What is kombucha, and what is it good for?
Our guts are the root of our health and are full of bacteria, both good and bad. This is important to know, because the majority of health issues that we face stem from an inbalance of beneficial/harmful bacteria in our gut.
The full spectrum of ailments which it can cause to manifest include anything from mental issues such as depression/anxiety, to digestive issues such as IBS.
Knowing that most people do face some of these issues in their everyday life and having battled depression myself, I want to share this immune-boosting beverage with you. Benefits of kombucha include:
Promoting Gut Health
The gastro-intestinal tract is considered a very complex microbial ecosystem. As kombucha is an unpasteurised, living product, it can act as a high-quality probiotic supplement which can help to restore a healthy balance to your gut microbes – especially after taking antibiotics or with a diet of highly-processed foods, as these tend to kill off the colonies of beneficial microbes.
It’s common knowledge that the microbes in your gut effects digestion, but their influence extrends far beyond that to many of the body’s functions, including physical and mental health.
Immune System Boosting Effect
Kombucha contains anti-oxidants, which are compounds which block the action of free radicals in the body (activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells).
Polyphenols are responsible for the anti-oxidant qualities of green & black teas. Due to the fermentation process, the amount contained in a bottle of kombucha contains a significant amount more than ordinary tea.
As stated in this study,
The antioxidant activity of kombucha tea is due to the presence of tea polyphenols, ascorbic acid, and DSL. Kombucha tea was observed to have higher antioxidant activity than unfermented tea and that may be due to the production of low-molecular-weight components and structural modifications of tea polyphenols by enzymes produced by bacteria and yeast during fermentation.
Kombucha contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria, along with the amino acids, enzymes, organic acids and polyphenols they produce.
It is also rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamin C (about 750mg per 500ml – the exact quantities vary between samples.)
The chance of contamination by airborne moulds or bacterial spores is very low because of the mild alcoholic element (less than 0.5%) and its acidity; acetic acid, ethanol, gluconic acid, glucuronic acid, glycerol, lactic acid and usnic acid. Usnic acid possesses a wide range of intersecting biological properties.
It has been shown to have potent antibiotic effective against harmful bacteria, such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Pneumococcus.
Also, Kombucha can exhibit anti-inflammatory and anelgesic effects.
Kombucha contains glucosamine which can increase joint hyaluronic acid production in the synovial fluid in joints. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and can potentially prevent arthritic pain.
Hyaluronic acid also enables connective tissue to hold moisture, which in turn, can help us to maintain tissue structure and flexibility. This can also have a positive effect on the maintainance of elasticity and reduce wrinkles in body tissues, such as the skin.
Other beneficial effects include:
The probiotic microbes can work on our dietary plant roughage to release the nutrients locked away including vitamins and minerals, thus increasing absorbability.
It can contribute towards a well balanced gut environment and control the growth of disease-causing bacteria, keeping opportunistic bacteria at bay.
Lifting your mood, mental health and sleep rhythms – A large proportion of our seretonin and meletonin are produced in our gut; our second brain.