Sometimes, being a woman isn’t easy — and there’s no better reminder of that fact than experiencing symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. This inevitable transition is something we all go through; but while it might be a natural process, it’s also exceedingly uncomfortable at times. The good news is, there may be some simple and delicious ways to make the transition a little less difficult: and one of them is sipping on kombucha. We asked some experts whether this fizzy, tangy beverage can indeed make your journey through menopause easier — and how.
What is kombucha?
You may have seen this glass bottled drink in the health section of your local grocery store. It isn’t cheap, but many consider the price to be worth it. Kombucha is fermented tea, likely originating as a health elixir in ancient China; its high probiotic content makes it good for digestion and overall wellness. It spread throughout Asia and Europe via trade, and became a popular health drink in 1960s Switzerland. By the 2000s, kombucha became a widely distributed product in the US.
Kombucha is bubbly, effervescent, and often comes in herbal or fruit flavors. Regardless of flavor, it usually tastes tart or slightly vinegary. Due to the fermentation, it’s also lightly alcoholic — but commercially-produced kombucha doesn’t contain enough booze to be classified as an alcoholic beverage, since it must be under 0.5% ABV to be sold in stores. If you want a higher proof ‘buch, you can purchase “hard kombucha,” like the kind from Kombucha Cocktails. (I recommend the Mindful Mule flavor.)
Normal kombucha doesn’t have a lot of alcohol, but what it does have is gut-healthy yeast and bacteria. In fact, VeryWellFit says it has about 10 billion colony-forming units, or CFU, per gram. You can brew your own kombucha at home, but because kombucha is fermented and full of bacteria, it’s safer to consume commercially sold brands that are made in highly sterile environments. If you’re looking for a refreshing boost of probiotics, kombucha is your best bet.
Can kombucha make menopause easier?
It’s not always fun when your body is undergoing dramatic hormonal changes. There are a lot of ways to cope with the discomfort of perimenopause and menopause, and kombucha may be one of them. There is limited research on the specific connection between kombucha and menopause — but its documented health benefits may correspond with some common symptoms, and drinking it may therefore make your transition a little smoother. We asked some experts for the facts on how kombucha can help you deal with menopause symptoms.
It may help ease gas and gut discomfort
During menopause, a decrease in certain hormones can affect the speed at which your body digests food, which can cause some uncomfortable (and potentially embarrassing) tummy troubles — including gas, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and indigestion, says Orlando Health. But because kombucha is so rich in bacteria that’s good for your gut, it can aid in digestion, while also giving you a boost of energy, according to Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet. She notes that it’s best to consume it during mid-day when you have food in your system already and could benefit from the energy boost.
“Kombucha can be highly beneficial for women who struggle with constipation and bloating,” adds registered dietitian and menopause expert Dr. Su-Nui Escobar. “The probiotics in kombucha may improve stool consistency, gut transit time, and bowel movement frequency.” If menopause is causing you gut grief, a swig or two of kombucha might just help you feel better!
It may lift your mood and fight brain fog
Some of the most difficult menopause symptoms are the ones that happen inside our minds. Hormones like estrogen fluctuate wildly during this time, which impacts serotonin production, leading to mood swings. These changes, paired with a lack of sleep, can lead to anxiety, depression, and brain fog.
“There is a connection between the gut and the brain known as the gut-brain axis,” says Richards. “This means that the health of the gut can have an impact on the brain and nervous system.” Kombucha, which is rich in probiotics, benefits your gut and your brain. Dr. Escobar adds that, due to the gut-axis connection, the probiotics in kombucha can likely help balance moods, fight menopausal depression, and assist in clearing up brain fog and fatigue.
It may help with hot flashes and night sweats
If menopause is causing you to feel uncomfortably hot, sweaty, and anxious at random moments or throughout the night when you’re trying to sleep, you’re far from alone. Hot flashes and night sweats are a common symptom of menopause and are caused by fluctuations in hormones that make it harder for your brain to regulate temperature.
If you’re dealing with this discomfort, kombucha may help, says Dr. Escobar. She notes that probiotics can help reduce the instance of night sweats and hot flashes. Richards adds that fermented foods like kombucha can also reduce the severity of hot flashes when they do occur. If you’re experiencing an overwhelming amount of night sweats and hot flashes, or if they are interfering with your daily life, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Things To Consider
Before you make kombucha a regular part of your diet, there are some important caveats to keep in mind. Dr. Escobar notes that it’s best to enjoy kombucha in moderation and along with plenty of water — because drinking too much of it can cause stomach upset and gas. If you have sensitivities to caffeine or alcohol, avoid consumption, since kombucha contains some of both.
If you’re struggling with the symptoms of menopause or peri-menopause, don’t feel discouraged. Grab a glass of kombucha and your favorite snack and take a deep breath — you’ve got this!
For more on the health benefits of kombucha:
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.