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Kombucha Tea, Are The Benefits Too Good To Be True?

Those simple expressions that our parents and grandparents taught us that were meant to protect us so often ring and hold true.

Here is one. If it is too good to be true, it usually is.

If applied, how many times has thinking about that and exercising restraint saved us from harm and deception?

But you know what? Often we still want to believe, mostly for emotional reasons, in what is too good to be true.

Which brings us to the latest craze that we recently heard of and can barely pronounce.

Kombucha Tea.

fci elite competitor, fciwomenswrestling2.com articles, Shark Tank photo credit via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Have you heard of it? When we first saw it being presented by an entrepreneur on the investment television show Shark Tank, the base ingredients were contained in a jar and to us looked like alien pancakes that, if you opened the jar, would jump out, attach to your face, smother you and inject a parasite into your system.

It looked ugly.

Then we heard her presentation and felt a little better.

Sort of.

On November 19, 2018, the informative site jsonline.com reported, “Madison entrepreneur Kate Field scored a deal Sunday on an episode of ABC’s entrepreneurial pitch competition show “Shark Tank” for her kombucha supply company.

Field started her home-brew kit company, The Kombucha Shop, with $800 in a storage closet in Madison in 2014. Field asked the sharks for $350,000 in exchange for 10 percent equity in her company, which sells kits to brew the fermented tea beverage kombucha at home.”

When samples were passed around, the Sharks initially did not like the taste of the concoction but were reassured it would grow on you.

Oops. Bad choice of words considering our early view point.

Hopefully it will taste better over time and might be worth a try if the research on the ingredients are true.

Let’s start with the basics.

Kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink commonly intended as a functional beverage for its supposed health benefits.

The operative word here is supposed.

Sometimes the beverage is called kombucha tea to distinguish the name from the kombucha culture of bacteria and yeast.

Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) commonly called a mother or mushroom.

The living bacteria are said to be probiotic, one of the reasons for the drink’s popularity.

What does the word probiotic actually mean? We think we know. Pro equals positive. Anyway, here goes.

At times with health related words like these, we often turn to webmd.com. They are exceptional at explaining health related issues. Here they share, “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.”

Good to know. They have a way of simplifying things in easy to understand terms.

The exact origins of kombucha as a drink are not known. It is thought to have originated in the area of Northeastern China, and was traditionally consumed there, but also in Russia and Eastern Europe. Kombucha is now homebrewed in the US, and globally, and is also sold commercially by various companies.

In terms of the benefits, here are the thoughts of many summarized.

Numerous implausible claims have been made for health benefits from drinking kombucha. These include claims for treating AIDS, aging, anorexia, arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, constipation, and diabetes, but there is no evidence to support any of these claims.

The health benefits seem to fall into the too good to be true category.

There have been rare cases of serious adverse effects, including fatalities, from the beverage, possibly arising from contamination during home preparation.

Some researchers conclude the potential harms of drinking kombucha outweigh the unclear benefits, so its use for therapeutic purposes is not recommended.

Besides the taste, is there any other reason to drink this mystery liquid except for the possible therapeutic factor?

The key seems to be in the preparation which maybe should be left to professionals.

What if the claims are true? What are they in simple terms?

As published at healthline.com which actually listed 8 benefits, here are a few that stand out. “Here are the top 8 health benefits of kombucha, based on scientific evidence.

Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria. These bacteria can improve many aspects of health, including digestion, inflammation and even weight loss.

In test-tube studies, kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells due to its high concentration of tea polyphenols and antioxidants (33, 34).”

That sounds promising but they conclude, “However, whether kombucha has any anti-cancer effects in people has not been confirmed. Further studies are needed.”

We thought so.

Our thought is before you purchase this new too good to be true product, you should do your own personal research and consult with a physician. If there is any truth to what is being claimed it could be beneficial because if you are going by taste alone, based upon the expressions on the faces of the Shark Tank team, taste might not be the most attractive motivation.

To be balanced we will visit the home of The Kombucha Shop which made around $1.2 million in sales last year.

Not bad.

fci elite competitor, fciwomenswrestling2.com articles, thekombuchashop.com photo credit

At thekombuchashop.com they share their story. “In 2013, TKS Founder Kate Field discovered her passion for kombucha while working as a culinary and nutrition educator for low-income families in Washington, DC. What began as a side hobby quickly blossomed into an obsession to spread the knowledge and skills of home brewing kombucha.

Unimpressed with the kit options available at the time, Kate knew that with her background, she could make a better kit focused on quality tools and step-by-step instructions. Within a few months, Kate found a small room in a warehouse to rent and started putting together her very first brewing kits. A few years and tens of thousands of kits later, The Kombucha Shop is proud to be one of the largest and most reliable home brew kombucha companies out there today.”

That sounds respectable. We want to know more.

They continue, “Just as in the beginning, we remain steadfast in our commitment to only using organic ingredients in all of our products. We source the highest quality, organic loose leaf teas and sugar possible, and our organic kombucha cultures are hand packaged fresh daily. Each kombucha culture is grown using 100% organic tea, sugar, liquid starter and triple filtered water.”

Thanks for the info.

While we are not sold on using kombucha tea for now, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explore it.

Since it has been used in civilizations for centuries, maybe there is something to its benefits.

Walmart even sells it and states, “The Kombucha Brewing Kit includes the culture, equipment, and all the essentials needed to start brewing your own kombucha at home.”

fci elite competitor, fciwomenswrestling2.com articles, thekombuchashop.com photo credit

Okay. That does speak to credibility and safety but not support of the medicinal claims.

Here is our thinking. If your gut feeling (yes pun intended) is that it sounds too good to be true, we suggest that you do a little more homework before you sip.

~ ~ ~

OPENING PHOTO Shark Tank photo credit via WKOW

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics#1

https://www.thekombuchashop.com/

https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/2018/11/19/madisons-kombucha-shop-scores-shark-tank-deal/2054286002/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-kombucha-tea

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha

https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Kombucha-Shop-Kombucha-Brewing-Kit/143713956

 

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