The antioxidant content of a number of popular beverages is compared: black tea, coffee, Coke, espresso, grape juice, green tea, hibiscus (Jamaica flower) tea, milk, Pepsi, Red Bull, red tea, red wine, and white wine. Which beats out even powdered (matcha) green tea?
Custom tea photography thanks to Alicia! Other images thanks to TheCrimsonMonkey, mycola, Leandroid, temmuzcan, FotoJagodka, Renee Comet at the National Cancer Institute, André Karwath aka Aka, KENPEI, Ultratomio, MASA, Sissi Lin, Berthold Werner, Julius Schorzman, 抹茶とお菓子via Wikimedia Commons, Dr. Williams, and Katie from dishindishes.com.
This new data on the antioxidant content of thousands of foods revolutionized the way my family eats. For example, you’ve known me as a veritable green tea fanatic, not because I particularly like it, but because that’s what the science said was the best thing to drink. But that was before 283 beverages were tested. I don't think I could even name 283 beverages. They tested everything from red bull, to crowberry liquor.
Let me pull out a few… Water has zero antioxidants, as does Red Bull. At this scale Pepsi, Coke, and cow’s milk get a 1; glass of white wine; a cup of red tea; … black tea… green tea, red wine—7 times the antioxidant power of white, but neither as good as grape juice. Here's a shot of espresso, a cup of coffee, and matcha tea—tea made out of powdered green tea leaves, which is what I’ve been drinking.
But what is this? What beverage could be better than actually eating green tea leaves? Matcha has met its match. In terms of antioxidant power, the healthiest thing to drink on the planet earth appears to be… hibiscus tea! So like red zinger blows everything else out of the water.
Here’s my latest recipe. Half gallon of water—8 cups, 4 bags of tea in which hibiscus is the first ingredient—I like wild berry zinger, the juice of one lemon, and 3 Tablespoons of erythritol. I just put it in the fridge overnight. No need to heat it; it can just cold brew. In the morning I take out the tea bags, shake it up, and drink throughout the day, every day, all day long.
And as always, extra credit, for green foam: pour a cup of the tea into a blender with a bunch of fresh mint leaves, blend on high, and then pour it back. So you have dark green leafies blended into what may be the highest antioxidant beverage in the world, and it tastes - like fruit punch. Your kids will love it!
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.
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Note the impressive manganese content of hibiscus tea may exceed recommended limits at high intakes, though, so we probably shouldn't drink more than those 4 tea bags a day's worth.
The sweetener I use is erythritol, detailed in Erythritol May Be a Sweet Antioxidant.
Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Check out the other videos on beverages and don't miss all the videos on ranking foods. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!
For some context see my blog posts: Hibiscus tea: flower power, Acai to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankings, Amla: Indian gooseberries vs. cancer, diabetes, and cholesterol, Is Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?, Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year, Treating PMS with Saffron, Hibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage?, and Which Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?