “feeds” on the sugar, so as to ferment the tea.
At the beginning, kombucha is a sweet tea, but as the time goes by, the fermentation process makes it less sweet and more tart.
Thus, the amount of sweetness that you need can be controlled by the number of days, you are letting your tea, sit.
A longer brewing period, which is especially, a few weeks long, will release more organic (amino) acids. These acids are responsible for the tart taste.
Also, remember, we discussed about kombucha’s brewing temperature?
The sugar content also largely, depends upon the season, it is brewed in.
- Caffeine Content
One of the trending FAQ’s you will find on the internet is,
“How much caffeine is present in kombucha?”
There can be a fair amount of caffeine in your kombucha, owing to the fact that kombucha is preferably, brewed from black tea, which releases caffeine in the process of brewing.
While, some studies believe that the caffeine content gets reduced during the fermentation of kombucha, other finding state that it doesn’t get reduced at all.
Hence, it is safe to agree upon the fact that there is always, some amount of caffeine in the beverage, however small it may be.
The caffeine can provide a relaxed effect to the mind and an energetic feel to the body.
- Organic Acids Content
When the sweet tea begins to ferment, while brewing kombucha, a series of complex chemical reactions take place, which release a good amount of antioxidants, vitamins and organic acids.
These components provide the peculiar taste to your drink along with some amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide, which make the beverage a little carbonated.
You can find many organic acids in kombucha, each one having its own benefit.
- It is an important detox agent and the most abundant organic acid present in kombucha.
- It binds itself to the toxins, which enter the liver and help in flushing them out through the kidney.
- It can efficiently detoxify your body from the harmful petroleum pollutants like plastics, resins, pesticides and phenols.
- This is why, it is a good anti-allergen for people suffering from asthma.
- A by-product of glucuronic acid called glucosamine is a key component of cartilage, collagen and joint lubricants in the body.
- Hence, kombucha is known to be effective against arthritis.
- It is essential for a healthy digestive system.
- Its presence in the gut improves blood circulation and reverses constipation and bowel decay.
- It helps in balancing the pH in the body and thus, preventing diseases like cancer.
- The combination of lactic acid and good bacteria make kombucha, a better probiotic.
- It acts as preservative in the kombucha.
- It also keeps infections at bay by inhibiting harmful bacteria.
- It is an effective preservative.
- It acts as an energy booster at the cellular level.
- This acid, when produced by bacteria, breaks down into caprylic acid.
- This helps in fighting Candidiasis and yeast infections such as Thrush.
Now, why would you try kombucha without knowing, what all these components can do for you?
So, the big question is…
Is kombucha good for you?”
How Does Kombucha Work?
Kombucha is known as an elixir, since ages, especially in the Chinese culture.
This is scientifically correct, since brewed kombucha is an excellent source of probiotics and it also contains a lot of antioxidants and vitamins.
Antioxidants… Cherries… Dark chocolate… Anti-aging.
You can relate, right?
In this section I am going to tell you about the health benefits of kombucha, which are based on scientific facts.
So, here’s the deal!!
1. It Is An Excellent Probiotic For Your Gut
- Owing to the good-for-the-gut strains of bacteria and yeast in the sugary tea and also, to the process of fermentation, through which the population of these microbes keeps on increasing, kombucha can be called as a probiotic.
- During the process of fermentation, the new SCOBY comes up on the surface of the tea like a blob of mushroom, which is why, it is also known as “mushroom tea”.
- These colonies of bacteria and yeast, which are capable of surviving symbiotically, in the tea, can be used to ferment a fresh batch of tea to produce new kombucha.
- The probiotic bacteria, which are produced during fermentation of kombucha, help strengthen your gut and improve digestion and gut immunity.
- This can even, help in reducing inflammation, during gut disorders and also, help in weight-management.
To Sum Up:
Kombucha is a fermented tea, which makes it an excellent source of probiotics.
2. Green Tea Kombucha Is One Of The Healthiest Beverages
- Green tea is known for its many bioactive components like polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants.
- This is why, kombucha made from green tea has the same health benefits.
- It helps in:
- Keeping the signs of aging, at bay.
- Reducing belly fat.
- Maintain the cholesterol level.
- Maintain blood sugar level.
- Reducing the risk of cancers such as those of breasts, prostate and colon.
To Sum Up:
Green tea kombucha is as beneficial as green tea itself, since it may help in controlling blood sugar level and cholesterol level.
3. Kombucha Has Many Antioxidants
- Antioxidants are a group of bioactive molecules, which fight the other, highly-reactive molecules in our body, called free radicals.
- These free radicals are responsible for cellular damage, which may result in premature aging, in the long run.
- It is always preferable to consume natural antioxidants, which are present in foods and beverages, rather than depending on antioxidant supplements.
- Kombucha is one such beverage containing high levels of antioxidants.
To Sum Up:
Kombucha is a rich source of your daily antioxidants.
4. It Is An Ideal Detoxification Method
- Kombucha produces a bunch of bacterial acids and enzymes, which help in the processes of detoxification of your body.
- This reduces the load on the liver and the pancreas.
- Acids in kombucha like gluconic acid, help in keeping cancer at bay.
To Sum Up:
Kombucha detoxifies your digestive system and keeps your liver, healthy.
5. It Is A Good Immunity Booster
- The antioxidant content in kombucha helps in keeping your immune system health.
- It keeps your body charged with energy.
- It also helps in keeping diseases and infections away.
To Sum Up:
Kombucha boosts your immune system and fights-off diseases.
6. It Might Help In Improving Mental Health
- Vitamin B complex plays a vital role in a human mental wellbeing.
- Luckily, Vitamin B, especially Vitamin B12, is found in a good quantity in kombucha.
- Vitamin B12 also, helps in repairing the gut, indirectly treating the mental health due to the gut-brain connection.
- It can also cure depression, which is one of the major symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome, especially since it eases inflammation in the gut, in turn, relieving stress.
To Sum Up:
Vitamin B12 in kombucha helps in overall mental wellbeing and reduces the depression produced by gut disorders.
Wow! So, till now you are thorough with what kombucha is and what it can do for you.
The next important thing you need to know is when to consume it.
Why should you know about the best time to take Kombucha?
You can call me a kombucha addict, not because it tastes so good, but because of all the good things it does to my system.
But, whenever I drink it, I find myself contemplating:
“Is this the best time to drink kombucha?”
And I am sure, same can be the case with many of you.
I mean there must be a good time to consume probiotics; before you meal, after your meal or before bed, right?
This is why I have decided to summarize it for you.
So, when is the best time to consume kombucha?
There are so many different beliefs and strategies surrounding this question that I can never find myself religiously sticking to anyone.
So, to make it simpler, I have categorized these strategies according to what an individual’s needs may be.
Kombucha For Weight Loss
- For effective weight loss, 4 ounces of kombucha should be consumed 10-15 minutes before your meal.
- This is because of the fact that kombucha helps in detoxifying the digestive tract.
Kombucha For Boosting Energy
- Kombucha is a well-known energy drink.
- For increasing energy level in the body, it should be consumed, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Kombucha For Better Digestion
- Since, kombucha is a probiotic, it helps in maintaining gut flora and eases the process of digestion.
- In this way, it also stimulates better absorption of nutrients in the gut.
Kombucha Against Candida
- If your aim of incorporating kombucha in your diet is, to fight against Candida, the best way of doing so is, consuming overly fermented kombucha, early in the morning on an empty stomach.
- In this way, the Candida or Thrush gets very little amount of sugar to feed on, when they are highly active in the morning hours.
Kombucha For Better Sleep
- According to some theories, drinking kombucha at night, before going to bed, can help you fall asleep by easing off any stress or anxiety.
How Often Should It Be Consumed?
Since, kombucha is an acidic beverage, an under-fermented brew might contain only some of the beneficial acids, while an over-fermented tea can become too acidic so as to upset your digestive system.
It is suggested that beginners should start-off with 2-4 fluid oz. per day, so that the body can easily adjust to the new environment.
This quantity can later be worked up to 8 oz. per day that is, 4 oz. before both the meals.
There is a thing called “too-much-kombucha”!!
And, this is why, your daily consumption of your bucha should preferably, not cross more than 32 oz.
No matter how yummm you find it!
Always Listen To What Your Body Says
You will get different opinions and ideas from as many people you ask about how much kombucha is good for you.
But, the key to extract all the benefits of this tea along with leading a healthy life, is to listen to your own body.
A strategy, which works well for one person may create a havoc for someone else.
- So, keep track of the way your digestive system reacts to the amount of kombucha you are drinking. Also, keep a track of your sleep pattern.
- In case, you feel that there is a lot of acid forming in your stomach, cut out on kombucha and consult your physician.
- It is also necessary to keep experimenting, safely, about different times when you should have your bucha.
Now, the next big question.
How Do I Like To Drink It?
Since, I am sensitive to caffeine, I avoid drinking kombucha before bedtime, as the basic green tea or black tea release at least some amount of caffeine.
So, I prefer taking kombucha alongside a bowl of full-fat yogurt and muesli as breakfast. This is my first shot. (For some people, having kombucha, first thing in the morning, can be harsh on the body.)
For my second shot of kombucha, I find that midday is the best time to drink it, just before I have my meal.
This keeps my body energized and the probiotics balance the good bacteria in my belly.
Time and again, I have been calling kombucha, a probiotic.
Then, I should also tell you about what benefits it has over other probiotics.
Kombucha As A Probiotic
Okay, so we keep hearing every now and then that a healthy gut is the golden ticket to every other health benefit.
- Great skin
- Strong immunity
- No more bloating
And if these factors can be attained, the organic way, without taking any supplements, it sure is the icing on the cake!
Although people have been eating sauerkraut, kimchi and many other probiotics, some of you might find them plain gross, taste-wise.
Kombucha is made by brewing sweetened tea with a starter culture called SCOBY, to obtain a tangy-tart beverage, which is fizzy and bubbly.
Just like kefir and yogurt, kombucha is full of the good bacteria, which are much needed for the better functioning of our digestive system and hence, is a probiotic.
A healthy digestive system also symbolizes good mental health.
Here, I am comparing a few probiotics with kombucha, to make the difference, visible.
Kombucha Vs. Yogurt
I spoke to my neighbor recently, who attempted to culture some yogurt on the kitchen counter, at room temperature.
She was complaining about the yogurt turning out to be soupy, unlike the one with a thick consistence, which others make in a yogurt maker.
And, she doesn’t want to spend on the machine.
I explained her that it might take several attempts until she can pull-off the perfect yogurt, that too in a home kitchen environment. This is because you cannot be very sure about the surrounding environment.
Whereas, while brewing kombucha, you add a SCOBY for fermenting the tea, on purpose.
As a result, you can find more species of gut-friendly bacteria in home-brewed kombucha than in homemade yogurt.
More the species of good bacteria in your probiotic, better is your gut health.
Besides this, kombucha is a drink, hence storing it and carrying it around is not messy.
Kombucha Vs. Kefir
While kombucha is a sour tonic made by the action of SCOBY on tea and sugar, kefir can be of two types.
Water kefir can be made by fermenting a non-dairy, carbohydrate-containing liquid such as coconut water. On the other hand, milk kefir is made by fermenting milk from either a cow, a sheep, a goat or a camel.
While both, kombucha and kefir, require a SCOBY culture (or grains, in case of kefir) to kick-start the process of fermentation, there are a few difference between them.
Kombucha Pros And Cons
Rich in good bacteria and antioxidants.
Very low calorie beverage.
Dairy-free hence, good for lactose-intolerant people and people on a vegan diet.
Contains negligible amount of alcohol.
But, the probiotics in kombucha cannot survive the process of pasteurization.
Drinking unpasteurized beverages may lead to adverse side effects.
Kefir Pros And Cons
Rich in probiotics and other nutrients such as proteins, Vitamin B and tryptophan.
These help in fighting stress.
According to researches, a polysaccharide named kefiran in kefir helps in lowering blood pressure.
Most of the lactose is broken down during the process of fermentation and so, kefir can be consumed by lactose-intolerant people.
But, kefir has far more calories than kombucha hence, losing weight on kefir might not be effective.
Kombucha Vs. KeVita
We, the millennials, are a health-conscious generation and are always looking forward to new products, which comply with the organic trend.
KeVita is a new coconut-based probiotic drink in the market, which is gaining popularity because of its similarity to kefir along with a wide range of exotic flavors.
Later on, this brand also released its kombucha counterpart in the market.
According to sources, kombucha and KeVita are fermented using different fermentation techniques.
Some also agree upon the opinion that, KeVita contains only bacteria and no yeast. This makes it an all-the-more easy-to-consume probiotic for those who suffer from Candida infection or Thrush.
Also, KeVita, like kefir, contains no caffeine and this is why, it is also popular amongst people who do not prefer caffeine.
Now, all the goodness apart, every coin has two sides, right?
So, here’s the other side of kombucha.
Its side effects!!
What Are The Side Effects Of Drinking Kombucha?
The saddest part about the immortality elixir called kombucha is that, you cannot ensure that the tea is germ-free.
This is because you are putting in some of the microbes yourself and you cannot keep the environment in check, all the time.
Kombucha, especially home brewed, can become easily contaminated with fungi such as Aspergillus and bacteria, which might include some species of anthrax.
Also, there have been instances of severe kombucha side effects, including death.
So, I need you to go through this section, thoroughly.
Kombucha is a pot-full of organic acids.
And it might be possible that every system cannot take too much of it.
- In the year 1995, two women were reportedly, hospitalized with the case of severe acidosis after they drank kombucha tea, says The Center Of Disease Control and Prevention.
- In 2009, the Journal Of Intensive Care Medicine reported a 22-year-old male’s death due to lactic acidosis within 15 hours of consuming kombucha, since he was HIV positive.
2. Liver Damage
Although, kombucha is said to be good for the liver, a contaminated tea can lead to severe jaundice.
This may result in liver failure, which might prove fatal.
- The 22-year-old acidosis male also went into liver failure, shortly after he drank kombucha.
- The American Cancer Society believes that liver damage can commonly be noticed in kombucha drinkers by the onset of jaundice. Here, your skin and then your nails and eyes turn yellow.
Kombucha can possibly effect the level of blood sugar in a person suffering from diabetes.
This is why, it is important to keep a track of your blood sugar levels when you start drinking kombucha on a daily basis.
4. Diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Kombucha may contain high amount of caffeine, depending on the type of tea you have used.
If caffeine is taken in large quantities, it can cause severe diarrhea or might even, worsen your diarrhea.
Same is true for the symptoms of IBS.
5. Compromised Immune System
Kombucha is not for someone suffering from a weak immune system, which might be due to HIV/AIDS or any other such causes.
If the consumed beverage is at all contaminated by bacteria and fungi, it can cause serious infections.
Although these side effects are less known and occur rarely, you should always know about them before you try your hand on kombucha.
However, if at all, you encounter any of these ailments, it is wise to stop drinking kombucha and visit a medical practitioner as soon as possible.
You can get a variety of flavors in store-bought kombucha, but if you plan to drink it daily or even twice a day, every penny counts!
In fact, on an average, a bottle of kombucha, off-the-shelf can cost up to $5!!
And, you can do the math!!
This is why I have my own favorite flavors of kombucha, which I brew at home with absolutely no mess!
Find the recipes here!!
Favorite Kombucha Recipes
1. Lemon And Ginger Zinger Kombucha
- Chopped ginger – 1 tsp.
- Lemon juice of ½ a lemon
- Sugar – ½ tsp. (you can use honey or maple syrup as an option)
- Kombucha tea – 2 cups (either some from your last batch or from a freshly-opened, store-bought bottle)
- Add the ginger, sugar and lemon juice in a 16 ounce glass jar.
- Fill the jar with kombucha. Keep in mind to leave ½ an inch of headspace.
- Cap it tightly. Then, gently vortex and slightly shake so that the sugar gets dissolved.
- Let the culture sit for 3-7 days or until you find your kombucha to be bubbly enough.
- Refrigerate the jar.
- When you want to drink it, open the jar carefully, without shaking or spilling kombucha on the jar. (to avoid contamination)
- Strain the tea to remove the ginger pieces.
- Serve cold.
2. Cranberry and Orange Tangy Kombucha
- Fresh cranberries – ½ cup
- 100% Cranberry juice – ½ cup
- Fresh orange juice – 1 ¼ cup
- Honey – 3 Tbsp.
- Water – ½ cup
- Boil the cranberries by adding water in a medium pot and bringing them to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes.
- Add honey, orange juice and cranberry juice and keep stirring on simmer until the juice reduces to almost half. This will take at least 10-15 minutes.
- Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool.
- Add this mixture to your kombucha batch.
- Keep it at room temperature for the second fermentation to take place, for about 24-36 hours.
- After the fermentation refrigerate the cranberry kombucha
Frequently Asked Questions about Kombucha
If we missed something out, let us know via the comments section and we will keep updating this list.
Can Pregnant Women Drink Kombucha?
Kombucha is not good for pregnant women or breastfeeding moms.
This is because any kombucha will always contain some amount of alcohol and caffeine.
Also, home-brewed kombucha exposes your little one to a huge amount of bacteria, if at all it gets contaminated.
Kombucha is said to contain acetic acid, which can cause premature decay of tooth enamel in breastfed toddlers.
Can Kids Drink Kombucha?
While, there have not been any evidences of mishaps in kids, caused because of drinking kombucha, you can also, not call it 100% safe.
A few ailments like stomach infections in kids can be found initially. But, to prevent anything from a severe infection to an allergic reaction, it is always better to consult a pediatrician.
Though, kombucha comes with a long list of health benefits for children, the side effects should not be undermined.
Get to know its side-effects on children, after going through these benefits…
Kombucha improves digestion.
It prevents depression in older kids.
It detoxifies their body.
It prevents the risk of cancer.
It promotes healthy cellular growth and boosts immunity.
It strengthens the nervous system.
It increases energy even after decreasing sugar cravings.
It cures anemia.
It treats microbial infections, since it is a probiotic.
Kombucha can also have a few side-effects on kids, such as:
Occurrence of diarrhea, gas and bloating.
Experiencing lightheadedness or dizziness.
Changes in appetite.
Chances of calcium depletion from the bones.
Effects on immune system.
Occurrence of regular cold and flu.
SAFETY TIPS CONCERNING KIDS:
Always prefer store-bought kombucha over home-brewed kombucha for your kids.
Begin only with one teaspoon of the tea and gradually increase the intake only if your child does not show any adverse symptoms.
You can also, dilute the tea with any fruit juice, if you think the kombucha is too strong for your child.
Kombucha is NOT RECOMMENDED FOR BABIES.
Can Kombucha Cause Diarrhea?
Yes, the kombucha tea might contain caffeine in an effectively large quantity after the fermentation process.
And hence, the caffeine intake can cause mild to severe diarrhea.
In some cases, kombucha has been recorded to make the diarrhea worse.
This can also happen due to the fact that kombucha tea can support the growth of other unwanted bacteria and yeast, which may irritate the gut and lead to diarrhea.
Can Someone Get Drunk On Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented, tart-to-taste, vinegar-like drink.
Though, the fermentation of sugar leads to production of alcohol, but the amount of alcohol in a glassful of kombucha is not so much as to get someone drunk.
In fact, you will have to drink at least 6-8 bottles of kombucha before you start feeling drunk.
And, kombucha is not something you can drink one bottle after another, owing to its pungent taste.
Why Shouldn’t You Shake Kombucha?
You will always find the SCOBY at the bottom of your bucha, no matter if it is store-bought or home-brewed.
But, do not shake the kombucha.
If you do, the tea will fizz up and can spill out on opening, just like a bottle of soda. This can increase the chances of its contamination.
If you want to give a stir to the contents, give a gentle swirl to your jar or bottle.
My Take on Kombucha
Kombucha wasn’t called the “Tea of Immortality” just for nothing!!
Its benefits are numerous, but you can fall into trouble if you do not know about the best time to drink kombucha.
I have seen people drink it uncontrollably and later, ending up regretting it.
Everything old is gold, but knowing about what your superfood is doing to your body and about its side effects is a necessary aspect.
So, why do you need to add yet another super health drink to your diet chart?
This is because, kombucha is a perfect concoction of vitamins, enzymes and other good organic acids. And, how can we forget about the powerful probiotics, it has?
So, here’s to a physically, mentally and emotionally healthy life!