This fizzy, fermented tea beverage has a tart flavor and a healthy dose of probiotics to strengthen your gut's microbiome. Learn more about the tasty drink and how best to consume it to enjoy the benefits of drinking kombucha to the fullest.
While we love a uniquely sweet and tart sip of kombucha, not everyone agrees with us - it seems to be a bit of an acquired taste.
Fermented drinks tend to have an element reminiscent of vinegar, and though kombucha's flavor is still sweeter than sour overall, many people are more accustomed to a sweeter drink, like fruit juice.
Whether you like the taste of kombucha or not, we should all be drinking a cup of the good stuff each day because there are some pretty significant health benefits from drinking kombucha.
Whether you're looking into how to heal your gut or you want to boost a poorly-functioning digestive system, kombucha is your new secret weapon.
While this fermented drink will give you a hefty dose of healthy probiotics, drinking too much kombucha can harm your body.
We're diving into the kombucha probiotic benefits and how often to drink kombucha for the best possible results!
Your guts will thank you.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is an effervescent drink containing strongly brewed tea, sugar, and water.
The trick that turns this sweet tea concoction into a full-blown health drink is a fermentation process with a little help from a SCOBY.
- A SCOBY, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, creates a seal on top of the tea mixture, and then the bacteria and yeast go to work breaking down the sugars and converting them to acid and alcohol.
- After the kombucha fully ferments, producers remove the SCOBY, but much of the bacteria and yeast culture remain inside the drink to give it probiotic qualities.
You can make kombucha with different tea types and use many add-ins to alter the taste, like fruit juice.
What does kombucha taste like?
Depending on your taste buds, kombucha might taste pleasantly tart or like a mouthful of vinegar - therefore, if you usually drink and eat sweeter things, you might find it tough to adjust, but most people enjoy the taste of kombucha, especially with a dash of sweet fruit juice added.
The taste of the kombucha depends on the length of the fermentation process - the longer you leave the kombucha to ferment, the more sugar the bacteria will turn into an acid, making a more sour drink.
A sour-tasting kombucha should also have the highest probiotic levels and the lowest residual sugars.
Fermentation and Alcohol: Is kombucha alcoholic?
Technically, kombucha is slightly alcoholic due to the fermentation it goes through, but the alcohol level is almost non-existent at less than 0.5%.
You'd have to drink a lot of kombucha to feel any effects from the alcohol, though children and pregnant women should always steer clear of the beverage.
As kombucha’s popularity grows, it drives producers to try and grab their own piece of the profits. Now some breweries make hard kombucha with over 5% alcohol content, so you can enjoy a probiotic-filled alcoholic beverage that will likely be a little softer on your system than a traditional beer.
Does kombucha have caffeine?
Kombucha contains a little caffeine from the tea leaves, but it is very minimal: around 15 mg per cup; close to that in a decaf coffee.
Compared to a 150mg cup of coffee, it shouldn't pose much of an issue for anyone, but if you're particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine, don't drink kombucha close to bedtime.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Tea & Polyphenols
Many of the healthy kombucha benefits in each glass come from an already-healthy elixir, tea.
Tea is high in antioxidants like polyphenols that decrease inflammation in the body to help fight off disease and premature cellular aging.
You'll also find B vitamins, minerals, and acids that help fight against harmful bacterial growth.
Probiotics for Your Gut
Many of us struggle with gut and digestive issues. Our diets are full of more and more processed foods, which mess with our microbiome as the powerful bacteria can't process unnatural foods in the wrong ratios very well.
Drinking and eating fermented foods helps to replenish this sensitive yet healthy bacterial ecosystem in our bellies to balance digestion and grab more nutrients from the foods we eat.
While unfermented kombucha starts with a high sugar level, it disappears as the SCOBY breaks it down into healthier elements in the drink so it won't spike your blood sugar.
Serving Sizes: How Much Kombucha to Drink
Kombucha is incredibly good for you, but it is potent stuff - a little bit of kombucha goes a long way.
At most, you should drink 1-2 cups of kombucha per day or a maximum of 16 oz.
And like many fermented foods, your body may need time to adapt and adjust to the probiotics.
Start with a small serving like one half-cup and see how your body reacts. Slowly increase your dose over time if you like!
Too Much of a Good Thing
The kombucha side effects of too many probiotics are the opposite of everything they try to accomplish - these gut healers can actually cause gas and other gastrointestinal upset if you drink too much in a short time.
How often should I drink kombucha?
As long as you follow the daily dosage guidelines, you can drink kombucha as often as you want.
You'll likely see the most benefits by drinking 4-oz each day, but you can also drink it every few days or weekly - the price of kombucha is relatively high, so drink what you can within your budget.
How do I Drink Kombucha?
Best Way To Drink Kombucha
To start on your kombucha journey, drink 4-oz portions 1-3 times each day, straight from the bottle into a glass. If you'd like, you can water it down with a little fruit juice to soften the flavor, but beware of the sugar that juice adds.
When to Drink Kombucha
There isn't one best time to drink kombucha, but there are a few times throughout the day you may find the most helpful:
- In the morning on an empty stomach for the most significant benefits all day long (though beware drinking on an empty stomach until your body adjusts)
- Before, during, and after a meal to aid digestion
- Mid-afternoon or post-workout for an energy boost
- After dinner or evening as a healthier alternative to alcohol that's still satisfying
Do you drink the bottom of kombucha?
The bottle of kombucha can look a little strange or downright gross to some drinking kombucha for the first time - brown stringy goo floats and settles in the bottom of the bottle, but this is a good thing! Those bits are yeast and beneficial to drink.
If you can't stand the thought of stomaching the yeast, use a strainer to remove them from your glass first.
Take it Slow and Enjoy!
When it comes to fermented food, slow and steady wins the race to good gut health.
Drinking a big bottle of kombucha won't improve your gut health faster and will likely give you gas and diarrhea. Instead, drink a small glass daily to slowly transform and grow your gut's microbiome into a lean, mean digestion machine!