Kombucha, or the “Immortal Health Elixir,” as the Chinese call it, has roots dating back to the Far East over 2,000 years ago. This ancient (and tasty!) beverage has unique effects on the body. In fact, the kombucha gut health benefits reach through your whole system, including your heart and brain.
How does one drink do so much for your body?
Kombucha is created through a fermentation process that leaves it packed with healthy live bacteria called probiotics. Once they’re in your body, they line your digestive tract and assist your immune system by absorbing nutrients and fighting off infections and illnesses.
Whether you already follow a whole foods-based diet or are just starting your wellness journey and looking for small steps to make sustainable lifestyle changes, regularly drinking kombucha will help you maintain a strong immune system, which can lead to a surprising number of other overall health benefits.
What Is Kombucha, Anyway?
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from black tea and sugar (or fruit or honey depending on where you get it), that functions as a super healthy probiotic.
When sugar is added to the mixture, a fermentation process begins because of the living colony of bacteria and yeast called a SCOBY that is the most essential ingredient. SCOBY stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”
In spite of what you may have heard, a SCOBY is not actually a mushroom, as much as it may look like one.
After the fermentation process is completed, the kombucha becomes carbonated and is packed with helpful goodies, including B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, and a high concentration of helpful acid.
Kombucha is typically made with black tea, but you can also find it made with green teas or even a mix of the two.
Kombucha originated in ancient China, where they called it the “Tea of Immortality,” but it has also been enjoyed for its health benefits and medicinal properties in Japan, Russia, and Europe for several hundred years.
If you’ve never tried kombucha, you’re probably wondering what it tastes like. You can get kombucha in many different flavors and infusions, but it’s typically fizzy and tart, with a slight sweetness.
Because of the carbonation, you might find it makes a great healthy substitution for sodas. You can enjoy the fizz without all of the sugar and chemicals that come with your favorite soda. In fact, there are even soda flavored varieties.
Making the switch to kombucha can help you reduce your sugar intake while dramatically increasing your consumption of healthy probiotics. This will also lead to you consuming fewer liquid calories throughout the day and may even lead to weight loss!
3 Benefits of Kombucha for Your Health
Kombucha is so good for you and has so many benefits, but we’ve narrowed it down to the three biggest ways kombucha helps your body and brain thrive.
Kombucha Gut Health Benefits
The abundant antioxidants in kombucha counteract the free radicals in your system that can cause digestive mayhem, but that’s only the start of the kombucha gut health benefits.
Its real digestive superpowers come from the high levels of helpful acids, probiotics, amino acids, and enzymes contained within.
It might sound strange for us to celebrate the fact that kombucha contains living bacteria, but it’s actually really good for you! These aren’t harmful pathogenic strains of bacteria, they’re our beloved probiotics and they’re involved in all kinds of processes throughout the body, from your immune function to your mental health!
Certain animal models have shown that kombucha can potentially help prevent and cure stomach ulcers, although research has not yet shown this with certainty in humans.
The last kombucha gut health benefit we’ll talk about is the Elixir of Immortality’s role in restoring balance to the digestive system. In an unbalanced system, candida yeast can overpopulate and prevent healthy bacteria from flourishing.
Kombucha’s live probiotic cultures help to reestablish healthy bacteria in your microbiome and push out the harmful candida yeast.
Helps Boost Your Immune System
A review published by the University of Latvia found that kombucha can help fend off a whole host of infections and diseases because of four of its main properties, “detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.”
Kombucha is packed full of powerful antioxidants that work within your body to detoxify and protect against diseases.
Antioxidants play a critical role in helping your immune system by reducing inflammation throughout the body. Left unchecked, inflammation can cause chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Other healthy beverages, like black tea, also contain antioxidants, but research indicates that kombucha contains special antioxidants that you can’t get in tea. These antioxidants, like D-saccharic acid or glucaric acid, are uniquely found in kombucha as a result of the fermentation process required to create this elixir of health.
Supports Brain Function & Mental Health
Kombucha protects your mental health and brain function as well as aiding in digestion.
One of the reasons for this is that kombucha has a high amount of B vitamins, which are associated with higher energy levels and an improved overall sense of mental wellbeing. B vitamin supplements occasionally contain dry kombucha products because it has so much B12 in it as well.
Your mental health is closely tied to your gut health and the quality of microorganisms in your microbiome. Because kombucha is rich in probiotics, it supports your mental health in addition to your physical wellbeing.
In fact, studies have demonstrated that probiotics may potentially help treat conditions like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even autism spectrum disorder.
Are you sold on the kombucha gut health (and overall health!) benefits? There’s a reason it’s our favorite probiotic. From its immune system boosting abilities to its positive effect on mental health, adding kombucha to your diet is an easy and delicious way to improve your digestive and overall health and wellbeing.