Does Kombucha Make You Poop?
Have you ever found yourself asking the question “Does kombucha make you poop?” If so, you’re not alone. It’s becoming a popular question, as more and more individuals look for natural solutions to a common problem, constipation.
The typical American diet and lifestyle leaves little to be desired when it comes to gut health and bowel regularity. Many Americans sit at a desk, behind a computer all day, reaching for convenience and pre-made foods to fuel us through the day.
So naturally, we look for alternatives to help our bodies function the way they are supposed to in order to feel better. While some may turn to products like laxatives and stool softeners, others may desire a more natural approach that can fit into a daily routine, long term.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a natural, non-alcoholic, fermented tea beverage. Kombucha is generally made with green or black tea. Through the fermentation process, this popular beverage derives health promoting benefits as well as its unique taste.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
If you’ve ever tried kombucha, you know that it doesn’t taste like regular tea. For some, the sweet and tart taste is something that you have to get used to. As a Registered Dietitian, I challenge you to consider the term “food as medicine” when deciding if you will include functional foods, such a kombucha, in your diet.
After all, Hypocrites once said “let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food”. I think he was on to something.
One of the main health benefits of drinking kombucha is the effect it has on gut health. Kombucha contains healthy bacteria called probiotics. Introducing these “good” bacteria into your gut on a regular basis helps your gut repopulate with healthy bacteria.
Consuming probiotics can also helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria that re present in your digestive system. In other words, probiotics help improve a condition called dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis is an imbalance in your gut that can lead to constipation, gas, bloating, and other gastrointestinal disturbances. A recent post, Gut Health 101: 9 tips for a Healthy Gut , talks more about the basics of gut health.
While most individuals do not need to follow a gluten free diet, those that do will appreciate the fact that most kombucha is naturally gluten free. A recent post on Eat Love Gut Health dives deep into six popular gluten free kombucha brands that you must try.
Side Effects of Drinking Kombucha
You may be wondering if there are any side effects to drinking kombucha. While kombucha is a natural beverage that is generally recognized at safe, if you aren’t used to consuming fermented, probiotic-rich foods and drinks, you may have mild side effects initially.
When you start introducing probiotic containing foods to your diet, you may want to start with small amounts at first to reduce the likelihood of mild side effects, such as gas and bloating. Then, you can gradually increase your consumption as tolerated.
How Often Should You Poop?
Frequency of bowel movements can vary greatly for everyone. A rule of thumb for bowel regularity in healthy individuals is anywhere from three times per week to three times per day. The NIH defines constipation as having fewer than 3 bowel movements per week.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend an average daily fiber intake of 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. This is a minimum recommendation, so if you feel like this low threshold isn’t enough for you, by all means eat more fiber!
One of my favorite ways to increase fiber in the diet is through smoothies and protein shakes. Registered Dietitian Su-Nui Escobar states that this smoothie for constipation recipe works wonders!
Does Kombucha Make You Poop?
Bowel regularity will never come down to consuming only one food or beverage. Having regular bowel movements is the result of a myriad of diet and lifestyle choices, like activity level, fiber intake , inclusion of functional foods, and drinking enough water.
Having said that, any time you take measures to improve the health of your gut, it’s likely that you are also going to go to the bathroom more regularly. A 2017 study found that when compared to a placebo, giving probiotics significantly improved constipation in the elderly by 10-40%.
So, now to answer your question, “does kombucha make you poop?”. Yes, due to its probiotic properties, kombucha may help you poop. Just remember, drinking kombucha alone will not be enough to maintain and promote bowel regularity.
In addition to the recommendations above, you may also want to experiment with adding other fermented foods to your diet, such as Sauerkraut or Roasted Miso Veggies.
Choosing High Quality Kombucha
In closing, with so many kombucha brands available, how do you decide which one is right for you? Let’s wrap this up with these tried-and-true tips!
- Make sure your kombucha contains gut healthy probiotics by looking for live active cultures on the ingredient list or label.
- Avoid brands that contain artificial sweeteners or flavors.
- Shop Local if possible. My favorite kombucha of all time, Panacea Brewing Co., is made in my hometown. I always opt to support small, local businesses when possible.
- Experiment with different brands and flavors until to find what you prefer. I find that the taste of various kombucha brands varies quite a bit, so find what you love and drink up!
Angela Lago is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and holds a Master’s of Science in Nutrition. She is passionate about researching the connection between gut health and mental wellness. Learn more about Angela’s journey from being depressed, anxious, and sleep deprived to being happy, healthy, and thriving!