Kombucha is a unique drink made up of a lot of weird looking, yet at the same time healthy and tasty, ingredients that most people don’t know much about. One of those ingredients is yeast.
The most common type of yeast in kombucha is Saccharomyces. This yeast plays an important role in producing the CO2, alcohol, and healthy acids in kombucha that are essential for its fermentation, carbonation, and flavor. This type of yeast has been found to be high in vitamin B, reduce risk of diarrhea, and lower the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics.
In this article I’ll walk through what yeast is, its role in kombucha, what types of yeast are in kombucha, the health benefits and risks of these yeast, and more! Let’s get started!
What is Kombucha
Kombucha is a carbonated and flavored probiotic drink made from fermented tea that has become quite popular in recent years due to its great taste and many health benefits such as improved digestion and gut health, detoxification, and immune system strengthening.
What is Yeast and Why is it in Kombucha?
Yeast is a type of fungus, like mold and mushrooms, and can be used to make bread, beer, wine, kombucha and more.
The yeast in kombucha is part of the SCOBY. If you don't already know, SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast and is a living community of bacteria and yeast that ferments the sweet tea that kombucha starts as, into sour and probiotic filled kombucha.
The brown/tan stringy stuff that you see floating around or sometimes settled at the bottom of your kombucha bottle is the yeast.
Sometimes people try to scoop out or avoid drinking the yeast in kombucha because it looks weird, but drinking it is actually good for you. I’ll talk more about the health effects of yeast a little later in the article.
Other than providing health benefits, yeast plays an important role in producing the CO2, alcohol and healthy acids in kombucha that are essential for its fermentation, carbonation, and flavor.
What Kinds of Yeast are in Kombucha
Every kombucha culture or SCOBY is unique and will have different types and amounts of bacteria and yeast in it. But a few yeast strains that have been found to consistently be in kombucha are:
Saccharomyces - The most common type of yeast in kombucha
Brettanomyces - Produce alcohol and acetic acid
Zygosaccharomyces - Produce alcohol and create carbonation
Health Benefits of Yeast
The biggest and most researched health benefit of yeast is that it can improve the health of your digestive tract, reducing your risk of:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Clostridium difficile colitis (inflammation of the colon)
Yeast is also super high in vitamin B, which helps prevent infections and promotes good brain function, eyesight, energy levels, and muscle tone.
Some studies have even found the GTF (glucose tolerance factor) in saccharomyces, the most common type of yeast in kombucha, to mimic the effects of insulin and decrease blood sugar in type 2 diabetics.
Potential Health Risks of Yeast
As long as you’re not allergic to candida, mold, or yeast and do not have a condition such as kidney stones, gout, eczema, or an impaired immune system, any negative reaction you have to yeast should be mild.
Mild negative reactions to yeast can include
Migraine like headaches
If you’re worried about whether or not you should eat or drink yeast, talk to your doctor to find out if it’s safe for you.
Can Kombucha Give you a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection, also known as candida or candidiasis, is a fungal infection that is caused by a yeast called candida.
A small amount of candida is always in our bodies, and normally the healthy bacteria in our body keep the candida under control. But if our body does not have enough healthy bacteria, candida can grow out of control, causing an infection in the mouth, throat, gut, or vagina.
Because kombucha has a lot of yeast in it, some people speculate that if you drink too much of it you could cause a yeast infection. The truth is that kombucha does not have any of the types of yeast that belong to the candida family, and as I said above, candida is the type of yeast that causes a yeast infection.
In fact, kombucha may actually help prevent yeast infections by keeping your body well supplied with healthy bacteria that will compete with the candida for space.
If you want to learn more about how kombucha helps and hurts candida infections, you can check out the article I wrote on it here.
Although it looks gross, kombucha yeast is super important in the fermentation, carbonation, flavor and health benefits of the drink.
Unless you’re part of an at risk group, drinking the yeast in kombucha is an efficient and tasty way to get a high amount of B vitamins, possibly improve your digestive function, get a boost of energy, reduce your blood sugar and more!
So you may want to think twice before avoiding those weird looking strings in your booch from now on.
If you want to learn more about kombucha, how it relates to your health, and even how to brew it yourself, be sure to check out the rest of my website! Have a good day!