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Rethink Your Drink, Drink Tea

In a world full of sugary beverages, one of the better beverage choices you can make is to drink tea. Traditional medicine has long touted tea as an essential component of a healthy diet and modern medicine backs-up this claim.  Studies have linked the flavonoids in tea to reduced rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, just to name a few.

 

But not all tea is created equal. Most bottled tea beverages are full of sugar and preservatives and contain only small amounts of actual tea. Check the label first if you buy bottled varieties and look for as few ingredients as possible. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, chances are it’s not a good choice. Look for tea in its most natural state — loose leaf. This ensures minimal processing and helps the tea retain more of its health benefits.

 

Also, don’t negate the healthful qualities of tea by flooding it with milk, sugar or honey. Milk can inhibit the way your body absorbs tea’s antioxidants, and adding too much sugar to any food or beverage is never healthy.

 

Keep in mind, most teas will have some naturally occurring caffeine. The darker the tea, the more caffeine. However, most teas will have way less caffeine than coffee.

 

Some teas varieties to try:

 

  1. Green — With the highest amount of EGCG (the most potent of flavonoids), green tea is a great choice for your health. It has been linked to increased memory, lower cholesterol and helps stabilizes blood sugar in those with diabetes. If you take an iron supplement, space out the time between taking your supplement and drinking green tea to get the most antioxidant benefits.

 

  1. White – It’s less processed than other teas, which results in a higher polyphenol content and greater health benefits, including boosting your immune system.

 

  1. Oolong — This tea packs a double punch because it basically combines the health benefits of green and white tea. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

 

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.

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