It seems like every grocery store and supermarket that I go to has this kombucha stuff. What exactly is it and why should you buy it? As I have mentioned in a previous article, kombucha is an excellent plant based source of healthy, gut friendly bacteria called "Probiotics." These living microorganisms can promote better digestion, manipulation of intestinal microbial communities, suppression of pathogens, stimulation of epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation and fortification of the intestinal barrier. They are essentially microscopic marines that protect our gut and promote our overall health and wellbeing. But is gut health the end of kombucha's fermented fairytale?
First off, what is kombucha? Kombucha is a fermented tea drink, which is made using a special fermentation colony called SCOBY (symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeasts). It has a history that dates back to 220 BC in China and its health benefits are confirmed in a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food. It is super easy to make and you can get the SCOBY Starter online or in your local health store. Many people add different fruit juices and natural flavors to make it a flavorful, carbonated drink that could help kick soda cravings. This can be one tasty way to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy through the bacteria in your gut!
So, what exactly are these benefits? Well most of the benefits are due to the high levels of healthy probiotic bacteria and their ability to promote a healthy gut. Probiotics promote a healthy gut and gut health is the issue with most health problems. Studies are coming out all the time linking the gut and healthy bacteria or lack of that bacteria to all sorts of diseases. Dr. Taneja published two studies one in Genome Medicine and one in Arthritis and Rheumatology, showing that gut bacteria can cause, predict and prevent rheumatoid arthritis. A disease that more than 1.5 Million Americans have today.
The importance of gut health doesn't end there either. In presentations at the Society for Neuroscience, researchers discussed recent findings that support a link between the microbiome within the gastrointestinal tract health and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. These findings, along with research from UCLA Health Sciences that suggests an association between gut bacteria and emotion, just show how much of an impact gut health has on the brain.
To recap, kombucha is a rich, plant based source of probiotics which have all sorts of benefits including promoting a healthy gut. But, is that all this beneficial brew has to offer? Scientific studies say there is more.
Diabetes has become a serious health problem and a major risk factor associated with troublesome health complications, such as metabolism disorders and liver-kidney dysfunctions. Something that most try to treat by conventional on pharmacological means. In many cases this does not work, leaving those who are suffering looking for alternative solutions to their health issues.
Luckily, research has found that kombucha tea administration induced attractive curative effects on diabetic rats, particularly in terms of liver-kidney functions. This means kombucha tea can be considered as a potential candidate for future application as a functional supplement for the treatment and prevention of diabetes. Interestingly, this same study showed that kombucha induced a marked delay in the absorption of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and a significant increase in HDL-cholesterol. This suggests that the beverage could also help prevent heart disease, which kills over 600,000 people a year.
This kombucha has another kick, it may help prevent cancer. We all know green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. This is due to the many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body. When kombucha is made from green tea it contains many of those same compounds and may even boost some of the benefits.
Those polyphenol antioxidants fight off free radicals that damage our cells and promote aging among many other degenerative diseases. They also stand a chance at helping fight off cancer. In test-tube studies, kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells due to its high concentration of tea polyphenols and antioxidants.
Kombucha is definitely an easy way to add healthy bacteria to your gut that could prevent arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and even cancer. It has been used and consumed for thousands of years and now finding it's way into stores across America for good reason. Give you health a kickstart with some kombucha!