Kombucha tea is a drink that is prepared from tea previously fermented by a colony of bacteria and fungi. Many properties are attributed to it, but it is essential to know the side effects with which it is also associated.
The microorganisms responsible for the fermentation of sweet tea and which give rise to this drink are called “Kombucha mushroom.” Despite its many benefits, we must also know and prevent the risks associated with the consumption of Kombucha tea.
At the beginning of the fermentation process, various types of microbiota are involved, but over the days, only those that make up the gelatinous body characteristic of Kombucha survive. The rest die due to the high level of acidity and antibiotics that have been secreted.
The flavor of Kombucha tea will depend on the fermentation time. It will, therefore, be softer and sweeter if it stays shorter, and will gradually get a more intense and acidic taste.
Nutritional Characteristics of Kombucha Tea
Rich in vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are necessary for many biochemical processes that take place in our bodies. For example, vitamin B and C, iron, zinc, copper and manganese
A variable amount of antioxidants: they come from the black tea from which Kombucha tea is made. Their presence also depends on the duration of fermentation, because the higher the acidity, the fewer antioxidants
A large amount of microorganisms: this is what gives it a powerful probiotic effect
The lack of studies concerning this drink does not allow us to affirm the certainty of the benefits which are traditionally attributed to it. However, the antioxidants and microorganisms that are present are generally linked to an improvement in digestive functions.
It is also credited with beneficial properties for cardiovascular health, liver function, and stress. It should be remembered that this drink is prepared from tea, usually green or black. Therefore, it:
- Helps to solve concentration problems
- Has a diuretic effect
- Presents a purifying action
- Has a stimulating effect
- Has astringent properties
Side effects of Kombucha Tea
Risk of contamination
The greatest risk of Kombucha tea is linked to contamination by microorganisms in case its preparation is not carried out under conditions that comply with specific hygienic measures.
During fermentation, Kombucha tea can be exposed to many bacteria and yeast contaminations which are harmful to our health. If we don’t leave it to ferment long enough, the drink will not reach the level of acidity and alcohol needed to kill these microorganisms.
In addition, samples contaminated with Aspergillus mold, which generates hepatotoxic toxins, are often detected. As well as contamination by bacteria of the genus Helicobacter pylori or salmonella. This is why this drink is not recommended for people who suffer from intestinal or liver disease.
It is also not recommended for people who are immunocompromised or who have impaired functioning of the immune system. In addition, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children under 5, patients with HIV, or any other infection, should refrain from drinking Kombucha tea.
Excessive Consumption of Kombucha Tea
Even if we don’t belong to any of the groups mentioned above, moderation is essential for this type of drink. In fact, to excess, Kombucha can cause digestive discomfort. It should also be noted that it is a drink with a high sugar and alcohol content. We must, therefore, monitor our diet so as not to exceed the maximum levels recommended for these substances.
Industrial Kombucha Tea
There is also a Kombucha tea produced industrially. In this case, the drink is correctly sterilized, but it loses its probiotic effect, which gives a drink with low nutritional value.
Finally, this drink can be beneficial if we do not consume it in excess. However, its ingestion does not guarantee any short-term or long-term benefits beyond those attributed to the tea itself. Some people think that drinking tea is more beneficial because it does not contain alcohol or microorganisms that can cause intolerance.