What are the health benefits of Kombucha and does it go bad? Learn the answers to these questions and more. Find out who should and shouldn’t add Kombucha to their health regimen and the cautions to observe.
Health Benefits of Kombucha and Does it Go Bad?
The health claims of this popular drink were confirmed in a study published by The Journal of Food Microbiology. The article praised the probiotic effect and properties of Kombucha.
This fermented tea drink full of living cultures contributes to health and healing by its ability to aid in detoxification, energizing the body, boosting the immune system, and the antioxidants it contains.
The high concentrations of acetic acid, lactic acid, gluconic acids, and healthy live bacteria found in a true live raw Kombucha are the sources of its main health benefits.
For a lot of people, the tart taste of this fizzy probiotic drink is enough to make them want to brew up their next batch of homemade Kombucha. But they also enjoy that it’s a good way to improve their overall health.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented drink that has been called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” Records dating back to 2,000 years ago make mention of it. It can be purchased or home-brewed.
A new batch of Kombucha is started with live yeast and good bacteria. When combined with sugar, they begin the fermentation process. Home brewers can use any source of sugar they want. It could be cane sugar, honey, or their favorite fruit juice. We make good Kombucha with raw honey we get from a nearby apiary.
The symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast is called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). A SCOBY can be bought online, at your favorite health food store or you can make your own baby SCOBY which I believe is the best way.
Black tea is the best choice for Kombucha tea, but you can use green tea if you like. Once the kombucha ferment process is complete, it is a carbonated beverage.
I didn’t realize this the first time I purchased a commercial Kombucha. I shook the bottle of unopened Kombucha and got quite a shock!
Health Benefits of Kombucha
1) Improved Digestive Issues
The digestive system of most people in the USA is under attack by free radicals. They are destroying colonies of beneficial bacteria at an alarming rate and in extreme cases are causing life-threatening conditions.
The antioxidant properties of Kombucha help the body to ward off the adverse effects of free radicals in the gut. Kombucha is the fermented product of choice to prevent and treat stomach ulcers and repair leaky gut syndrome.
In some studies, participants said they had more relief from drinking a Kombucha bottle than they had experienced from a long time of prescription drugs for ulcers, heartburn, reflux, and GERD.
Kombucha may be good news for those experiencing problems with candida yeast populations. Even though Kombucha has sugar in it, the live cultures and live probiotics enable the repopulation of healthy bacteria in the gut, leaving no room for candida.
2) Detoxification of Cells
Liver cell toxicity has been shown to be reversible with Kombucha use. One study showed that liver cells are shielded from injury by oxidative stress when Kombucha was drank regularly. Oxidative stress plays a major role in inflammation in the body and liver disease.
3) Increased Energy
The iron and B vitamins in Kombucha are credited for its energizing effects. This is true when black tea is used because they are the bi-product of black tea fermentation. Of course, the caffeine may be given some credit as well even though there is only a small amount of caffeine in Kombucha.
Chelation produces the energy at the cellular level as iron is taken up by the red blood cells. The uptake of iron increases the hemoglobin which increases oxygen supply to the cell which increases energy in the cell.
4) Immune System Boost
As Kombucha helps the body fight and destroy free radicals, it boosts the immune system. Most scientists agree that the antioxidants and vitamin C in Kombucha protect body cells against being damaged by free radicals.
5) Improved Joint Health
Because Kombucha is rich in glucosamines, which increases the production of synovial hyaluronic acid, it can help prevent and repair damage to our joints. As someone who deals with this daily, I can say it does help with arthritic pain. This king of acidic beverages also supports the preservation of collagen necessary to the painless and proper functioning of joints.
6) Prevention of Cancer
Kombucha has proven to be a valuable tool in the prevention of and healing from cancer. A study at the Cancer Institute, clearly showed that the glucaric acid found in Kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in people who regularly consumed one serving a day of this fizzy tea.
Does Kombucha Go Bad?
Nothing is without risk in this life. We practice moderation in all things, finding a balance as there is no one size fits all in the health world.
The answer is yes and no. Kombucha doesn’t stop fermenting. So, after 6 months of fermenting, the taste will no longer be sweet and sour but instead, it will be sour and taste like vinegar because it is now technically Kombucha vinegar.
This doesn’t mean you can’t consume it, if you can bear it. As long as it is stored out of direct sunlight at room temperature or cooler and has not become moldy and spoiled, you can consume it.
Once Kombucha becomes too acidic to consume, it can be used as a vinegar substitute in cleaning and hair products.
If your homemade Kombucha spoils, it’s likely that you accidentally contaminated it with bad bacteria or fungi when working with it. It can be a finicky drink to brew.
Contamination causes an imbalance between the live yeast and beneficial bacteria allowing mold to grow. Mold is an obvious sign of spoilage.
How to Tell if Kombucha is Spoiled
It is rare that mold grows on Kombucha if you follow the guidelines we talked about before, but it does happen. It will usually appear as a grayish-blue to black hairy mold. It will grow in the shape of a circle with ragged edges.
Don’t confuse your SCOBY with mold. If you’re sure it’s not your SCOBY, remove the mold and discard it immediately.
The smell of your Kombucha will be more like the smell of vinegar than the sweet and sour smell it had before. This is a good sign it’s time to find another use for your Kombucha.
The final test of your Kombucha’s shelf life is the taste. It will taste sour like vinegar. You can confirm this by testing the pH of your Kombucha. The acceptable pH range is 2.5-4.6. Bottled Kombucha generally has a pH of 2.5-3 which is within the acceptable range. If the pH you get when you test your Kombucha is outside the acceptable range, don’t drink it.
Cautions and Possible Reactions to Kombucha
Some stomach upset and reactions have been reported in certain people when they consumed a bottle of Kombucha. This is especially true of those suffering from a compromised immune system secondary to disease.
Because of the possibility of creating excess carbonation, mold growth, and the introduction of harmful bacteria, those at risk should exercise common sense and caution when brewing their Kombucha.
- You can get the best results when brewing healthy kombucha at home by sterilizing your equipment; using high-quality, organic ingredients; clean, pure water; and maintaining a clean preparation area.
- People with stomach ulcers, reflux, or problems with acidic foods should use kombucha with caution as it creates an acidic environment in the body.
I know this seems like a contradiction because of the healing Kombucha brings to these very conditions. However, each person is different, and no two people react the same.
- If you deal with any issue of the digestive tract, introduce Kombucha to your body at a slow rate in small doses. It does have a great taste and you will be tempted to drink a bottle but that’s not a good idea.
By slowly increasing the amount you drink you can see how your body will react without overloading your systems.
- Stomach upset and allergic reactions have been reported. The allergic reaction is to some ingredient in the Kombucha.
Since there are many variations in the possible ingredients, you should always read the ingredient list of any Kombucha you purchase. It’s always a good idea to check the expiration date as well.
- The benefits of drinking Kombucha are experienced rather quickly. So there’s no reason to rush. It’s important to slowly add Kombucha to your diet.
Start with 8 Ounces a day and then increase it every three days until you are consuming the amount you want to.
- Pregnant women and diabetics should not drink Kombucha without consulting their doctor. This is because in the fermentation of black tea, there is a minuscule amount of alcohol content created in Kombucha made with it.
I hope you found the answers you were looking for to the questions: Are there health benefits to Kombucha and does it go bad?
As always, I’m here to help.