I have a borderline dangerous addiction to kombucha (it’s about $4 a bottle, which adds up REAL fast), but whenever I drink it, I find myself thinking: is this the right time to be drinking kombucha?
So, I decided to find out by asking the pros. All three of these doctors are experts in their fields, and they dropped some great insight on the best time of day to drink the booch.
Holistic Medicine Practitioner Dr. Bindiya Ghandi says:
I am a big fan of kombucha due to its numerous healthy benefits.
It’s great for helping increase diversity of gut bacteria, which overall helps with your immune stem, detoxification, digestion and energy.
Kombucha is made of fermented black tea and sugar made of symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This vinegary drink is full of b vitamins along with healthy probiotics, minerals and enzymes, and is usually low in calories.
It’s great to drink before meals to aid in digestion. Also, drinking kombucha before your meals can help with maintenance of weight or even weight loss. In Ayurveda, sour and acidic foods usually curb your appetite. You can get full off of it, so I don’t recommend drinking too much with your meal, otherwise you won’t get the nutrients you need from your meal.
You can try drinking it in the morning to help with low energy due to the little caffeine content, but be mindful of the alcohol content. You can experiment and see how you feel before a workout, but it may be better to just stay hydrated with water instead.
I would caution avoiding drinking it before bed time due to the caffeine content. Although it may be helpful for some, those that are sensitive can have a negative effect.
My only caution on kombucha is telling moms to be and breastfeeding moms to avoid it because it does contain a small amount of alcohol and caffeine. Also when brewed at home, be careful because of the bacterial content and if not pasteurized correctly, it increases risk of contamination and unhealthy bacteria. It’s also acetic, so just like soda, too much of it can affect your tooth enamel.
Gut Health Specialist Dr. Megan Rossi says:
If you are sensitive to caffeine, then it’s best to avoid kombucha before bed, remembering that kombucha is made using green and black tea– both of which contain caffeine.
Having kombucha on an empty stomach may mean the microbes (bacteria & yeast) are exposed to the acidic environment for a shorter timeframe, which means more microbes may make it into your large intestine (a good thing). Since the stomach emptying is delayed after a large meal, having kombucha with a heavy meal may expose the microbes to the acid for longer, thereby killing them (a bad thing).
So I like to take my kombucha alongside my morning tub of full-fat Greek yoghurt.
Integrative Health Expert Dr. Taz Bhatia says:
Kombucha is rich in probiotics and helps balance the bacteria in your belly and cleans the liver. The best time to drink Kombucha is midday to help with digestion and to keep energy soaring. First thing in the morning could be harsh on the gut.
- If you want it to aid in digestion, drink before meals
- If you want to maximize the amount of microbes (healthy bacteria) making it to the large intestine, drink it on an empty stomach.
- Don’t drink before bed if you are sensitive to caffeine
HUGE thank you to the Dr. Bindiya, Dr. Megan, and Dr. Taz for their contributions to this article. Learn more about them below:
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an American Board Family Medicine Certified Physician who completed her family medicine training from Georgia Regents University/Medical College of Georgia June 2014. She completed her undergraduate training at the University of Georgia with Bachelors of Science in Biology and Psychology in 2004 and her Doctor of Medicine at American University of Antigua College of Medicine in 2010. She just completed an Integrative medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona with Dr. Andrew Weil. She is also currently working on her Functional Medicine Training with the Institute of Functional Medicine.
Her interests include integrative, holistic and functional medicine, women’s health, preventative medicine, international medicine and health care reform. She’s also a certified yoga instructor and reiki master. She enjoys writing and educating everyone on important health matters and has a blog at www.drbindiyamd.com
Dr Megan Rossi is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a PhD in the area of gut health from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Queensland, Australia. Megan’s research has also attracted the attention outside academia being selected as one of nine international female success stories by Cosmopolitan.
Megan currently works as a Research Associate at King’s College London investigating nutrition-based therapies in gut health. Megan is also an Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland, representative on several boards at King’s College London and is working with Leon Restaurants to launch a Nationwide gut health campaign. Megan also leads a specialist gut health clinic on Harley Street London.
Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, MD (Dr. Taz) is a nationally recognized physician specializing in integrative and functional medicine. Founder of CentreSpringMD, an acupuncturist and nutrition specialist, she is an expert in women’s health and family wellness. Her expansive medical career includes over a decade in emergency medicine, pediatrics and prevention. She is the author of “Super Woman Rx,” “What Doctors Eat,” “The 21 Day Belly Fix” and host of The Dr. Taz Show and Kitchen Cures. She has served as a medical expert for many media outlets including the Today show, Dr. Oz Show, CNN, and LIVE with Kelly & Ryan.