Trendy kombucha spruiks big probiotic benefits for your gut, but does the drink live up to the fizz?
What is it?
Kombucha is a sparkling, fermented, probiotic tea drink you can buy or brew yourself. Fermented from green or black tea, sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), it’s lightly carbonated, and contains caffeine and trace amounts of alcohol. Find it in the chilled-drink section at major supermarkets and speciality health stores.
Most of the sugar is used up in the fermentation process, which means kombucha is a low-kilojoule and low-sugar alternative to soft drinks. Extra sugar, sweeteners or fruit juice is sometimes added to improve the taste, so it pays to read the label, especially on flavoured varieties.
New research confirms kombucha contains live, gut-friendly bacteria and yeasts, which can help balance your intestinal flora and support bowel health. Its acid-producing bacteria have been found to have anti-microbial properties, which may help boost your immunity.
Animal studies have also shown that antioxidants in kombucha tea may help prevent and manage diabetes, but human trials are needed to confirm this benefit. There’s still plenty to learn about kombucha, so watch this space!
From the shop to your table
Keep it Cleaner Organic Kombucha ($4.40)
Per 330ml bottle (Lime and Ginger): 70kJ (17cal), 3.8g carbs, 3.8g sugars