Kombucha has become a fast trending drink in the world of fitness and healthy eating, but is this fermented tea beverage really the miracle liquid many people are claiming it to be? We asked one of our Nutrition Education Specialists, Christianna Moran, to weigh in:
“Once it is pasteurized it no longer contains live probiotics, but will still contain organic acids such as gluconinc, lactic and acetic acid which are good for maintaining a healthy gut. Although it does contain phytochemicals, phytonutrients and organic acids, it’s not a miracle drink and no one food/drink will cure anything. There isn’t enough research to recommend it as a remedy.” Moran advises.
So what should we look for when selecting a drink? “Ones that are labeled ‘pasteurized’ will not have the live cultures you may be looking for. Also, many kombucha drinks contain about 30-60 calories per 8 ounces depending on the brand, so we do have to take that into consideration. Look for ones with minimal added sugar.” she suggests. A couple popular brands that are low in sugar and non-pasteurized are GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha and Kevita Master Brew Kombucha.
What about brewing kombucha at home? Moran has a few cautions: “If brewing at home, it will contain probiotics, but it’s important to get a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from a reputable source and use safe cleaning and brewing techniques to minimize any chance of potentially harmful bacterial contamination. Home brewed Kombucha has been linked to heart attacks, lead poisoning (because of the storage or brewing container) and death.”
With all that said, Moran’s bottom line on kombucha is this: “I personally think it tastes good, it is a healthier alternative to soda and juice, and may even encourage people to make other healthier lifestyle choices.”