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What’s better for you: kombucha or water kefir?

Kombucha and water kefir are both touted for their health benefits but should we be choosing one over the other? ISTOCK

What’s better for you: kombucha or water kefir?

We’re all discovering the amazing health benefits of adding fermented foods to our diets. Rich in probiotics, they can help to improve your gut health and boost your overall immunity. As fermented drinks, kombucha and water kefir are both great options to add to your diet to access these benefits. But is one better for you than the other?

What’s better for you: kombucha or water kefir?

Kombucha

Essentially, kombucha is fermented black or green tea.

It’s full of probiotics that provide your gut with good bacteria, and is also rich in all the powerful antioxidants we generally associate with tea.

Additionally, it contains a range of acids and enzymes that assist with the breaking down of food – meaning it can aid in digestion.

The flavour varies greatly depending on the culturing time and the type of tea used. If it’s only left to ferment for a short while, it can have a mild taste – but if it’s left to ferment for longer period of time, this will lead to a very strong, vinegar-like taste.

Kombucha can also contain caffeine, depending on the tea used.

Tips for making the best kombucha

Water kefir

Unlike regular kefir – which is made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk – water kefir is made by combining sugar water with water kefir grains.

The mixture is then fermented for 24-48 hours, producing a probiotic beverage rich in beneficial bacteria – indeed, the average water kefir has more than 30 strains of bacteria and yeasts.

Its flavour is described as sweet with a flat aftertaste – and being relatively bland, it’s easy to change the taste with additions like vanilla extract, fruit juice, frozen fruit or mint leaves.

Which is better?

Both beverages are rich in beneficial probiotics that put your gut in good shape, and both are great for hydration.

While kombucha seems to have more nutrients like enzymes and antioxidants, water kefir contains a greater number of probiotic bacteria strains.

So which you consume mostly comes down to a matter of taste.

If you are trying to avoid caffeine or can’t quite stomach the strong flavour of kombucha, you may want to opt for water kefir.

Otherwise, give both a try!

Read more:
Probiotics and detox: Five tips to stop feeling bloated all the time
Seven ways to keep your bowels healthy

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