Feel like you’re seeing kombucha wherever you go? It’s not you, it’s everywhere. The drink has exploded as a health supplement with claims that it relieves many health problems. Here’s everything you need to know before you buy a bottle.
Kombucha is a fizzy drink made from tea, believed to have been first brewed in China over 2,000 years ago. It’s made by mixing tea leaves, sugar and yeast, and letting it sit for a week to ferment. This creates its signature layer of bacteria that floats in the drink. This process is important for not only giving kombucha its taste, but also creating probiotic bacteria that can improve your digestive system.
Probiotics give your stomach healthy bacteria that may help you digest, reduce inflammation and even lose weight. Some say kombucha can also strengthen your immune system, promote weight loss and ward off cancer, but there haven’t been enough studies to back these claims. It does contain caffeine and B vitamins thanks to its tea content, though.
While it’s approved by the FDA, drinking kombucha carries some risk due to how it’s prepared. Improper preparation may cause illness—especially if you have a weakened immune system. It also naturally contains minor amounts of alcohol, so it’s best to avoid drinking kombucha if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Bottom line, the health effects of kombucha aren’t clear. It contains some vitamins and helpful bacteria but claims of curing or preventing ailments haven’t been researched enough yet. Talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.