Kombucha is such a popular drink these days. But if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you might want to steer clear of Kombucha. As a fermented beverage, it can have several health benefits for the gut microbiome. So why is it in the “caution” section of the cancer-proof diet roadmap?
Some people can be sensitive to yeast, fungus, and bacteria – even when they are the “good” kind. Drinking beverages with live and active cultures could increase your risk of infection if you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery and your white blood cells counts are low. Because Kombucha has yeast cultures, this can set up an additional risk of contracting a foodborne illness if your white blood cell count is low.
If your white blood cell count is normal, does that mean you should still avoid Kombucha? Even in healthy populations, Kombucha that is brewed improperly can contain anthrax and create some health concerns. If you tend towards yeast infections, SIBO, gas or bloating I would recommend avoiding Kombucha.
So who can drink Kombucha? If you have a healthy digestive system, aren’t prone to yeast infections, and need some fermented foods in your diet Kombucha might be the right fit for you. When I talk about Kombucha with my patients, I recommend a maximum of 1 – 2 servings per week.
Kombucha is a cultured black tea. It is fermented for 7 – 10 days using yeasts and bacteria. Because of the fermentation process, it can be carbonated. The yeast and bacteria use up the sugar in the sweetened tea, leaving a more acidic beverage behind. Kombucha also contains caffeine, sugar, and B-Vitamins. In animal studies, Kombucha may have antibiotic and antioxidant effects.
A down side of Kombucha is that is can commonly get contaminated.
If you like the more vinegar taste of Kombucha, try adding apple cider vinegar to some carbonated water and a tablespoon of juice (or my favorite Fruit Anthocyanin extract for added health benefits).
Here’s a recipe:
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fruit Anthocyanins (Berry Extract) or Fruit Juice
1 – 2 cups carbonated water