As someone who suffers from a weak gut, kombucha surprised me.
I never understood the importance of gut health until I became lactose intolerant following a severe bout of food poisoning last year. Once my digestive systems were down, I was falling sick more often and feeling tired and lethargic all the time. But this was also when I started getting really interested in probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help to stabilise your gut and strengthen your immune system. They can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and kombucha.
Since I can’t take dairy or spicy food, I turned to kombucha to get my probiotic fix. (Read about how I became lactose intolerant here.) According to Winnie Ong, fermentation expert and co-founder of local kombucha and kefir makers Craft & Culture, kombucha is a fermented drink brewed with tea, sugar and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). It tastes like something between sparkling apple cider and champagne, depending on the types of teas and sugar used. As the kombucha culture digests the sugar, it produces a range of organic acids like glucuronic acid, gluconic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, vitamins (in particular B vitamins and vitamin C), as well as amino acids and enzymes. And of course, there are all the benefits of the probiotic microorganisms.
Healthy adults are advised to drink one to two bottles of kombucha a day. For those who have recovered from a course of antibiotics or who have a weak gut, it’s best to drink just half a bottle and increase that to one bottle a day gradually.
When I first received my batch of kombucha, I couldn’t wait to try it out and finished a bottle of it in one sitting. I’m a huge fan of the tart, slightly acidic taste (vinegar lover here) and the kombucha from Craft & Culture are honestly delicious. The bad news though, was that a full bottle of kombucha proved to be too much for my sensitive gut to handle. I ended up with bloating and the runs the next day. Upon checking back with Winnie, I’m told that this isn’t unusual for those with poor digestive health (i.e. me).
Kombucha loads your system with good bacteria and this can cause a mini ‘war’ in your gut. The solution? Give your gut time to rest and continue taking probiotics, but in smaller amounts. A few days later, I start sipping only half a bottle of kombucha. To make it easier on my system, I also dilute my kombucha with an equal part of water. This turns out to be the sweet spot for me and is also when the magic starts. Here’s what happened after I drank kombucha daily for two weeks.
I have more energy
I’ve always struggled with clocking quality sleep and oftentimes will wake up groggy and tired despite being in bed for seven or eight hours. I also start feeling sluggish by 3pm when the food coma hits. After drinking kombucha for a week, I notice that I’m more refreshed and alert even if I don’t get enough sleep. Perhaps it’s the dose of B vitamins naturally present in the brew that help to support energy production.
I’m sleeping better
On that note, my Fitbit Alta HR also shows that I’m clocking deeper sleep every night now that I’m a kombucha regular. I can’t find any studies online that support this, but perhaps better gut health just equates to better digestion and, ultimately, better sleep. This is especially interesting since kombucha does contain trace amounts of caffeine (it’s brewed from tea, after all).
My toilet routine became like clockwork
While I don’t struggle with moving my bowels, kombucha just made the whole process a lot faster and smoother. Roughly half an hour after I wake up in the morning, I’ll enjoy toilet time without a hitch. Must be all those probiotics doing their thing.
I experience less bloating and discomfort
Previously, my gut was so sensitive that I started developing a fear of eating out and taking car rides. I just never knew when I’d need to rush to find a toilet should my tummy start churning again. I struggled with a lot of bloating and discomfort, and anything remotely difficult to digest would trigger my stomach. Drinking kombucha regularly seems to have really improved my gut health though. I no longer experience the uncomfortable gas and churning after a meal. More importantly, I hold my food better and usually only have to clear my bowels once – as opposed to five or six times – a day.
After two weeks of drinking kombucha daily, I must admit that I’m now a convert. I love how it tastes and – more importantly – how it makes me feel. In time, I’ll probably up the dosage of kombucha to a bottle a day, but my part-water-part-kombucha solution works great for me at the moment. Give kombucha a try and check out the offerings at Craft & Culture if you’re looking to improve your digestive health. After all, a healthy gut is the cornerstone of a healthy body!