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Health Food Store Tour: Coffee, Tea, and Beverages

May 17, 2012

Hi there! I’m Christy Goldfeder, Health Coach and writer at Delicious Life Health Coaching and IIN Graduate, Class of 2006. Join me on IIN's virtual Health Food Store Tour, where I’ll give you weekly tips on how to shop healthfully. Come back each week as we stroll through the aisles to discover which foods are the healthiest.

Here’s what I look for when shopping for coffee, tea, or other beverages:

Organic: Crops like coffee and tea are usually sprayed with a number of chemicals. Choosing organic products helps reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides we consume.

Fair Trade: It’s not always possible to find fair-trade goods. But it’s great when you can because crops are grown in an ecologically sustainable manner, and goods are sold at a price that can sustain communities.

Here are a few healthy beverage choices:

coffee

Coffee: Is coffee good for you? It does have antioxidants and flavonoids. A recent study says that people who drink coffee regularly cut their overall risk of dying. And coffee has also been shown to protect against diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

If you’re drinking coffee, choose organic beans. Skip the flavored ones because those flavors are simply added chemicals. If you’re caffeine sensitive, choose decaffeinated beans that have gone through the Swiss Water Process. Instead of using chemical solvents, this process gently removes caffeine with water.

tea

Tea: the most consumed beverage in the world (after water), tea is made by pouring hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The type of tea – white, green, black, or oolong – depends on how it is dried, cured, and processed.

  • Green tea is rich in health promoting flavonoids, and most notably EGCG, which is believed to inhibit the growth of many cancers.
  • Black tea may reduce the risk of stroke and protect the lungs from damage from exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • White tea, which is less processed than other types of tea, may have even higher antioxidant properties than green tea.
  • Oolong tea may lower bad cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.

herbal tea

Herbal teas: These are not really teas at all since they don’t contain tea.  Nevertheless, these steeped beverages offer many health-giving properties. For example, ginger tea helps upset stomachs, chamomile tea helps calm nerves, raspberry leaf tea can soothe menstrual cramps, and holy basil is known to help promote longevity and reduce the effects of stress on the body.

coffee substitute

Coffee substitutes: Made from roasted grains, roots, and berries, such as barley, chicory, carob, these beverages taste like coffee without the side effects. These drinks are great if you’re trying to kick a coffee habit. If you’re gluten-sensitive, it’s best to avoid these beverages as most contain the glutinous grain barley. 

What's your favorite drink? Do you drink caffeine or steer clear, and why?