Gut-Friendly Brew: Is Kombucha Alkaline or Acidic?
If you’ve had a nice cold bottle of kombucha, you know that acidity plays a big role in the entire experience. In fact, the acidity of kombucha – while a personal preference, to a degree – can make or break the brew. Too acidic and your mouth puckers up. Too little acidity, and it’s as if you’re drinking a fizzy juice.
There is a lot of talk about the pH scale of the beverages available and how it fits into a balanced and gut-friendly diet. Where does kombucha fit in there? Is kombucha alkaline? Let’s explore it a bit further.
Is Kombucha Alkaline?
With the recent popularity of the alkaline diet, more people are wondering if their favorite foods and beverages are acidic or alkaline. Those who favor the alkaline approach to diet subscribe to the idea that alkaline foods are better for the body’s health. This is based, in part, on the 7.4 pH of human blood – that’s somewhere in the neutral center of the scale which ranges from 0 to 14.
There are some reliably alkaline beverages, including water. Tap water has a pH of 7.4 and bottled water is in a similar range. Water with gas ranges from 4.9 to 5.5, making it slightly acidic due to the carbonation.
Milk products like dairy, buttermilk, and yogurts are slightly acidic but still stay within a neutral range. The same goes for popular non-dairy milk such as those made from almonds or soy.
Fruits and vegetables are popular alkaline choices, and that includes juices and smoothies. Many unsweetened teas are also alkaline including green tea.
The pH level isn’t enough to determine whether a beverage is friendly to your body’s internal ecosystem, of course. The body is a complex system affected by many factors, extending to more than just your drink of choice.
Is kombucha alkaline? Actually, it falls more on the acidic side of the scale. But that’s not bad news!
The creation of kombucha is dependent upon some interesting and unique scientific processes that may sound a bit weird at first. Let’s dig in and get a clearer picture of why kombucha is more acidic than alkaline.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage. It starts with brewing and sweetening tea, typically black or green. Then the SCOBY – a symbiotic bacteria and yeast culture – joins the mix, and the fermentation process begins. The SCOBY is a live culture and it’s hungry for sugar. As it feasts on the sugar sweetening in the tea, fermentation occurs and the classic taste and fizz come to life.
That’s a very simple description of the scientific process, but the essence is all there. A few ingredients, a bit of time, and voila. Some brewers add flavors from fruits, herbs, hops, or other interesting ingredients. One thing is notably absent: preservatives.
Since kombucha sits in an acidic range below 4.6 pH, the FDA states that preservatives are not needed. And that’s good news for the live cultures in the bottle. The symbiosis is perfect for the growth of gut-friendly cultures while the acidity prevents bacterial growth.
Related: The Process of Making Kombucha
A Healthy Lifestyle Approach
A healthy lifestyle is about more than drinks or worrying if kombucha is alkaline or acidic. Of course, it’s a good idea to have a tasty, refreshing, and at the same time beneficial beverage on hand. But there are more lifestyle habits that create an entire, holistic approach to feeling good.
Experts say a healthy gut supports basic processes such as learning, memory, and mood. A complement to gut support is physical exercise, which boosts mood, energy, promotes better sleep, and a slew of other benefits that are more than just weight control and strength building.
Kombucha aligns with these lifestyle choices by offering hydration with a kick. Drinking kombucha can support your body, mind, and energy levels through the gut while you get active.
The WHO recommends at least 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity each week. They state that physical inactivity is a primary risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, coronary disease, diabetes, stroke, and others.
Living a healthy lifestyle is impossible without considering what sort of food you’re eating. Food is the body’s fuel and making clean choices is paramount to having clarity in the body, mind, and gut.
There is no shortage of dietary guidance out there and it all can get pretty overwhelming. We can’t say exactly which approach is best for you or would help you feel your best but eating clean is a clear and reliable start.
Focusing on a diet of whole foods and keeping processed foods to a minimum helps ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Another common factor in the most popular approaches to diet is to eat a variety of plants, whole grains, fruits, nuts, herbs, and healthy fats. Coupled with lowering sodium and eating fish and dairy in moderation, and you’re starting with a strong foundation that experts agree is heart-healthy.
Fermented food and drinks, experts say, boost digestion and absorption, increase the availability of nutrients, and support the immune system. Incorporating fermented food and drinks like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha into your diet will compliment your healthy eating efforts.
Taking Mental Health Breaks
Diet and exercise are an often talked about aspect of a healthy lifestyle. These practical, tangible components are all about making positive choices throughout the day.
Often overlooked in the conversation is the importance of taking mental health breaks. Not only are these pauses good for a reset of your mind, but they contribute to the mind-body ecosystem for overall health.
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, mental health breaks can involve a variety of things. Connecting with nature by walking in a park or standing barefoot in the grass or dirt is shown to elicit positive feelings such as joy, creativity, and calmness. A sense of connectedness is also associated with lower anxiety and depression levels.
Did you know meditation can change your brain? Developing a meditation practice is shown to improve mental health, clarity, focus, and attention. It lowers stress and anxiety levels. And you don’t have to spend hours a day locked in a room with an incense stick burning. By starting with short, timed meditation sessions each day, you’re already contributing to your wellbeing.
Supporting the Mind-Body Connection Through the Gut
We mentioned it before but this one deserves a section all its own. Underrated in its impact on overall wellness is the bacteria in the gut. Thankfully, more and more evidence is coming to light on just how impactful the microbes in the intestinal tract are on mental and heart health.
Gut bacteria has been linked to the regions of the brain responsible for processing emotion. These regions share circuitry which affects cardiovascular issues.
Serotonin and dopamine are found within the gut wall and in fact, this is where most of the body’s serotonin comes from. Mental wellness can affect cognition and the ability to make (and follow through with) healthy choices in activity, eating, socializing, and more. The mind and body are connected through the gut.
Kombucha to Support Healthy Choices
By now we’ve answered the question: is kombucha alkaline? We’ve also covered some ways that you can support a healthy lifestyle, showing that pH is only one approach to making conscious choices.
Kombucha is a gut-friendly drink, that much you know. But did you know that your favorite brew is more than a refreshing, cold thirst-quencher? Brew Dr. not only has a ton of flavors to try on their own, we also have lots of recipes for cocktails, mocktails, and even smoothie bowls and salad dressings. If you want to get more (good, of course) bacteria into your body in the most delicious way, grab Brew Dr. at a shop near you or have it delivered to your door.
Not sure where to find Brew Dr.? Check out our Store Locator for local and online stores with all of your favorite flavors.