Kombucha: The Best Probiotic Drink for Gut Health?

Flavorful, effervescent kombucha is packed full of natural compounds and ingredients that make it one of the best probiotic drinks for gut health.

If there's one thing we've learned in the past few years, it's the importance of good health and finding proactive ways to maintain it. A healthy gut is one of the most important influences on our overall health, affecting everything from digestion to mental health. The best route to good gut health is making smart choices about what you eat and drink. 

Digestive systems work, in large part, because they have a microbiome made up of trillions of microorganisms that work together to help prevent illness, strengthen the immune system, control harmful bacteria, and metabolize food into energy and nutrients. Probiotics are generally considered a good way to develop a healthier gut by adding beneficial bacteria into your digestive system. Kombucha is filled with healthy ingredients and beneficial bacteria, making it a top contender as the best probiotic drink for gut health.

Choosing Healthy Food and Probiotic Drinks for Gut Health

As trite as it sounds, the saying "you are what you eat" is even more accurate than you might think. While making healthy food and drink choices isn't a cure-all for every ailment, it goes a long way toward better health and helping prevent some health problems. 

Many supermarkets, restaurants, and even convenience stores are making it easier to find healthier choices. They’re offering more fresh foods, focusing on fruits and vegetables, organic farm-to-table offerings, and a broader variety of options, including healthier drink alternatives with less sugar and artificial ingredients, like kombucha. 

How Gut Health Can Affect Your Overall Health

It's easy to take your digestive system for granted when it's working well. But poor diet, illness, some medications and medical treatments, and even genetics can all affect the health of your gut. Even though more people seem to be interested in healthier eating, many still deal with poor gut health. In fact, an American Gastroenterological Association survey notes that nearly 40% of Americans report their daily activities were disrupted by GI issues

Among the microorganisms in anyone's digestive system, "good" and "bad" microbes fight for dominance. Harmful bacteria, including many that are normally found in most people's guts, such as E. coli, C. diff, and Staphylococcus, are kept under control by healthy gut bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria. When the harmful bacteria outnumber the helpful types, the results can be unpleasant and unhealthy. 

Once your gut health is out of balance, illnesses can easily affect your overall well-being and can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to other problems.

Probiotics Can Help Improve and Maintain Good Gut Health

Getting your vitamins and minerals naturally from foods and beverages is usually the most appealing and, according to most experts, the healthiest way to ensure your body has the nutrients it needs. Our bodies also need to make sure the digestive system has enough healthy bacteria. If gut bacteria are out of balance, probiotics can be part of restoring digestive health. Found naturally in a variety of tasty foods and beverages, probiotics include species of a number of helpful bacteria including

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium
  • Saccharomyces
  • Bacillus
  • Komagataeibacter
  • Acetobacter

How Probiotics Work

As with other beneficial bacteria, probiotics are believed to help to control populations of harmful bacteria, working to maintain a balance in your digestive system. Some types of probiotics may also help by neutralizing toxins, metabolizing nutrients, and supporting the immune and endocrine systems. Beverages such as kombucha, which help to provide these beneficial bacteria, are digested quickly and easily, making them perfect probiotic drinks for your gut health.

Related: What Type of Probiotics Are in Kombucha?

Where Can You Find Probiotics Naturally?

While probiotic supplements are readily available, so many wonderful foods and beverages from around the world are chock-full of probiotics. Even the pickiest eaters should be able to find foods and drinks rich in probiotics that appeal to them. Probiotics abound primarily in many fermented and pickled foods such as:

  • Pickled vegetables
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Tempeh 
  • Kefir 
  • Kimchi 
  • Miso 
  • Soy sauce
  • Yogurt 
  • Cultured buttermilk 
  • And our favorite…kombucha!

The important thing is to choose pickled and fermented foods that are not baked, pasteurized, heated, or frozen because those processes can kill off most, if not all, of the helpful bacteria.

Kombucha Is an Excellent Source of Probiotics

The fermentation process produces probiotics naturally, giving kombucha its unique flavor and fizz. Kombucha typically has billions and billions of microscopic probiotics in even a very small serving. How many billions depends on how the kombucha is made, what ingredients are added, and how it's stored. 

Micronutrient Benefits Found in Kombucha 

While probiotics are one great reason to enjoy the refreshing taste of kombucha, there are other micronutrient benefits of drinking kombucha, including:


Kombucha is rich in antioxidants. These super-healthy compounds include polyphenols and flavonoids, which help protect your body's cells from "free radicals" that can damage them. Some free radicals are produced naturally as our bodies work, but others are generated when we're exposed to toxic chemicals and pollution.

Vitamins - Especially B Vitamins

Kombucha is filled with many important vitamins that keep our cells running well and able to produce critical energy, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, and especially vitamin B12. B vitamins are also associated with better moods and a generally improved sense of well-being. They help convert food into energy that the body can use, and they also support the nervous system, which can help you feel more alert and focused.

Variety Is the Spice of Life: Kombucha and Its Other Ingredients

People try kombucha for the first time for many reasons. Sometimes it’s out of curiosity or a  recommendation from friends, family, or a health professional, while others choose it as a good alternative to iced tea, soda, beer, or other bottled drinks. People love the variety of cool, yummy flavor combinations kombucha naturally lends itself to. Even more, people love having a drink they can enjoy that is also good for them. 

In fact, a recent survey showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans say health and wellness is important to their choice of beverage. Among those who choose kombucha as their favorite healthy drink, 66% choose it for its rich load of probiotics and about 40% for the total health benefit they find it brings them. These numbers are growing yearly as more people are increasingly mindful of their health, choosing probiotic drinks for gut health.

Does Kombucha Contain Sugar or Gluten?

For people working on healthier lifestyles, sugar and gluten are often the first ingredients eliminated from the daily diet. Does kombucha contain these ingredients? Even though sugar is used in brewing kombucha, much of it is consumed during the fermentation process and converted to a small amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide, which makes it fizzy. This process decreases the amount of sugar in the product, making it much lower than the sugar content in most drinks, such as soda or juice. A serving of kombucha averages about 60-70 calories per bottle. Flavors with more fruit or fruit juice and those with shorter fermentation times will lean toward higher sugar (and calorie) counts.

While the small amount of sugar in kombucha is what makes the magic happen, kombucha is gluten-free, and some kombucha is even made in gluten-free facilities that are certified to brew kombucha with no opportunity for cross-contamination. 

Because yeast is associated with beer brewing and baking, many people mistakenly assume yeast has gluten. In those cases, the gluten comes from sources like barley and wheat. Plain, raw yeast by itself doesn't contain gluten, nor do the other fundamental ingredients in kombucha: sugar, organic tea leaves, the essential SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) or, of course, water. In non-certified kombucha brewing facilities, added ingredients may introduce some traces of gluten. That's why knowing what facility is brewing the kombucha you’re consuming is important if you have gluten sensitivities.

What Different Kombucha Flavors Are There?

The foundation of kombucha is a combination of sweetened black, green, or even white tea enriched with yeast and healthy bacteria. Proper fermenting gives the drink its distinctive tangy flavor and pleasant, light fizziness. This process makes basic kombucha a tasty and healthy drink on its own, before even adding in organic ingredients. 

Related: Does Alcohol Affect the Probiotics in Kombucha?

Adding combinations of organic herbs and spices, fresh fruits, 100% real juices, and other herbal and botanical ingredients can give kombucha a huge range of amazing flavor combinations and add further health benefits. Appealing flavors such as blackberry-ginger, lavender-jasmine, raspberry-lime, and ginger-turmeric can make it easy to find a kombucha flavor you love and enjoy drinking.

What about Hard Kombucha?

Regular kombucha has a residual alcohol content of 0.5% ABV or less due to the fermentation process, which naturally produces it. This level is very similar to other fermented drinks considered non-alcoholic such as kefir, kvass, and ginger beer. With such a low content of alcohol, it would take around nine standard bottles of kombucha to reach an amount of alcohol equivalent to one average beer. 

Kombucha makers sometimes intentionally use an extra-long fermentation process to create "hard" kombucha. This variety features an alcohol content of around 4.5% ABV, which is the same as an average beer. Of course, you can also add your own alcohol to any batch of finished kombucha to turn it into a kombucha cocktail. You'll end up with a tasty drink, though you may lose the probiotic and micronutrient benefits of kombucha. Because of this, we suggest hard kombucha as an occasional treat rather than a regular probiotic drink for your gut health.

Is Kombucha Always a Good Choice?

Properly brewed kombucha is a safe, healthy drink that has the potential to offer numerous health benefits. But since kombucha contains raw ingredients, you may want to check in with your doctor if you’re pregnant or immunocompromised. And while we love a good ol’ batch of carefully crafted homemade kombucha, stick with a reputable commercial kombucha—one that’s carefully monitored and held to exact standards throughout the brewing process—if you have concerns. On the whole, reports of side effects from drinking kombucha are exceptionally rare and usually happen in cases where a homebrewer made mistakes in the brewing process. 

Different Ways to Enjoy Kombucha

There are other ways to incorporate kombucha into your daily diet. Adding kombucha to recipes is a great way to enjoy its probiotic benefits and add flavor to different foods and drinks. Some examples include:

  • Kombucha floats. Add ice cream or fresh fruit to your favorite kombucha flavor 
  • Kombucha cocktails and mocktails. If you typically use sweet and sour mix or club soda, try adding kombucha as a replacement.
  • Kombucha marinades and dressings. These are classic places where vinegar and flavored vinegar are typically used. Try a complementary kombucha flavor to marinate meat, tofu or portobello mushrooms or use it in your salad as a dressing instead.

Kick Back and Enjoy the Benefits of Kombucha

At Brew Dr, our kombucha is made traditionally, using only top-quality, organic tea and other responsibly-sourced ingredients. We brew our kombucha carefully, allowing each batch to naturally ferment, reaching its ideal combination of flavor depth and probiotic content. Visit us online or find a store near you to explore our wide variety of delicious, organic and raw kombucha with flavors to suit every taste.

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