Kombucha has taken off as one of the best ways to combine great taste with a healthy lifestyle. Here is everything you need to know about kombucha nutrition.
Kombucha has quickly moved from a niche drink to something you might find in any fridge or cooler. Part of the reason is because of its versatility, with the top producers always finding new flavors to dazzle the tongue of booch drinkers. But the other reason kombucha is taking the beverage world by storm is because of its many health benefits. As research continues to demonstrate the health upsides of kombucha, every bottle is an opportunity to put your gut on the right path.
For the full effect, authentic raw kombucha has taken over as the clear leader when it comes to nutrition. Instead of zapping the good bacteria our body craves, unpasteurized booch delivers a potent batch of probiotics and vitamins. While we don't even yet know the full scope of benefits, the word is out that kombucha is an ideal building block for a healthy lifestyle. Read on for the most up-to-date info about kombucha nutrition.
Nutritionists have been ecstatic about the research related to fermented foods in recent decades. The best-understood benefits of fermented foods like kombucha begin with gut health. Our gut biome thrives when it is filled with a diverse set of bacteria, which keeps everything in balance and lets our gut function efficiently. Without the good bacteria, bad bacteria take over and we end up dealing with a wide range of issues that go well beyond indigestion.
The probiotics in fermented foods and beverages can help keep everything copacetic. Some of the gut issues that healthy doses of probiotics help us with include:
Regular doses of probiotics in fermented foods help to reform the gut, reducing inflammation and overall stress. The results are a significant boost in one of our body's core functions. But while these are some of the most understood functions of fermented foods and beverages, they're also just the beginning of kombucha's nutritional story.
Researchers are also focusing on another important element of fermented foods like kombucha—antioxidants. We're still in the early research stages, yet what nutritionists have already seen is more than enough to encourage antioxidant-rich diets. Antioxidants are especially important in the fight against oxidative stress, which can wreak havoc on the body. Heart disease, Parkinson's, arthritis, strokes, cancer, and more have all been linked to elevated levels of oxidative stress.
Researchers are understandably cautious when it comes to drawing conclusions about fighting cancer and other serious diseases. Yet the more we study antioxidants and serious disease, the more we see how antioxidants might be a game-changer.
As researchers study how free radicals in our system lead to oxidative stress, it's becoming clear how important it is to give our bodies the tools they need. Antioxidants appear to be one of the very best ways to improve our levels of oxidative stress and lower inflammation.
This has led to top medical pros putting kombucha under the microscope in search of antioxidants. Studies have now shown that the top kombuchas do have high levels of antioxidants, making it one of the best beverages for improving oxidative stress.
Combining kombucha with a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits (like blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries) is a great way to improve health objectives. Researchers still want to see more direct evidence, but all the signs point to kombucha having a positive influence courtesy of its antioxidants.
Diabetes is one of the biggest health concerns in the world, specifically in the United States. More than 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes and many more are in the prediabetic phase. The only way to combat the diabetic trend is to encourage lifestyle changes that can remake our relationship with sugar. But, for kombucha drinkers, there are signs that the risk is lower than the rest of the population.
In at least one study, researchers found that fasting blood sugar was improved in participants who drank kombucha regularly. Even if this is only a limited finding, the trend is certainly encouraging. Although the study was designed to help the sugar levels for Type-2 diabetics, there is reason to believe it would help prediabetics as well.
We'll see over time if other studies show the same thing, but we already know kombucha can be an important cornerstone of a lifestyle change. For soda drinkers, swapping out a soda for kombucha on a daily basis can significantly lower sugar levels.
Most popular kombucha options have about one gram of sugar per ounce or less and some of the sugars are naturally occurring. Leading soda brands typically have more than three grams of (added) sugar per ounce and tend to come in much bigger portions. Kombuchas also don't rely on artificial sweeteners the way diet sodas do.
Sleep-related issues like depression and exhaustion can all be a sign of poor gut health. In short, when our gut isn't feeling our lifestyle, we tend to toil at nighttime and struggle to get the rest we need. Depression can develop or worsen, we might not have enough energy to get through the day, and our moods can negatively shift over time. This is because our brains and guts are closely linked, with the gut sending signals based on the health of the biome.
One of the best ways to ensure our guts are helping us get to sleep is to encourage gut diversity. With the right balance of bacteria making up our biome, our gut can send the right signals to the brain and help us get to sleep. Just drinking kombucha on its own probably isn't enough for you to resolve sleep issues, but it's a terrific first step.
When our guts aren't happy, it can even affect our skin. This can manifest in conditions like eczema, a skin issue that often comes with rashes and severely dry skin. Topical creams are the usual treatment, but nutritionists suggest targeting our gut with daily probiotics to attack the problem at its core. Kombucha is an excellent way to boost our probiotic intake and help ward off skin issues tied to gut health.
Kombucha is a lightly caffeinated beverage, but lumping it together with coffee and/or soda is a mistake. When a coffee drinker has a cup of coffee every morning, they're already well on their way to the recommended 400 mg of daily caffeine—an average eight-ounce cup is just shy of 100 mg and many popular coffee chains regularly sell 16 and 20-ounce brews.
Soda drinkers also tend to overdo it, often due to the sheer volume that is typically consumed. Anxiety, insomnia, dehydration, and nausea are just some of the effects linked to too much caffeine.
But kombucha offers a gentler touch, delivering some of the benefits of caffeine without the associated drawbacks. A 14-oz bottle of kombucha might have anywhere from 10-20 mg of caffeine, placing booch drinkers well beneath the recommended threshold. Caffeine in moderate doses can even be quite good for the body, leading to positive developments like:
The key is to create a level of control in your nutritional intake. Not many coffee drinkers are going to give up that morning cup, but kombucha is a superb substitute for an afternoon latte. Many of the healthiest options even come in cans these days, making it even easier to enjoy your favorite kombucha flavors on the go while staying in the caffeine sweet spot.
The pasteurization of milk was a major boon to public health when it was first widely adopted more than 100 years ago. Killing as many bacteria as possible was a great way to ward off diseases like listeria, salmonella, and others, leading to universal milk pasteurization by the mid-20th century.
And since it worked so well for milk, other beverages soon joined the pasteurization club. Orange juice and apple juice are now commonly pasteurized as well, leading many to associate pasteurization with safety.
But does pasteurization always make sense? Milk is generally considered a no-brainer for pasteurization, yet the process also undercuts the nutritional value of drinks like fruit juices and kombucha. For booch, producers who pasteurize their brews aim to kill as many bacteria as possible under the guise of safety. Afterward, probiotics are usually added to supplement the brew.
Unfortunately, naturally occurring probiotics—like the ones in raw kombucha—have a much stronger connection to gut health. Researchers are skeptical of probiotic supplements, with some studies even suggesting they deplete your gut diversity instead of enhancing it. Meanwhile, raw kombucha is loaded with authentic probiotics alongside vitamins and antioxidants, delivering a much different nutritional outlook.
In a world of fad diets and TikTok cleanses, speed tends to overshadow productive lifestyle changes. But even though we want results as soon as possible, our bodies don't turn on a dime when a diet is implemented. To improve nutrition for the long term, you need a foundation of consistency that you can stick to. For kombucha drinkers embracing the big picture, a daily bottle of booch can be an oasis in a daily routine that encourages a sustainable lifestyle.
The benefits of good daily habits also can't be overstated. Groups like the American Heart Association point out that stable eating and drinking patterns are far more valuable than trendy diets. Critically, consistent patterns help people get right back into a healthy lifestyle in the event they have a bad day or week. Those with consistent diets can snap right back after holidays and vacations, maintaining weight and ensuring a healthy outlook.
Nutritionists also recommend teaming nutritional improvements with regular workouts. You don't need to start training for a decathlon, but consistently elevating your heart rate and working up a good sweat is exactly the type of activity your body craves.
Someone who walks three miles every day will be in much better shape than someone who does sporadic five-mile runs. Consistency improves energy levels and gives you a workout you can look forward to. The occasional five-mile runner won’t improve the body's daily cycle and is more likely to give up altogether.
Enter kombucha. One of the most important components of a workout is what you do immediately afterward. Drinking water is a start, but many also turn to sugary sports drinks during their cooldown process. Unfortunately, sports drinks have little to no nutrition and only provide a basic amount of hydration.
Meanwhile, kombucha drinkers enjoy a tasty beverage that hydrates and delivers probiotics that go straight to their gut. Kombucha also blends extremely well with fruit smoothies, providing a nutritional super-boost that is ideal for recovering from any workout.
To get the most out of kombucha nutrition, it helps to know the ins and outs of the teas used in your favorite brews. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of the most popular teas used in kombucha:
Green tea is one of the most popular bases for kombucha. Some of the benefits linked to green tea include improved cognitive and metabolic function. This doesn't mean green tea will make you smarter and thinner, but there is some evidence that it can provide a boost for your brain while making it easier to burn fat.
Evidence shows that black tea might help our bodies fight off a few major disorders, such as heart disease and blocked blood vessels that can lead to stroke. Researchers are also enthusiastic about its ability to help prediabetics regulate their blood sugar. Black tea does have the most caffeine in the tea family, although it's still well beneath coffee levels.
White tea also seems to have properties that help us lower our chances of developing heart disease. Nutritionists are still trying to find out why, but the leading theory is that white tea relaxes blood vessels. White tea is also associated with improved dental health and lower risks of osteoporosis.
Like other teas, oolong tea is known for offering a potent mix of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. The antioxidants in oolong tea also help us avoid too much oxidative stress, which is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other serious ailments.
We already know that kombucha has many positive health properties, and our knowledge is only going to grow in the coming years and decades. As new studies add more understanding, the connection between kombucha and health is likely to improve substantially. Consumers who make kombucha a regular part of their diet are already on a path to caffeine moderation, lower sugar levels, and all the benefits associated with probiotics and antioxidants.
One of the best parts about kombucha is the many different available flavors, with each brew offering a way to blend great taste with a healthy lifestyle. At Brew Dr., we're obsessed with helping booch drinkers find the perfect balance that can lead to positive life changes. Take a look at our lineup of raw, delicious and organic kombucha flavors and find the brew that's right for you.