What’s the buzz?
Kombucha, the slightly tart, slightly sweet, and sometimes fizzy beverage that’s increasingly available in beverage cases nationwide has a big fan following. Many claim it can support immunity and provide a wide range of other health benefits.
What does the science say?
Kombucha is a fermented tea and sugar-based drink to which other ingredients, such as fruit, ginger, or chia seeds, are sometimes added. There has not been much research done on kombucha itself, but unpasteurized kombucha is a source of probiotics, the beneficial bacterial cells that data show may support immunity and gastrointestinal health. Most commercial products have been pasteurized, however, which destroys these probiotics, and kombucha is also often a sugar-laden source of calories that may not fit in with one’s dietary goals. For those who choose not to drink, it’s important to know that there may be trace amounts of alcohol in some of these products as well.
What’s the takeaway?
Kombucha can play a role in supporting well-being, in particular due to the probiotic effect unpasteurized products offer (check with your healthcare practitioner if there are concerns about consuming unpasteurized products). Read the label of any product you are considering, to be sure it provides the benefits you’re looking for, without blowing your goals for sugar and calorie intake.