Is hard kombucha the next superfood? It does have some healthy ingredients, but probiotic benefits may be overstated. Learn more about hard kombucha here!
This Friday night, what’s it going to be? A hard drink or a health-conscious choice? Or—bear with us here—why not both? Hard kombucha is a trendy new drink that lots of people are talking about, with new hard kombucha brands popping up everywhere.
But is it really good for you? While it may not be the next superfood, it can be a good alternative to super sugary alcoholic beverages. Read below for the low down on this up-and-coming drink.
Regular kombucha is often called “mushroom tea” even though there aren’t any mushrooms in it. Actually, it’s a fermented mixture of green or black teas, some sugar, yeast, cultured bacteria, and possibly fruit juices to give it extra flavor. It’s the tea and fermentation process that makes it good for you since tea gives you antioxidants while the bacterial cultures offer gut-healthy probiotics.
Hard kombucha is similar...but different. If you’re curious about how to make hard kombucha, the main thing is that the proportions are different. More sugar and yeast produce a higher alcohol content (even virgin kombucha has a tiny amount of alcohol from the fermentation process), plus more time spent fermenting to turn it into an alcoholic beverage.
It’s certainly not the worst thing you can drink! Compared to super sugary drinks like margaritas, hard kombucha probably is the better option because it’ll have fewer calories. However, since most hard kombucha brands are between 85 and 135 calories per serving, calorie-wise, it’s about the same as beer or wine. But—you’ll still be benefitting from some of the nutrients in the tea, and less sugar is always a good thing.
Nutrient-wise, hard kombucha has a lot of vitamins and minerals owing to the tea, bacteria, and yeast content—plus antioxidants from the tea. It also has a lot of acids that are good for you, like acetic, butyric, glucuronic, and lactic. These have a variety of benefits, from making nutrients more accessible and enhancing antioxidant activity to helping with digestion.
And what about the probiotics? Probiotic levels vary among brands and alcohol content. In most, the alcohol content is high enough that very little, if any of the beneficial bacteria are able to survive. As to whether or not that bacteria has much effect on gut health—well, the jury is still out on that, too.
What’s more, there is a body of evidence that shows that alcohol can negatively impact gut flora and reduce biodiversity. This means, healthy nutrients or not, it’s best to enjoy hard kombucha in moderation!
The occasional drink is a great way to unwind—and hard kombucha gives you a lot of great nutrients that other drinks may not have. Before you try it, be sure to check Save for savings and deals on your favorite beverages!