Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coffee, Tea. . . or Kombucha?

You probably don’t hear that lineup often—coffee, tea and kombucha—but you might be surprised at how each of these can actually be good for you. Here’s an overview of each, with a few caveats on how you should enjoy them:

Coffee: If you didn’t know it already, coffee can be extremely healthy for you—in everything from lowering your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, while supporting brain health, liver health and much more, according to studies from the Mayo Clinic, the Harvard School of Public Health and other sources.

There are some “coffee caveats,” however.  In order to enjoy the full health benefits coffee can offer, make wise choices when it comes to drinking coffee. For instance, use freshly ground organic coffee beans; be careful to not overdo it with your creamer—and choose organic cream when you do use it; avoid the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup; and skip the lines at your fast food outlet and local or multi-national coffee houses.

So, go ahead and enjoy that cup of Joe. A myriad of health benefits await you.  You can learn more about coffee’s benefits here.

Tea: Studies indicate that some teas are antimicrobial, can help fight cancer, heart disease and diabetes, while encouraging weight loss, lowering cholesterol and boosting mental alertness.  “There doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D., L.D. “It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea—their flavonoids—are good for the heart and may reduce cancer.”

Teas to enjoy include green tea, black tea and oolong tea. These all come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which contains unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of the flavonoids is ECGC, which protects against free radical damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease and clogged arteries.  You can also enjoy Rooibos (red tea), a South African herb that is fermented. It, too, is packed with cancer-fighting flavonoids.

Tea is also best consumed as purely as possible, so avoid all the unhealthy sugars and fats. Want to find out more about tea’s benefits? Check this out.

Kombucha: Like other good-for-you fermented foods and beverages, kombucha—a fermented, sweetened tea—is usually made from either black or green tea. Depending on the brand and how it’s made, kombucha is typically packed with gut-friendly probiotics and enzymes as well as B vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols.

Kombucha also contains glucuronic acid, which is what the liver makes to detoxify the body.  In fact, the glucuronic acid the liver makes serves to bind up environmental and metabolic bodily toxins and rushes them to the excretory system, where the body rids itself of them. The friendly bacteria found in kombucha generally belong to the genus Acetobacter, known for its ability to oxidize sugars or alcohols, making kombucha naturally low in sugar content.

You can read more about kombucha’s health benefits by clicking here.

So, if you’re asked, “Coffee, tea or kombucha?”—go ahead and enjoy them all.