Kombucha is a fermented drink that is made by mixing sugar, yeast, and a colony of live bacteria with green or black tea. The drink has seen a massive rise to fame in recent years and appears everywhere from supermarket shelves to bar menus. Among the reasons for this fizzy drink's popularity are the health claims that accompany it. Those who enjoy kombucha often claim that it can help with everything from indigestion to cancer. Officially, though, the question remains: is kombucha actually good for you, or is it just a fad?
During the fermentation process that creates kombucha, a large amount of bacteria develops in the tea, some of which may have probiotic effects. Various studies link probiotics to better digestion, reduced inflammation, and improved symptoms of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. The body contains anywhere from 100 to 300 trillion gut microbes. Even concentrated probiotic supplements only contain around 50 billion at most, and kombucha contains far fewer. That's far from enough to make a noticeable difference in a person's health. Finally, most store-bought brands of kombucha are pasteurized, meaning that a sterilization process has killed most of the bacteria in the beverage. While unpasteurized kombucha is available, it poses a possible health risk due to the risk of dangerous bacteria. This possible benefit of kombucha remains unproven.
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