The Healthiest Beverage

The Healthiest Beverage
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Drinking five cups of green tea every day may extend one’s lifespan.

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So, no Herbalife, no noni juice. There is a beverage, other than water, I do encourage everyone to drink everyday, though, and that is tea. This year, a review was published on the antibacterial, antitoxin, antiviral, and antifungal activities of tea. What more could we want? Anticancer? Done. We conclude that the regular consumption of green tea can protect against cancer. What else could we ask for? How about anti-death? Tea has got that too! Reduced all-cause mortality. Drink green tea everyday, and live, on average, a longer life. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since, after all, it’s just dark green leafies in water.

I know what some people may be thinking, though. Rather than drink the five cups a day it may take to extend one’s life, if it’s so good for you, I’ll just take some green tea extract pills. Certainly lots to choose from. Not a good idea. Why was there a study about green tea extract pills in the journal Liver Transplantation? Because of the acute liver failure induced by green tea extract.

Five cups of tea isn’t that much. It’s really just one pot of tea. 40 ounces is the size of a typical drinking bottle—less than a Super Big Gulp. 40 ounces is, frankly, 40 ounces. And no, I’m not saying you should drink 40 ounces everyday.

There are now dozens of flavored green teas on the market if you don’t like the taste of it straight. Just don’t put cow’s milk in it. This year from the British Nutrition Foundation: “Does adding milk remove the benefits of your daily cuppa” tea? The answer is yes. It seems that cow proteins bind up all the good phytonutrients. None of the soy, rice, or nut proteins in plant-based milks have that same nutrition-cancelling effect.

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 veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

So, no Herbalife, no noni juice. There is a beverage, other than water, I do encourage everyone to drink everyday, though, and that is tea. This year, a review was published on the antibacterial, antitoxin, antiviral, and antifungal activities of tea. What more could we want? Anticancer? Done. We conclude that the regular consumption of green tea can protect against cancer. What else could we ask for? How about anti-death? Tea has got that too! Reduced all-cause mortality. Drink green tea everyday, and live, on average, a longer life. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since, after all, it’s just dark green leafies in water.

I know what some people may be thinking, though. Rather than drink the five cups a day it may take to extend one’s life, if it’s so good for you, I’ll just take some green tea extract pills. Certainly lots to choose from. Not a good idea. Why was there a study about green tea extract pills in the journal Liver Transplantation? Because of the acute liver failure induced by green tea extract.

Five cups of tea isn’t that much. It’s really just one pot of tea. 40 ounces is the size of a typical drinking bottle—less than a Super Big Gulp. 40 ounces is, frankly, 40 ounces. And no, I’m not saying you should drink 40 ounces everyday.

There are now dozens of flavored green teas on the market if you don’t like the taste of it straight. Just don’t put cow’s milk in it. This year from the British Nutrition Foundation: “Does adding milk remove the benefits of your daily cuppa” tea? The answer is yes. It seems that cow proteins bind up all the good phytonutrients. None of the soy, rice, or nut proteins in plant-based milks have that same nutrition-cancelling effect.

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 veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

More on green tea’s wide range of health benefits:

And check out the other videos on green tea

Also check out my blog posts: Hibiscus tea: flower power and Coffee Caveats.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

34 responses to “The Healthiest Beverage

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    1. The amount of caffeine in green tea depends on the type of tea and the duration of brewing the tea. You can reduce the caffeine content of green tea by using these following steps for brewing tea:
      1. Use the leaves rather than tea bags which have higher caffeine content. Also tea bags generally have poor favor compared to the leaves.
      2. Boil the tea for 5minutes and throw away the first infusion, use the second or third infusion which reduces the caffeine content as much as 80%.
      3. Another method is to cut the amount of tea leaves used for per serving by ½.
      4. It is thought that the effects of caffeine in green tea can be reduced by drinking it hot. Some of the components in green tea reduce the activities of caffeine i.e. ctechine and theanine which combine with caffeine while brewing, on cooling these components break down and the caffeine becomes active.




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      1. I am skeptical that the bagged tea has a higher caffeine content, unless you are saying you get a higher dosage with bagged tea. I have also heard that using bagged tea cuts down on teeth staining a little.

        I wonder if you lose a lot of benefits of tea when you throw away the first infusion.

        My solution is just to drink my caffeinated tea before 2 PM (and my coffee before 11 AM). There are some people that won’t work for, but I suspect it’s a small minority.




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  1. I have just been introduced to a product that is a combination of green tea and ganoderma (a red mushroom). It also comes mixed with coffee. I was wondering if you have seen amy research on ganoderma. Thank you so much for this website. It is wonderful!




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    1. I’m so glad you’re finding the website useful! Ganoderma lucidum is more commonly known as the reishi mushroom, one of the oldest known fungi used medicinally. According to the latest review on the subject, there are remarkably few clinical studies on its use despite its popularity throughout East Asia. It does appear to have beneficial immunomodulatory effects in cancer patients but without endpoint data (such as survival and remission rates), case reports with names like Fatal Fulminant Hepatitis Associated With Ganoderma would argue against drinking it in your coffee until we know more. The healthiest thing to drink is likely green tea, We have good evidence of its benefits and, as a bonus, no fatal side-effects!




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  2. Based on one of your other videos, i now cold brew 2 quarts (first quart regular, 2nd quart decaf) of green tea overnight to enjoy the next day. I start with the first quart straight off every AM. (I plan to get some white tea when the green is all gone.) And based on the amyloid and apple juice video, I also grate in a generous amount of fresh ginger. I hope you can continue to research and share all the important new nutritional information that’s out there! Thank you! Thank you!




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  3. I read the article by the BNF. In it they described 3 studies showing positive associations of milk effecting tea [i.e. antioxidant benefit], and then contrasted them with 4 studies which showed no effect of milk on tea, concluding there are no recommendations and the area needs further research. I really like this website, but I hate cherry-picking. Just state all the info and let people decide for themselves.




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  4. The green tea that I drink each day is loose premium tea. The instructions state that the tea may be steeped multiple times, so although I drink 5 cups/day, it’s usually from one batch of tea leaves. I do drink a cup of matcha 1st thing each morning, but the rest of the day is steeped green tea. Should I start with fresh tea leaves every cup or every other cup to get the greatest health benefits?




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  5. Hi Hunniliz, Since you are extracting antioxidants with each brew the amount you get with each subsequent steep would be less(all things else being equal such as brewing time… green tea not affected like other teas by temperatures.. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cold-steeping-green-tea so fresh tea leaves with each cup would give you more antioxidants. However since you drink a cup of matcha which contains much more antioxidants then standard green tea you are getting a good amount of antioxidants. You can increase the absorption of antioxidants by adding a squeeze of citrus(http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/green-tea-vs-white/), don’t add soy milk(http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/soymilk-suppression/ ) and for variety you might want to consider chai(http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/the-healthiest-beverage-2/).




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  6. Is there any evidence that the paper bags used to hold tea leaves are harmful? I mean is there some processing product like bleach on the paper that could be harmful?




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  7. Karen LaVine, Sounds good. I have an old Champion juicer so juiced a pound of organic ginger and got about a cup of THE most potent/concentrated ginger juice imaginable. I’d say it’s about 3 times as potent as the GingerPeople brand in a bottle. Current recipe —
    2 cups organic green and/or white tea, caff or decaff
    2 cups almost boiling water; after steeping, add
    2 teaspoons fresh organic ginger juice,
    stevia or honey or other sweetener to taste,
    lemon, either a quarter of a big Meyer lemon or other lemon, juiced into the mix; add the chopped zest if you can.
    Stir, drink hot in the morning. Yum, it’s a 2-yr habit already.
    Wish I could afford organic matcha. Do if you can.




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    1. Hi Joel – I’m a newbie to using loose leaf tea. Where do you buy yours (is there a good on-line source?) and how, specifically, do you filter the concoction so that you aren’t picking tea leaves from your teeth? Thanks!




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  8. Isn’t that amount of caffeine bad for you? I have quit most caffinated drinks due to the studies on caffeine, the negative of the caffeine outweighs the good of green tea doesn’t it?




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    1. Decaf green tea has undergone one of several processes for taking the caffeine out of the drink. Since it removes caffeine it could potentially remove other substances from the tea plus could add some substances. A quick pub med search didn’t turn up in studies on showing the removal of antioxidant materials although it did show a study by Chan et al in 1996 in Caries Res which showed an increase in fluoride in decaf vs regular tea. See the video on overdosing on green tea…. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/overdosing-on-tea/ which Dr. Greger recommends not exceeding 10 per day. Since there is increased fluoride in decaf green tea it would seem logical to lower that recommendation. Of course there are other teas which are healthy and don’t contain any caffeine (decaf still contains some caffeine) see… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-healthiest-herbal-tea/ where dandelion came out on top. So maybe variety is the key. Still tea seems to be the healthiest drink including my drink of choice when traveling by airplane…. see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/healthiest-airplane-beverage-2/ and oh yes add a wedge of lime with your order to increase antioxidant absorption… they usually won’t have lemon wedges in my experience.




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  9. Neil Barnard, MD, in his new book Power Foods For The Brain, writes,”Minimize your use of tea. The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) draws minerals from the soil, and aluminium tends to concentrate in the leaves.”
    I’m a holistic life coach and I used to recommend to my clients to drink generous amount of green tea daily untill I read about the aluminium in tea leaves.
    I love green tea and haven’t stopped drinking it but I’m confused about recommending it to my clients. I greatly appreciate to hear your opinion about the aluminium in green tea.




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  10. I note that in your “healthiest vegetable, beverage etc. video
    series you base your assessment solely on anti-oxidant content. Is
    that the best criterion for determining health? What about the multitude of phytonutrients for example?




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  11. It says that the protein in cow’s milk cancels out the beneficial effects of green tea – would soya milk do the same? Or other non-dairy milks like nut, hemp or rice milk?




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  12. hi im liz
    i am detoxing off F1 nutrition meal replacement shakes and my GP has booked me in for a blood test next wednesday, any tips to detox safely?




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  13. Dr. Greger, I am concerned about adding soymilk to my Green tea. In one video, you explained that both cow milk and soymilk bind up the beneficial phytonutrient effects of tea. And at the end of the video, the-healthiest-beverage, you say that soymilk doesn’t have the same negative effect of binding up the good phytonutrients effect that cow’s milk has. Which one is correct? And thank you so much for making nutrition research available to the public. What a great gift!




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  14. Green tea is very high in oxalates. Also tea can get moldy. If you think about it, it is dried and then bagged and it can be a year before someone drinks it. Also, the green tea coming out of Japan was testing postive for radiation contamination. The president of Japan made small children go to a tea growing plant and drink the tea to show it is safe. I’m not buying it.




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    1. Thanks for your question Miki,

      According to this publication:

      Matcha and regular green tea both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to China.

      “Matcha is grown in 90% shade, whereas green teas are usually grown in bright sunlight [17]. As a result, the amount of catechins available from matcha are expected to be different than catechin levels from other green teas as sunlight affects the composition and concentrations of catechins present in the tea leaves”

      Hope this answer helps.




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