Kombucha. It’s so refreshing. It’s super trendy. It looks super gross when it’s not mixed up. What else is there to know? Well, kombucha is a fun drink that holds tons of overall health benefits for women suffering with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
It’s a completely unique beverage people have been drinking for centuries to relieve all sorts of symptoms. Also, despite what you might have heard, it’s not some sort of snake oil fad. There is scientific evidence to back the supposed health benefits of kombucha. As a registered dietitian with PCOS, I do have some input on how I like to incorporate kombucha into my diet.
Today, I am dedicating this post to kombucha! We’ll discuss what it is, how it’s good for you, and how I like to drink it as a woman with POCS! It may be an acquired taste… so, without further ado, let’s talk kombucha:
Is Kombucha Good for PCOS
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is fermented tea and health drink made with sugar, tea, yeast, and bacteria. (The good kind.) Bacteria and yeast create a culture that results in fermentation. So, kombucha does have a low alcohol content. It also means kombucha is rather volatile, and it must be made in the right conditions to be healthy and safe!
Go for store-bought kombucha and avoid making anything at home. This will ensure what you’re drinking helps you and doesn’t hurt you! I should also note that some people have an allergic reaction to the ingredients in kombucha, so try just a little and see how it sits with you before you finish off a glass.
But . . . I know what you’re really asking. What does it taste like? Kombucha is fizzy, tart, and sweet! It tastes similar to sparkling apple cider but is super refreshing. If you like tea, you’ll probably like it! Here are some of the top brands:
Benefits of Kombucha for PCOS
Alright, before I get into the benefits, I do want to say one thing. Kombucha is delicious and nutritious but the drinks are often filled with lots of sugar. When I choose my kombucha, I first select the flavors I like. Then, I choose the one that’s lowest in sugar.
Keep in mind, one bottle often has more than one serving. Don’t be fooled! I like to drink mine at lunch time, so I split one serving of the kombucha between myself and Sirak, my husband. I also fill our glasses with lots of ice (I know it waters it down when it melts but I still enjoy it)…and that’s how I keep my sugar intake at a minimum while enjoying the health benefits of this refreshing fizzy drink!
Okay, now let’s get into the benefits…
Acetic acid is the dominant bacteria in kombucha. This is a good bacteria that is helpful for your gut’s microbiome. You see, your gut is constantly looking to balance its concentration of good and bad bacteria. So, for a healthy gut, you need more positive bacteria like acetic acid to feel good.
To learn more about gut health and PCOS, check out this article and this podcast episode! In both, I break down how poor gut health contributes to a number of PCOS symptoms like fatigue, digestive problems, headaches, weight gain, joint pain, and more.
Fermented tea like kombucha introduces good bacteria to your gut, but it also may help prevent bad bacteria from growing. Yes, it’s truly antimicrobial! Having kombucha in your system is like having black or green tea in your body. It fights against infectious bacteria and yeast.
May improve insulin sensitivity.
Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance. Essentially, our bodies don’t properly process glucose, which causes high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, weight gain, fatigue, and so much more. Unchecked insulin levels could lead to heart disease, so it’s definitely something to address if you’re having problems.
Though kombucha can’t solve all your blood sugar problems, evidence shows that the fermented drink can help increase insulin sensitivity! This means your body can digest carbs slowly and glucose can be properly received by your muscles and organs. Better insulin sensitivity can help with weight loss, fatigue, headaches, cravings, and even reduce the risk of long-term complications of PCOS like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Helps boost mood.
One of the most difficult PCOS symptoms to deal with is its effect on our mental health. In fact, Cysters are 3 times more likely to have anxiety or depression than the average woman. This is partially because of comorbidities that come with PCOS, but it’s also due to our imbalanced hormones.
Guess what? Studies suggest probiotics can help with hormonal imbalances and, therefore, depression! Probiotics increase serotonin to the brain and help reduce inflammation through their healing properties.
Cleanses toxins from the liver.
The liver’s main function is to detoxify our bodies. Toxins in our body cause further imbalances in our adrenal systems by disrupting proper hormone production. Kombucha can help the liver in its detoxification process using glucuronic acid.
Full of beneficial vitamins.
We all need vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body, but women with PCOS need specific nutrient support to really feel like themselves. Kombucha includes a few of these helpful vitamins and nutrients, like antioxidants, vitamin B, and vitamin C. This means kombucha can support fertility, fatigue, blood sugar management, adrenal support, and more!
Fermented foods and drinks like kombucha can help with PCOS symptoms.
Packing your pantry and fridge with PCOS friendly foods is the first step to finding relief from your worst symptoms. But, realizing you need to change your diet and eating habits can feel really overwhelming. What do you eat? What do you drink? When? How?
Seeing all the benefits of kombucha can make you feel you need to start drinking it by the gallon. However, you need more to manage your PCOS than a fermented drink, as healthy as it might be. Also, kombucha contains sugar, which doesn’t mean we can never drink it, but we should be aware of how much we drink.
So, where do you go from here? I know the stress. I was once where you were! That’s why we’ve created the Cysterhood App, a resource for any woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to find a diet and lifestyle that works for them. Not only will you hopefully be able to lose weight with PCOS, but you’ll also get much-needed relief from your symptoms.
So, if you need help finding a way to live with joy and peace despite PCOS, join our community of women fighting the same thing as you. You can begin our program now—there is tons of information on PCOS and how to alleviate your symptoms. We can do this together!