Healthy Living

Water Kefir vs. Kombucha: Which Is Better?

Water kefir and kombucha are both produced from the fermentation of symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) with sugary liquids. Both health drinks promote good gut health. The difference lies in the fact that kombucha is the result of fermenting sweetened tea as the main ingredient, while water kefir is the fermentation of kefir grains in a sugary liquid, juice or coconut water for 24 to 48 hours. 

In terms of the taste, kombucha has an effervescent and pungent taste like apple cider vinegar with fizz. However, kefir has a subtle taste, which is less sour and sweet. Compared to unhealthy drinks available in the market, the mentioned products are on the healthier side. But which is better? Here are some reasons to choose kefir over kombucha. 

Zero Alcohol in Kefir

Kombucha contains less than 0.5 percent of alcohol in nationally distributed products, but it can still put off people who take great pains to remain a 100 percent sober. On the other hand, water kefir is 100 percent alcohol-free and is a boon to recovering alcoholics. 

Kefir Is a Good Probiotic Supplement

Kefir contains more lactic acid bacteria when made from milk, which not only helps in easier fermentation, but also serves as a probiotic. Kombucha also helps maintain gut health. However, its capacity is limited to that of a digestive aid. 

Kefir Has Less Sugar Than Kombucha

Several manufacturing companies are increasingly adding more sugar and artificial sweeteners to kombucha. Even ready-made water kefir has added sugar, hence the only way to be sure is to make water kefir at home with a few ingredients and less sugar. To be on safe side, dietitians advise sticking to four to six grams of sugar per cup. 

Milk Kefir Contains Calcium

Since kombucha is made from tea, it contains caffeine, which is not present in kefir, therefore making it more healthy. In fact, kefir fermented with milk contains a healthy amount of calcium. However, kefir contains less lactose than milk since the milk sugars are condensed into smaller particles during fermentation. Hence, kefir is not harmful to people with lactose intolerance. 

Kefir A general view of kefir at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2011 at Lincoln Center on February 13, 2011 in New York City. Kefir is among the ingredients in a probiotics diet that improves digestive health. Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for IMG/Getty Images

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