By Chelsea Blissett - All Bodies Nutrition Intern & Professional Athlete
Before we give a little clarity to this question. What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is the fermentation of green or black tea with sugar, yeast and bacteria. Yes, we said bacteria!! However, it’s the good kind, the kind that will not harm you if consumed.
This good bacteria becomes a type of probiotic in the fermentation process.
Probiotics are living organisms that assist your body in helping maintain your digestive function, immune response and assist your body’s community of microorganisms to return to a healthy condition after being disturbed, like in the case of using antibiotics.
Kombucha also contains B vitamins and antioxidants, which are great for our energy levels and overall health and wellbeing!
When buying kombucha it's best to read the nutrition information panel as some companies have higher calorie and sugar content than others. You ideally want to look for one that is low in sugar - keep in mind some sugar is needed and used in the fermentation process, but the bacteria eat that all up anyway so don't stress!
When it comes to looking for food sources of probiotics you can also look at yoghurt, kimchi, tempeh, and sauerkraut. Like Kombucha, these foods have undergone a fermentation process where wonderful good bacteria have begun to thrive.
When it comes to improving your gut health and getting in a good source of probiotics, Kombucha is not the be-all and end-all.
Although if you ask Kombucha marketing teams, kombucha can improve your gut health with a single sip!
This is just not the case.
There is not enough scientific evidence around kombucha and it's probiotic content for it to claim that it improves gut health. Because of this lack of evidence, there also isn't enough evidence to suggest that Kombucha doesn't improve gut health.
It may, or it may not - we just don't know yet.
It's also important to note that it is difficult to say how many probiotics are in each bottle of Kombucha (if there are any) because of the way they are processed and how processing differs between brands.
The bottom line: Kombucha is a great low calorie and low sugar drink that you could use to replace other sugar-sweetened beverages. It may contain beneficial probiotics and be good for gut health, but there isn't enough evidence to suggest that yet.
If you're looking to improve your gut health consume a diet rich in fibre from a variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and beans. This will have the biggest impact in promoting a healthy gut environment where your gut microbiome will flourish!