KOMBUCHA: TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK?


kombucha (static.laodong.com)
What is kombucha?

Made from fermenting tea, kombucha is a member of the fungi family and is a combination of non-toxic yeast and bacteria. Added to green or black tea, kombucha is consumed as a health beverage, and is sweetened with natural sweeteners, mainly raw brown sugar. Rumour has it that kombucha has existed for approximately 2000 years, with its roots in Chinese Folk Medicine; however, many researchers note its resurgence at the beginning of the 20th century.

What are the alleged health benefits?

Kombucha is regarded as a powerful health tonic for its detoxifying properties. It contains the powerful glucuronic acid, which acts to rid the liver of harmful toxins, thereby promoting overall health and bodily function. Kombucha’s anti-microbial properties might also work to strengthen a weakened immune system and claims suggest that its probiotic components work wonders on the body’s digestion. But, the alleged benefits don’t stop there- research has been done to suggest kombucha’s ability to combat several ailments and diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, ulcers, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Are there any adverse side effects?

Certain studies demonstrate that kombucha beverages made with black tea have caused some patients to experience hepatotoxicity, or, chemical damage to the liver. Interestingly, these cases do not extend to kombucha beverages made with green tea, perhaps due to the different properties of the tea. When kombucha is made at home, risk of toxic damage increases significantly due to potential contamination of tools involved. Additionally, some researchers are quick to point out that studies in favour of kombucha’s health properties have been conducted using laboratory mice and may not, in fact, extend to human systems.

Image via robinskey.com
Image via robinskey.com

The verdict?

Due to a recent increase in popularity, a plethora of research has been conducted to get to the bottom of the kombucha fad. With a wide array of positive and negative reports, the true effectiveness of kombucha has yet to be undoubtedly confirmed.

Our conclusion? Until more definitive research is released, you are best to stick with your unsweetened, iced green tea as your go-to healthy summer libation.

 

Hilary Dean

Hilary Dean is a freelance writer and stylist living in Downtown Toronto. She has a passion for all things fashion and developed a love of vintage fashion and local markets while studying in the South of France. She always enjoys the hunt for pieces inspired by her favourite style stars, including Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung and the Olsen Twins. In her spare time, Hilary avidly practices yoga and since she embarked on a week-long retreat to Costa Rica, she has remained inspired by the importance of dedicated practice and a local, sustainable diet. Follow her daily adventures on her Instagram: @hilaryvdean

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