Soda is one of the most popular beverages in the United States, but if you’re in love with the familiar fizz of this drink, you should know it could be damaging your health. In fact, numerous studies have shown that soda (even the diet varieties) are associated with unwanted weight gain, an increased risk of type II diabetes, and lowered immunity.1-4
If you are looking for a way to wean yourself off of soda, you’re not alone. Understand, however, that it might not be so easy to say “so long” to your sugary friend. What you need is a good alternative.
Kombucha is one way to make things a lot more pleasant if you’re trying to quit drinking soda. With a bubbly fizz just like carbonated sodas, it is hardly noticeable that you’re drinking something good for you – but kombucha is one of the most health-boosting drinks you can find. Made with a fermentation process that includes specific strains of probiotic bacteria, yeasts, and sugar, along with an antioxidant-rich tea (usually either green or black), kombucha is a sweet replacement that might make quitting soda easier.
Loaded with flavor and health-promoting probiotic bacteria and yeasts, kombucha can help combat gastrointestinal bacterial damage commonly experienced by soda drinkers. Studies have shown that both regular and diet soda pop can harm the natural, beneficial colonies of beneficial bacteria in your gut called probiotics. Kombucha can help build those colonies back.5,6
Without probiotic bacteria, you may notice a variety of health problems including unwanted weight gain, digestive issues, more infections – like that of the cold or flu – and acne. However, by replenishing strains of probiotic bacteria and yeasts in your digestive tract, like those found in kombucha, you may regain bacterial balance.7-10
Researchers now know that the best way to improve overall health is by boosting the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, or probiotics. You see, within your gastrointestinal tract, there are an estimated 100 trillion living bacteria. Their ecosystem is so large that scientists are referring to it as the microbiome – and it’s packed with tiny bugs that eat the same foods you do.11
The beneficial probiotic bacteria love to consume fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while the harmful bacteria strains, like E. coli, love to eat sugar, trans-fats, and refined carbohydrates. If you love to drink soda, chances are your microbiome is more densely populated with the harmful types of bacteria than beneficial strains. Kombucha offers a range of living symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts, along with several acidic compounds produced during the fermentation process, that help to kill off the harmful species of bacteria – replenishing the microbiome environment with beneficial strains that can aid in maintaining your good health.12,13
Other Benefits of Drinking Probiotic–Rich Kombucha
Kombucha is the ultra-healthy beverage that makes an ideal replacement for soda pop. Cut your cravings for the familiar fizz of regular soda with this effervescent, fermented tea. You may just gain these health benefits – plus more.
- Antioxidant Defense. Because kombucha is usually made with green or black tea, it contains some of the most potent antioxidants on Earth. These include polyphenols and the most well-known tea antioxidant, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate).14
Known to offer powerful protection to cells in the body from damaging compounds called free radicals, kombucha provides a strong antioxidant defense to your body – one which is potentially even more effective than supplements.15
Studies have shown that antioxidant defense offers many benefits to your health, including increased immunity and
- Reduced Risk of Diabetes. A scientific review of thousands of people who drank tea showed they had a significantly lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.17
- Weight Loss. Studies have shown that polyphenol antioxidants, like those found in green and black tea, are associated with an increased ability to burn calories.18
Not only that, but green tea has also been clinically linked to reduced fat storage, and a reduction of the specific type of fat arounFgrd your belly called visceral fat.19
If you’re ready to replace soda with a carbonated beverage that is actually good for you, try kombucha! This delicious fermented tea drink comes in just about any flavor you can imagine, plus you can make it right at home. With so many health benefits, there is no reason not to love kombucha.
- Effect of drinking soda sweetened with aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup on food intake and body weight. Am JClinNutrit 1990; 51:963-9.
- Malik VS, Popkin BM. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2010 Nov;33(11):2477-83.
- RasnikK. Singh, Hsin-Wen Chang. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Journal of Translational Medicine.
- Kau AL, Ahern PP. Human nutrition, the gut microbiome and the immune system. Nature. 2011 Jun 15; 474(7351):327-36.
- Brown, K. et al. Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease. Nutrients. 4 (8).
- Jotham Suez, Tal Korem. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners and the microbiome: findings and challenges. Gut Microbes. 2015; 6(2): 149–155. Published online 2015 Apr 1.
- Andrew B. Shreiner, John Y. Kao. The gut microbiome in health and in disease.CurrOpin Gastroenterol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Jan 1. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015 Jan; 31(1): 69–75.
- HoudaBattikh, Kamel Chaieb. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of black and green kombucha teas. Journal of Food Biochemistry ISSN 1745-4514.
- Yuhi SAITO, Toshihiro MIHARA. Effects of intake of Lactobacilluscaseisubsp. casei 327 on skin conditions: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in women. Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2017; 36(3): 111–120.
- SreeramuluG1, Zhu Y. Kombucha fermentation and its antimicrobial activity. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Jun;48(6):2589-94.
- Caitriona M. Guinane, Paul D. Cotter. Role of the gut microbiota in health and chronic gastrointestinal disease: understanding a hidden metabolic organ.TherapAdv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul; 6(4): 295–308.
- SreeramuluG, Zhu Y. Kombucha fermentation and its antimicrobial activity. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Jun;48(6):2589-94.
- Luke KUrsell, Jessica LMetcal. Defining the Human Microbiome. Nutr Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Feb 1.
- SARAH C. FORESTER, JOSHUA D. LAMBERT. Antioxidant effects of green tea.MolNutr Food Res.
- GoranBjelakovic, ChristianGluud. Surviving Antioxidant Supplements. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 99, Issue 10, 16 May 2007, Pages 742–743, 16 May 2007.
- DariaBrambilla, Cesare Mancuso. The role of antioxidant supplement in immune system, neoplastic, and neurodegenerative disorders: a point of view for an assessment of the risk/benefit profile.Nutr J. 2008; 7: 29. Published online 2008 Sep 30.
- Huxley R, Lee CM,BarziF. Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Dec 14;169(22):2053-63.
- DullooAG, Duret C. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):1040-5.
- EwaJówko. Chapter 8Green Tea Catechins and Sport Performance. Lamprecht M, editor. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2015.