Kombucha for IBS
The Digestive Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha is a hot topic theses days, especially when we’re talking about digestive health. You might have noticed this new trend about kombucha on social media or maybe you’ve seen celebrities raving about the benefits of this product. Maybe your friends or colleagues drink these fizzy drinks or you’ve noticed them on the grocery store shelf. Whatever the case may be, you’re probably wondering what the hype is all about with this beverage! Is it actually good for your gut health? In this article I’m going to dive into the evidence about kombucha to tell you what it is, how it might improve gut health, and some potential controversy surrounding the topic.
Kombucha for IBS: What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage that can be purchased at a variety of grocery and health food stores. It is made by fermenting sugar, black tea, and green tea with added bacteria and yeast. Although the process of making kombucha begins with a lot of sugar, the sugar is mostly used up during the fermentation process, and the finished product is actually quite low in sugar, unless more is added at the end for flavouring purposes. The sugar is what the healthy bacteria eats to grow! Once all the ingredients are prepared, the fermentation process begins when the “mother fungus” is added and then left to ferment for three to ten days depending on the recipe used. The “mother fungus” grows during the fermentation process and is something that can be reused to make another batch of kombucha.
Kombucha for IBS: Digestive Health Benefits
Kombucha has been shown to help reduce digestive symptoms, improve digestion, prevent bacterial infections and alleviate discomfort caused by IBS. According to the Journal of Chemistry, kombucha can also act as a laxative to help get slow bowels moving along, which can help those of you suffering from constipation. Many studies have also shown that kombucha has antimicrobial properties, which means it will prevent the growth of certain harmful bacterias in our body. This is because kombucha is acidic which helps to create unfriendly conditions for the growth of harmful bacteria. These properties are more enhanced when the product is made from green tea instead of black because it will contain more acid and catechins, which are the antioxidants found in green tea. Another reason why kombucha is great for overall health is because is also contains glucuronic which is produced from the fermentation process. Glucuronic acid has been known to bind with toxins that come into the body and then help to get rid of them.
One of the reasons kombucha could be good for digestive health is because of its symbiotic-like properties. This means it contains a combination of prebiotic and probiotic-like properties. Probiotics can improve digestion by balancing the gut bacteria and preventing harmful bacteria from growing in the gut. The prebiotic is a source of food for the good probiotic bacteria, so this will help them grow and thrive. Both of these combined can contribute to healthy digestion.
Kombucha for IBS: Probiotics and Fermented Foods
Although kombucha is often referred to as a probiotic, that isn’t totally accurate. Probiotics are specific types of bacteria that provide us with benefits when taken in certain doses; however, with fermented foods we don’t always know what or how much specific bacteria is in it or what the benefits are. This is where classifying fermented foods as probiotics can get tricky. If the words raw, fermented, or contains active cultures are printed on the beverage label, then that’s a good indication that it contains good bacteria for your digestion. This is a common question we see a lot, so we’ve created a class all about probiotics and fermented foods for digestive health in our CLAIRITY program.
Kombucha for IBS: FODMAPs
You may be wondering how kombucha could be good for gut health when it is a carbonated beverage that is high in fructans, making it a high FODMAP beverage. Everyone has their own triggers, which means kombucha might not work for you. Instead of drinking the whole bottle at once, try a little bit at a time to see how your body reacts. If you have a positive experience, then kombucha can be added to your routine to see if it improves your symptoms and promotes proper digestion. Remember, there is more to digestive health than just the Low FODMAP diet! Yes it’s a great place to start with identifying your triggers, but there are many other strategies you need to apply that are just as important. Everyone is different and has different triggers, so it’s all about finding the right solutions for you.
Homemade Kombucha For IBS: Food Safety Concerns
Food safety can be a concern if you’re going to try to make your own kombucha at home. Maybe you want to take up a new hobby, save some money on buying kombucha from the store, or have complete creative control to experiment with your own favourite flavours! Whatever the reasoning is, kombucha can be made right in your kitchen. But, I must warn you that there are some safety concerns to keep in mind while making this fermented beverage at home.
While some bacteria is helpful for gut health, other bacteria can make us really sick, so it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure you stay healthy and well! It is important to pay attention to food safety practices when making kombucha at home because you are playing with bacteria. Kombucha is safe when it reaches a low pH (high acidity), however, before that happens it is possible that it can become contaminated and grow mould.
The process of fermentation is needed to make kombucha, but overfementation can be dangerous. Overfermention can happen if you let the bacteria and sugar sit too long together, which can produce too much of certain compounds like acetic acid. There is also the potential that the compounds in the container could leach out into the beverage. To be safe, it is important that you sanitize all utensils, use a glass container, maintain the correct temperature and follow the recipe instructions. Since you’re dealing with bacteria, it is essential that your tools are cleaned so that you’re not introducing unwanted bacteria into the beverage.
Although kombucha isn’t a natural cure for IBS, it might be helpful in reducing some of those uncomfortable symptoms and really benefiting your gut health. It is always great when we can get relief from the foods or beverages we consume on a daily or weekly basis. Don’t be scared to try something new and always remember to listen to your body. Trying this new beverage in small quantities will give you a good feel on whether it is right for you or not. If kombucha doesn’t work for you then that is completely fine. There are lots of other ways to reduce your symptoms so that you can start living your life to the fullest. Getting clear on your triggers can be challenging, but that’s why I’m here to help. Join me in the CLAIRITY program to finally find relief!
Wishing you much love and happiness,