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The Beverage Guidance Panel, including Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard University School of Public Health, provided recommendations on the benefits and risks of different beverages. The experts ranked beverage categories on a six-tier scale from best to worst. Soda ranked last, and whole milk, which was grouped with beer, was given a recommendation for zero ounces a day. Tea and coffee—preferably without creamer or sweetener—tied as the number-two healthiest beverages, second only to water, the top-ranked drink.

Black, green, and white teas are all made from the leaves of the same evergreen shrub. Herbal tea, on the other hand, involves pouring hot water over any plant in the world other than the tea plant.

Phytonutrients exclusive to the tea plant appear so powerful they can reverse disease even when merely applied to the skin. Green tea may play a role in breast cancer prevention, and drinking tea may also protect against gynecological malignancies, such as ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer, as well as lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body fat. It may protect the brain from both cognitive decline and stroke, and is also associated with decreased risk of diabetes, tooth loss, and up to half the risk of dying from pneumonia.

Both white and green teas are less processed than black tea and are probably preferable. White tea is made from young leaves and is named after the silvery-white hairs on the immature buds; green tea is made from more mature leaves.

In terms of cancer prevention potential, both green and white teas have been shown to protect against DNA damage in vitro against PhIP, the cooked-meat carcinogen. White tea blocked upward of 100 percent of DNA damage compared to green tea, which at the same concentration only blocked about half.

The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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