With probiotics taking center stage as of late in the health world, people are clamoring to up their intake of these friendly bacteria in any way possible. While many people are reaching for probiotic supplements, others are choosing popular probiotic drinks, like kombucha.
Like most health products today they can have their benefits, but they also can have their drawbacks, and this will ultimately depend on your current state of health.
Benefits of drinking kombucha
There are several reasons kombucha is a great beverage to consider for optimal health:
• A great source of enzymes, which is essential for digestion and helping the body break down essential nutrients that come from food. Enzymes also assist in energy production, oxygen uptake, balancing hormones, and reducing inflammation.
• A good source of antioxidants, which help consume free radicals caused by oxidative stress. This can help slow down ageing and mitigate other chronic disease such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, brain dysfunction, and immune related illnesses.
• A solid source of probiotics, the beneficial microorganisms found in the gut that helps maintain a healthy intestinal and immune system. Kombucha typically contains more than a dozen strains of these beneficial bacteria.
• A quality source of glucoronic acid, which is known to assist the liver in detoxification by binding to both environmental and metabolic toxins.
• A fine source of glucosamine, which is essential in building cartilage and improving joint health by increasing synovial fluids such as hyaluronic acid.
• A nice source of B-vitamins, which help the body produce energy from food and assist in dealing with stress and depression.
IF ones body is in a relatively disease free state, drinking kombucha can provide a wonderful array of health benefits. However, for those battling any chronic ailment, you need to know the “dark” side of kombucha.
Drawbacks of drinking kombucha
Kombucha is created by using tea (usually black or green), sugar, and a live starter known as a SCOBY. Each one of these ingredients can cause problems for someone dealing with any sort of digestive issues, for the following reasons:
• Black tea is very high in oxalates, which is a naturally occurring “plant poison” that looks like tiny shards of glass under a microscope. This is to deter insects from eating the plant, and is not harmful to humans IF the proper intestinal microbiota are in place. However, if a person has ever used antibiotics, experienced chronic stress, or had a diet high in sugar and fat, the delicate bacteria that is the primary consumer of oxalates is wiped out, which leave the intestinal system incapable of handling them safely and effectively. Anyone with a systemic Candida infection, leaky gut, kidney stones, fibromyalgia, COPD, asthma, cystic fribrosis, Hashimoto’s disease, or hypothyroidism should avoid high oxalates foods or beverages.
• Even though a lot of the sugar is “consumed” by the bacteria during fermentation, kombucha still retains too much sugar for those with a systemic Candida infection.
• The live starter for kombucha, also known as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) can present some problems to those who already have an underlying yeast infection.
Kombucha is also considered “wild fermentation” which is when the starter contains airborne yeast. This yeast can be very unpredictable to work with, and they are not native to the human digestive tract, which can cause allergic reactions for people with existing fungal (Candida) infections.
To find out if kombucha could be a problem for you, try this at home test and diagnostic tool to see if the gut can handle it.
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