Healthy drinks: do any achieve what they claim?

health drinksCC: Katherine Sousa at Unsplash

Does the thought of sipping on alkaline water conjure any cravings? Or, perhaps you’d like to quench your thirst with kombucha?

True to the world of modern fitness fads, health drinks are everywhere. While some claim to neutralize your blood’s pH, others aim to balance your gut bacteria. Before you head to your nearest health store to make an investment, let’s explore various drinks and the claims behind them.

Kombucha: does it improve your gut bacteria?

As a fermented drink, kombucha’s popularity has soared in recent years. It’s mildly fizzy, it has a sweet taste, and it’s touted as being one of the best ways to improve your gut bacteria.

It’s no big secret that fermented products, in general, can balance your gut’s bacteria. According to experts from the University of Massachusetts, the live bacteria in fermented food and drink bring balance. And why should you balance your gut health? In addition to gaining more energy, you experience greater mental wellbeing and reduce your risk of autoimmune disorders.

As for kombucha specifically, there are no studies looking exclusively at the drink. But if the kombucha you’re sipping claims to have a lot of live bacteria in it, it’s worth trying. Ideally, you’ll choose one with a longer fermentation period to boost the health benefits. If you don’t like the taste, try switching to one with a different flavor.

Alkaline water: does it balance your gut pH?

Alkaline water is precisely what it sounds like; water with a higher pH level than normal. As anybody with a bit of basic medical knowledge knows, acidic blood is bad. Physicians up and down the country examine blood pH as a marker of health (and impending disaster) in many medical scenarios.

Those who adore alkaline water believe it keeps your blood pH in check. They also claim that it lowers your blood pressure and supports your kidneys. For those who routinely battle hangovers on a Saturday morning, it’s a miracle cure.

So, how does science measure up? The claims behind alkaline water stem from a diet book that was written based on the acid-ash hypothesis. According to the acid-ash hypothesis, eating and drinking certain foods raises the acid levels in your body. By prioritizing high-alkaline products, you can undo those harms. Although there are a few poorly designed studies propping up these claims, there’s no solid evidence supporting them yet. But if you’re going to choose a bottle of water over a glass of Pinot Grigio, you’re not doing any harm to yourself.

Aloe vera juice: healthier-looking skin

Few of us would turn away the opportunity to enjoy healthy-looking skin. One way to achieve it (apparently) is by drinking aloe vera juice.

Although applying topical aloe vera has a strong relationship with better skin, will aloe vera juice achieve the same aims? It’s rich in vitamin C, which is an essential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also gets your digestive system moving (dramatically so, if you drink too much). With a smoother digestive system, you may banish some toxins.

The overall verdict? Aloe vera juice could prove useful in defeating your skin woes. But much like kombucha and alkaline water, you shouldn’t lean on it as a panacea if you’re an otherwise unhealthy person.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.