The new dietary guidelines and other studies on healthy beverages (see also here and here) show that beverages can be a rich source of nutrients in the diet. In Asia, for example, green tea consumption may help explain comparatively low lung cancer and heart disease rates given the level of smoking. Tea is a great low calorie source of nutrients that may also help increase brain activity (see also here). Healthy herbal teas include tulsi, osmanthus, dandelion, and hibiscus.

Cold water steeping of tea may actually lead to higher nutrient concentrations. Matcha tea (made from powdered tea leaves) is another excellent option. Avoid adding milk to tea to maximize nutrient absorption. 10 cups of tea a day is probably the safe upper limit. Some other interesting comparisons: earl gray vs. black tea, green vs. white tea, coffee vs. tea, and bottled vs. tap water.

Coffee has also been shown to be health promoting (see also here, here, here). Beet juice has been found to significantly improve sports performance (see also here, here, here, here and here). Soymilk positively influences timing of puberty in girls and appears equal to cow’s milk in terms of calcium absorption (as long as you shake it). Drinks to avoid include kombucha tea, yerba mate, noni juice, dairy, commercial carrot juice, and soda, which may contain sodium benzoate. The media often bombards us with messages about what we should or shouldn’t eat or drink so awareness of the source of funding and how it impacts the results of scientific findings is important.

See also the related blog post: Hibiscus tea: flower power

Topic summary contributed by Jason Itle-Clark.
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