Kombucha is a fermented tea that is gaining popularity for its potential digestive health benefits. However, it is also known to have some side effects. If you are considering drinking this beverage, you should be aware of both the kombucha benefits and risks.
The average serving size for kombucha is between 8 and 16 ounces. However, you should not consume more than 12 ounces per day to avoid the potential kombucha dangers.
Since it is fermented, kombucha is often recommended as an alternative to sparkling drinks and carbonated sodas. It is manufactured by many brands, so it comes in a variety of flavors. Some people simply enjoy the taste while others seek to experience the kombucha health benefits.
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Kombucha Nutrition Facts
Since the main ingredient in kombucha is fermented tea, it can be made at home. However, many people prefer to buy this probiotic-rich food in stores or restaurants since fermenting tea is a time-consuming process.
Kombucha tends to be a low-calorie drink. It also usually contains very few nutrients since the ingredients are simple: tea, sugar and various flavors. Depending on the brand, the calories in kombucha and its other nutrition facts and ingredients may vary.
According to the USDA, a 12-ounce serving of kombucha contains the following nutrients:
- 21.2 calories
- 0 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 6 grams of sugar
Though the flavor may entice you to drink kombucha by the case, the Cleveland Clinic advises not to consume more than 12 ounces per day. You can safely consume 4 ounces of kombucha three times per day. Since there is limited research, it is recommended to consume kombucha conservatively.
Kombucha Health Benefits
Kombucha's health benefits often surround the digestive tract due to its probiotic content. Probiotic foods are known to improve gut health. However, some probiotics are more effective than others.
Harvard Health Publishing states the health benefits of probiotics are specific to each strain. Since the strains of probiotics in kombucha are often unknown, it is unclear if the kombucha health benefits are related to the potential probiotic presence.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the kombucha health benefits may be attributed to the main ingredient — the tea itself. Since tea is naturally high in polyphenols, so is kombucha. Polyphenols act as antioxidants in the body. They fight inflammation, which can alleviate the symptoms and even address the root cause of many diseases.
Many of the studies conducted on kombucha's health benefits involve rats instead of human subjects. More research is needed to confirm the potential antioxidant activity and probiotic content in kombucha.
Kombucha Dangers and Side Effects
It is important to know kombucha's benefits and risks before consuming this drink for the first time.
According to Mayo Clinic, there have been several reports of adverse effects due to kombucha consumption. These cases include allergic reactions, upset stomach and infections. Mayo Clinic also suggests that the kombucha dangers are increased when kombucha is brewed at home. This is due to the increased risk of unsanitary conditions, which could lead to contaminated food and beverages.
To avoid negative side effects, Colorado State University's Food Source Information recommends consuming small amounts of kombucha at a time and observing any reactions. They specify that common side effects from drinking kombucha include nausea and vomiting.
Both kombucha's benefits and risks need more research to confirm. Until then, do not exceed more than 12 ounces per day to avoid the potential kombucha dangers.
Read more: Dangers from Kombucha
- Cleveland Clinic: “What are Kombucha’s Health Benefits and How Much Can You Safely Drink?”
- USDA: “Kombucha”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics”
- Mayo Clinic: “What is Kombucha Tea? Does It Have Any Health Benefits?”
- Colorado State University’s Food Source Information: “Kombucha”