Kombucha is fermented tea with a unique acidic, effervescent flavor. It’s become increasingly popular, and can be found at most major grocery stores. Start slowly when you first try drinking it, and notice how your body reacts. Eating or drinking a lot of any fermented item can cause mild gas or bloating. There are lots of flavors available, so shop around, or look for local breweries and tasting rooms.
Start off drinking small amounts of kombucha. It’s best to start slow whenever you add something new to your diet, especially fermented items. Start with a few sips to get used to the flavor. The first few times you drink kombucha, stick to 3 or 4 fluid ounces (89 or 118 mL) or less 2 to 3 times per day.
- Kombucha changes your microbiome, or gut bacteria. Drinking a large amount without easing yourself into it can cause an upset stomach.
Note any unusual side effects, such as bloating or gas. Some people experience mild, temporary stomach upset, nausea, or changes in bowel movements. Serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, are rare.
- Signs of an allergic reaction include rash, swelling of the hands or face, trouble breathing, and an itchy sensation in the mouth or throat. Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of a food allergy.
- If you get an upset stomach, drinking water may help you feel better. If you want to keep drinking kombucha, limit your daily intake to 4 fluid ounces (120 mL) and drink a full glass of water after consuming kombucha.
Drink up to 12 fluid ounces (350 mL) of kombucha per day. The U.S. American Nutrition Association advises limiting consumption to 4 fluid ounces (120 mL) at a time up to 3 times per day. Drinking any more than that doesn’t offer any extra health benefits. Other authoritative agencies suggest capping daily consumption at 4 fluid ounces (120 mL), so start from there and see how it affects you.
- Kombucha is generally considered safe for healthy people to drink. Just keep in mind consuming too much kombucha or other fermented products can lead to undesired side effects, such as mild gas or bloating.
Make claims of health benefits with a grain of salt. Fans of kombucha argue that it can help treat medical conditions ranging from high blood pressure to cancer. However, there’s not much evidence for most of the health benefits attributed to kombucha. If it makes you feel good, drink it, but try not to think of it as a cure-all.
- There is evidence that the healthy bacteria found in kombucha and other fermented products are good for the digestive system. It also may contain small amounts of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
Try tasting different flavors of kombucha. Kombucha comes in a variety of flavors, such as ginger, lemon, mango, raspberry, and strawberry. Buy bottles of different flavors at your local grocery or health food store, and see which ones you like best.
- You could also look online for nearby kombucha taprooms or tasting rooms. If there’s one nearby, you can order flights of assorted kombuchas, and talk to brewers about their techniques and flavoring agents.
Go for glass-brewed kombucha with natural ingredients. Check the label, and make sure it notes the kombucha was brewed in glass. Read the ingredients, which should list tea, water, sugar, and culture, along with natural flavorings, such as ginger or citrus. Finally, unless you have a weakened immune system or are pregnant, choose unpasteurized kombucha.
- Pasteurization kills the good bacteria along with the bad. Since kombucha is acidic, it’s safe to drink unpasteurized. Note that pasteurized products are the safest choice if you have a weakened immune system or are pregnant.
- Brewing kombucha in plastic or steel can cause leeching, so products brewed and stored in glass are the best choice. Dark glass is also preferable to clear glass. Dark glass helps filter light, which can damage probiotic bacteria.
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