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, ,which may elevate antioxidant levels in the bloodstream within an hour, but some liquid supplements containing tropical fruit juices such as noni and mangosteen may be toxic to the liver.

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.

Even light alcohol intake (up to a drink a day) is suspected to promote breast cancer.

We may not be drinking enough fluids, evidenced by the fact that drinking water was found to boost children’s' cognitive performance.

Coffee has also been shown to be relatively health promoting (see also here, here, here) though there are concerns about its effect on coronary artery function and may even help prevent liver cancer.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 minimize include kombucha tea, yerba mate, noni juice, dairy, commercial carrot juice, and soda, which may contain sodium benzoate and caramel coloring which may contribute to cancer risk. 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

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