Kombucha​​ Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Kombucha nutritional facts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has surged in popularity in recent years. Many believe kombucha offers health benefits because the fermentation process means it provides probiotics. Kombucha may also have antibacterial properties, but little scientific research exists on kombucha's effect on humans.

Kombucha Nutrition Facts

One 8-ounce (240mL) serving of kombucha provides 29 calories, 0g of protein, 8g of carbohydrates, and 0g of fat. Kombucha is an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, including thiamin and niacin. This nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 29
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 0g

Carbs

One serving of organic kombucha contains approximately 8g carbohydrates, which are mostly made up of sugars; there is no fiber in kombucha. The amount of sugar and carbohydrate in kombucha will differ based on brand and preparation. Some contain fruit juice, which adds sugar.

Fats

A single serving of kombucha contains no fat.

Protein

Kombucha is a low-protein beverage.

Vitamins and Minerals

Like many other tea varieties, kombucha may lack significant nutritional value, but it does have some B-complex vitamins such as thiamin and niacin.

And since kombucha is made with tea, it usually has some caffeine, but the amount can vary. Kombucha can also have trace amounts of alcohol as a result of the fermentation process and contains a variety of phytochemical compounds that come from the tea (and sometimes, juice) used to make the drink.

Calories

The calories in kombucha vary depending on the blend and brand, but overall, it is a low-calorie beverage. One serving of GT's raw organic kombucha has 29 calories, most of which come from carbohydrates.

Health Benefits

Most of the research on kombucha has been done in laboratory settings or on animals, so it's not known if the fermentation products or bacteria have anything to offer humans. Moreover, any health benefits could be due to whatever type of tea is used to make the kombucha. For example, kombucha made with green tea may offer any of the health benefits of green tea.

Improves Digestive Health

Raw kombucha has the potential to be a good source of probiotics, which can be beneficial for digestive health (but some commercial varieties are pasteurized, which essentially kills off the beneficial bacteria as well as the bad). Read the label to see if you're purchasing raw or pasteurized kombucha.

May Fight Illness

Kombucha may contain compounds such as catechins (from the tea) and isorhamnetin (not normally found in tea), which may have antibacterial and antiviral properties. It's possible that drinking kombucha could kill some of the organisms that cause gastroenteritis. More studies are necessary to know for sure.

May Lower Blood Sugar

A 2012 animal study compared black tea to kombucha and measured the beverages' effectiveness in blocking increased blood glucose levels. It found that kombucha tea was more successful at regulating blood sugar.

May Prevent Some Cancers

Another study examined the effects of kombucha on prostate cancer cells and found that it may have a positive impact in decreasing the potential growth of the cells. However, the study was performed on cell lines rather than humans, so further research is needed to validate the findings.

Adverse Effects

You should not take kombucha if you have a compromised immune system or if you take any drugs that are sensitive to stomach pH levels, as the tea is acidic.

People with diabetes should use kombucha cautiously. And people who are sensitive to caffeine may want to exercise caution as well. If raw kombucha is left to ferment, the amount of alcohol can increase almost to the levels found in some beer. That might be a problem for anyone who needs to avoid drinking alcohol.

There have been reports of liver damage and metabolic acidosis in people who drank a large quantity of kombucha in a short period of time, though these patients also had other conditions that made them more susceptible to acidosis.

A daily 4-ounce serving of kombucha should be safe, but if you have any health conditions or if you are pregnant, you should speak to your doctor about whether or not kombucha is safe for you.

Varieties

There are multiple varieties of kombucha available to purchase. They may be made with different types of tea and flavored with additional fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

When It's Best

Kombucha is available year-long in the grocery store. When making your own kombucha, it's best to consume the beverage within one to three months.

Storage and Food Safety

Always refrigerate kombucha, whether it's store-bought or homemade. As long as kombucha is handled properly under sanitary conditions and kept refrigerated, it should be safe for most people to consume.

Raw kombucha always carries the risk of foodborne illness. Pasteurized kombucha is a safer choice because the pasteurization destroys any bad bacteria. Of course, the pasteurization also destroys the good probiotic bacteria.

How to Prepare

You'll find bottled kombucha tea in the natural foods section of most grocery stores as well as in health food stores. Raw kombucha must be kept refrigerated to prevent bacterial growth and to stop the fermentation process.

In order to make kombucha, you'll need a kombucha mother, also known as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast); black, green, or white tea; sugar; and water. Brew the tea, add the sugar, and let it cool. Pour the tea into a jar and add the SCOBY. Keep it in a safe place and wait for it to ferment. Enjoy your tea hot or cold. You can even make kombucha sangria.

Tea, water, and sugar are all easy to find, but what about the SCOBY? You might find them in health food stores and online, and you can also make your own SCOBY from a bottle of kombucha. Many websites offer recipes.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Shereen Lehman, MS
Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker.