Other Healthy Beverage Options

After water, tea and coffee are the two most commonly consumed beverages on the planet. They are brimming with antioxidants, flavonoids, and other biologically active substances that may be good for health.

Coffee

cup of coffee

The takeaway on coffee:

Consuming moderate (3-5 cups) to high amounts (6-10 cups) of coffee daily may lower the risk of several disease conditions. However, some individuals may not tolerate higher amounts due to symptoms of jitteriness, anxiety, and insomnia. Specifically, those who have difficulty controlling their blood pressure may want to moderate their coffee intake. Pregnant women are also advised to aim for less than 200 mg of caffeine daily, the amount in 2 cups of coffee, because caffeine passes through the placenta into the fetus and has been associated with pregnancy loss and low birth weight. Because of the potential negative side effects some people experience when drinking coffee, it is not necessary to start drinking coffee if you do not already or to increase the amount you currently drink, as there are many other dietary strategies to improve your health. It’s also important to keep in mind how you enjoy your brew. The extra calories and saturated fat in a coffee house beverage loaded with whipped cream and flavored syrup might offset any health benefits found in a basic black coffee.
Learn more about the research behind coffee and health

Tea

tea brewing from tea bags in a glass mug

The takeaway on tea:

Tea is the simple preparation of pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The flavor of tea varies by where the tea leaves are harvested and how they are grown and processed. Black tea is the most popular worldwide, followed by green, oolong, and white tea. Herbal teas are not made from the Camellia plant but from dried herbs, spices, flowers, fruit, seeds, roots, or leaves of other plants; they do not typically contain caffeine as do traditional teas.

Animal studies suggest potential health benefits of tea due to its high polyphenol content. Human studies have generally been less conclusive, yet show promise. Observational research has found that tea consumption of 2-3 cups daily is associated with a reduced risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. [2] However, there may be an increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancers from drinking tea that is too hot (130-140° F). [2,3] Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm if these healthful and harmful associations are causal. In the meantime, there appears to be little risk associated with drinking tea except for frequent consumption of very hot tea. So pick a color, let it cool, and enjoy a cup!

Learn more about the research behind tea and health

 

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