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Issue 204: Coffee, Tea or. . . Kombucha?

Coffee, Tea or... Kombucha?

Oh, the choices we have!

If you’re given the choice of coffee, tea or kombucha, why not choose all three? Each of these provides amazing health benefits, so—with a few caveats—feel free to include them all. You might even be surprised at how good they are for you, so here's an overview of each as well as how to enjoy them. 

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. Now, go ahead and enjoy that cup of Joe. A myriad of health benefits await you. 

And while we’re on the topic of coffee, let’s not forget about the benefits of decaffeinated green coffee bean extract. Studies indicate that taking green coffee bean extract in supplement form can be a safe and effective way to manage weight. One study’s author, Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, says, “Based on our results, taking multiple capsules of green coffee extract a day—while eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly—appears to be a safe, effective, inexpensive way to lose weight.”

Vinson’s conclusions were based on the following study parameters and results: researchers gave up to 1,050 milligrams of green coffee bean extract to 16 overweight adults in their 20s. The scientists then monitored the test subjects for 22 weeks, noting their diet, exercise regimens, weight, heart rate and blood pressure. Without changing their diet or exercise, the participants lost approximately 10.5 percent of overall body weight—an average of 17 pounds. That alone is amazing, but the participants consumed a 2,400-calorie daily diet and burned only 400 calories per day. Another perk was that there were no side effects reported, according to the study recently presented at the American Chemical Society national meeting in San Diego, California. This study was also published in the Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity journal.

Likewise, 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 those healthy flavonoids. Tea is also best consumed as purely as possible, so avoid all the unhealthy sugars and fats.

Following in the footsteps of 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. 

And remember that you can also get your kombucha in supplement form. It’s another great way to get the benefits of kombucha.

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

 

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.


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