These Foods Will Give You Similar Health Benefits To Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented and fizzy tea beverage that's been around for thousands of years, originating in Asia. In recent years, it's become incredibly popular, expanding from $1 million in sales in 2014 to $1.8 billion in sales in 2019 (via Market Watch Mag). A big part of kombucha's popularity is due to its perceived status as a superfood and "health" drink (via Forbes), with claims that it can improve diabetes and digestion, help detox the body, strengthen the immune system, and reduce blood pressure (via The New York Times).

Many such claims of health benefits are not actually backed up by existing science. However, there is evidence to support certain claims, including that kombucha is a potential source of probiotics, that it contains tea polyphenols and antioxidants, and that it's antibacterial (via Healthline). Sound great, unless you're in the group — which includes pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with a compromised immune system — who shouldn't consume kombucha due to other health risks (via WebMD). Or perhaps you just don't like the taste of kombucha or can't get past the concept of the slimy SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) that it's brewed from? Is there any other way to obtain those same health benefits?

There are other ways to get the same health benefits

A lot of the proven health benefits to kombucha are due to the fact that it contains probiotics. While kombucha has naturally occurring probiotics from the fermentation process, some kombucha brands add additional probiotics to their beverages (via Healthy Eater). For those looking to benefit from these healthy probiotics and integrate microbes into their diet, there are plenty of alternatives, including many fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and cultured milk products (via The New York Times). Medical News Today provides additional fermented options such as kefir, which may also help lower blood pressure, and miso and tempeh, which may also help fight infections and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, while noting that apple cider vinegar may also help lower cholesterol and control weight.

Kombucha also derives some of its health benefits because it is made from tea, primarily green or black tea. So an easy way to gain those benefits, which include antioxidants and polyphenols, is simply to drink some green tea, the healthiest beverage on the planet (via Business Insider), instead.