Beverages are an essential part of our diet, both for hydration and other purposes (e.g. waking up in the morning…). We drink all the time. In fact I have two beverages (a water and green tea). So here is an important question. Which, from all the dozens of beverages out there, is the healthiest?
Of course, we must first define what mean by “healthy.” There are many different ways to qualify our favorite adjective. At Nutrino, we love to examine antioxidant level. As we discussed here, antioxidants are useful in preventing cancer, coronary heart disease, inflammation and many more diseases one wishes to avoid. It seems like the more antioxidants one consumes, the better. So for purposes of the healthiest beverage, antioxidants is our number one determinant. (We know there are other healthy beverages, and other ways to determine health).
An exciting recent study tested more than 3,000 foods for their antioxidant content. Out of the thousands of foods they tested were 283 beverages. This is a remarkable number (think about it – can you even name 100 beverages?). The study included virtually every beverage, from fruit juices to Red Bull.
So what did the study find?
Let’s start with the worst beverages (bad news first, right?): Red Bull has zero antioxidants. Pepsi, Coke, and cow’s milk have one unit (1 unit = 1/10 mmol/serving). Next on the list are white wine and black tea. Red wine has 7 times the antioxidant power of white wine, and grape juice beats them both. A shot of espresso or a cup of coffee have slightly more antioxidants than red wine.
This brings us to the two healthiest beverages in the world.
Second on the list with 2.5 times the amount of antioxidants of black coffee is matcha tea (tea made out of powdered green tea leaves). Beyond just the quantity of antioxidants in green tea, several other studies showed that it has many other health benefits that will be discussed in future posts. But which is our winner? What beverage can possibly beat green tea as the healthiest beverage on earth?
In terms of antioxidant power, the healthiest thing to drink on planet earth appears to hibiscus tea! Hibiscus tea, aside from its cancer-fighting power, also provides relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also assist in repairing your immune system, improving inflammatory issues, and helping your digestive system. Basically, it’s got a lot of health benefits.
The tea itself is made from boiling parts of the hibiscus plant – particularly the flower. It’s red-ish in color, and sour in taste, relatively similar to cranberry juice.
If you’re looking for an easy beverage with a lot nutritional bang-for-your-sip, hibiscus tea is they way to go. Check out the video from NutritionFacts.org to learn more about the study, the tea, and get a great homemade recipe.