18 Healthy Reasons to Sip Kombucha - Page 2

18 Healthy Reasons to Sip Kombucha

17.  Cancers

Consumption of kombucha has been associated with lower cancer rates.  Researchers believe it increases the immune system's anticancer defenses.   It may prevent cancer proliferation at early stages of tumor growth due to its glucuronic, lactic, and acetic acid content, as well as its antibiotic compounds.  It may have anticarcinogenic effects especially for hormone-dependent tumors.

Cell studies suggest it may be useful for prostate cancer treatment and prevention.[14]  It's also been studied as an anticancer agent against human lung, osteosarcoma, and renal cancer cell lines. 

18.  Antibiotic Resistant Infections

Kombucha contains strong antibacterials to combat infectious diseases such as diptheria, scarlet fever, influenza, typhoid, paratyphoid fever, and dysentery.[15]  Its high total acidity makes it effective against Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus.  It's been suggested that kombucha may be an effective alternative to synthetic antimicrobials that are becoming increasingly ineffective.[16]  

How to Enjoy Kombucha at Home

Kombucha is widely available in health food stores.  When you buy a bottle you'll notice a thin layer of the SCOBY at the bottom.  The instructions may caution against shaking the contents. That's because it should be a little effervescent. 

Because it's a fermented food, kombucha can develop an alcohol content that approaches the FDA's upper limit for a non-alcoholic beverage of 0.5% by volume. Some people report getting a buzz from the drink but others don't notice any effect at all.

The Latvian researchers note that a series of microbiological and biochemical tests on kombucha have repeatedly found it safe for human consumption.  Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, quotes an FDA official as saying that when reasonable care is taken, "you're more likely to find contamination in a cup of coffee than in a cup of properly prepared kombucha."

But there have been isolated reports of sickness after drinking kombucha.  Alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil does not recommend drinking the homemade version for fear of contamination with aspergillus, a toxin-producing yeast which he believes would be risky for those with already compromised immune systems, like AIDS patients and cancer patients, as well as for pregnant and nursing mothers.

What to do? If you are healthy, try the commercial brands for yourself. For beginners, a good brand to try is GT's Organic Raw Kombucha.  The founder claims he began making kombucha in 1995 after his mother successfully used the drink in her battle against breast cancer.

It's best to use kombucha in moderation to begin (four to eight ounces a day), even though the bottle may recommend a full 16 ounces per day. And at almost four dollars a bottle, many people may want to keep their intake moderate.

Another reason to start slowly is that kombucha has a detoxifying effect.  If the liver is not functioning properly, it can be overwhelmed by the toxins being released. This may be why some people report an allergic reaction to the tea. For that reason, some experts recommend drinking plenty of water while taking kombucha to help flush toxins from the body.

If you are tempted to make your own kombucha, educate yourself first and follow instructions carefully, including using clean equipment, correct temperatures and glass containers.

Kombucha is not a drug but a traditional drink with many health-promoting properties. As with all foods, moderation is key.  It's important to listen to your own body to determine whether it is a good choice for you.



References

[1] Ilmara Vina et al, "Current Evidence on Physiological Activity and Expected Health Effects of Kombucha Fermented Beverage." J Med Food 17 (2) 2014, 179–188 DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2013.0031

[2] Adriani L, Mayasari N, Kartasudjana RA: "The effect of feeding fermented kombucha tea on HLD, LDL and total cholesterol levels in the duck bloods." Biotechnol Anim Husb 2011;27:1749–1755.

[3] Banerjee D, Hassarajani SA, Maity B, Narayan G, Bandyopadhyay SK, Chattopadhyay S: Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action. Food Funct 2010;1:284–293.

[4] Shenoy C: "Hypoglycemic activity of bio-tea in mice." Indian J Exp Biol 2000;38:278–279.

[5] Aloulou A, Hamden K, Elloumi D, Ali MB, Hargafi K, Jaouadi B, Ayadi F, Elfeki A, Ammar E: Hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties of kombucha tea in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. BMC Complement Altern Med 2012;12:63.

[6] Gharib OA: "Effects of kombucha on oxidative stress induced nephrotoxicity in rats." Chin Med 2009;4:23.

[7] Dufresne C, Farnworth E: "Tea, kombucha and health: a review."  Food Res Int 2000;33:409–421.

[8] Dufresne C, Farnworth E: "Tea, kombucha and health: a review."  Food Res Int 2000;33:409–421.

[9] Suhartatik N, Karyantina M, Marsono Y, Rahayu ES, Kuswanto KR: "Kombucha as anti hypercholesterolemic agent (in vitro study using SD rats)." Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference of Indonesian Society for Lactic Acid Bacteria (3rd IC- ISLAB): Better Life with Lactic Acid Bacteria: Exploring Novel Functions of Lactic Acid Bacteria, 2011, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

[10] Pauline T, Dipti P, Anju B, Kavimani S, Sharma SK, Kain AK, Sarada SKS, Sai Ram M, Ilavazhagan G, Kumar D, Selvamurthy W: "Studies on toxicity; anti-stress and hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea." Biomed Environ Sci 2001;14:207–213.

[11] Jalil A, Amin D, Mohammad HF, Saeid H: "Protective effect of kombucha tea against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in mice: a biochemical and histopathological study." Comp Clin Path 2012;21:1243–1248.

[12] Pasha C, Reddy G: "Nutritional and medicinal improvement of black tea by yeast fermentation." Food Chem 2005;89:449–453.

[13] Jayabalan R, Marimuthu S, Swaminathan K: "Changes in content of organic acids and tea polyphenols during kombucha tea fermentation." Food Chem 2007;102:392–398.

[14] Sriharia T, Arunkumarb R, Arunakaranb J, Satyanarayanac U: "Downregulation of signalling molecules involved in angiogenesis of prostate cancer cell line (PC-3) by kombucha (lyophilized)." Biomed Prev Nutr 2012;3:53–58.

[15] Talawat S, Ahantharik P, Laohawiwattanakul S, Premsuk A, Ratanapo S: "Efficacy of fermented teas in antibacterial activity." Kasetsart J Nat Sci 2006;40:925–933.

[16] Mo H, Zhu Y, Chen Z: "Microbial fermented tea—a potential source of natural food preservatives." Trends Food Sci Technol 2008;19:124–130.

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