What’s the buzz?
Tapping into probiotic-filled kombucha is good for your gut.
What does the science say?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink brewed with black or green tea, sugar, bacteria (the kind that’s good for you), yeast, and water and often paired with other flavorful ingredients such as fruit, ginger, lemon, cayenne, or other herbs and spices. Now found on tap at trendy eateries and in beverage aisles almost everywhere, kombucha has grown in popularity because it’s a source of probiotics, the good-for-the-gut bacteria that many believe can cure anything from digestive distress to skin conditions. While there has not been much research done on kombucha itself, we do know that unpasteurized probiotics play a role in supporting gut health and immunity, and some emerging research suggests a link to controlling obesity and diabetes.
However, many commercial products have been pasteurized, which destroys these probiotics (#fail). Kombucha also contains some sugar and is a source of calories, so take those factors into consideration and balance with your wellness goals. Most bottles contain multiple servings (sneaky!), so always read labels. And if you’re new to fermented foods and drinks, introduce them slowly as some people report digestive upset from too much at once. For those who choose not to drink alcohol, it’s important to know that the fermentation process results in trace amounts of alcohol in some of these products.
What’s the takeaway?
Kombucha can play a role in supporting well-being, in particular due to the probiotic effect that unpasteurized fermented products offer. For the most benefits, look for unpasteurized products and read labels to take into account the sugar and calories these beverages provide.
Kombucha: Gut-Friendly Beverage or Sugar-Laden Treat?