Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Questions Answered... Tea and Coffee

I have gotten a little behind on answering your questions. Really, I have gotten behind in my emailing and everything else too! I am starting my list today, so if you have submitted a question, my answer is coming. Thanks for your patience!

The first question I want to look at today is from Kristilea. She writes: "I've had a lot of conflicting information about tea. I know it can't replace water, but in moderation, can decaffeinated tea be an okay addition? I am just not a water person and I make myself drink as much a day as possible, but sometimes I just need something else. Living in Georgia, of course sweet tea is on the menu. But I have slowly gotten myself used to unsweetened decaffeinated tea and I'm hoping I can continue to enjoy it. What do you think? Can you enlighten me on what you know about it?!"

First, the short answer. Consuming a little bit of tea here and there, white or black or green, is not harmful if it is sweetened with honey or another natural sweetener. It provides helpful antioxidants and can be a "safer" pick-me-up. Moderation is the key. My recommendation is that you never drink it to replace adequate water consumption AND that you brush your teeth after you drink tea to prevent acid erosion.

Now for a bit more technical information. Black tea contains tannins. There is mixed information about tannins. Some sources say that these substances can help prevent cancer. Some say they cause it. Hmmm. It's hard to say who is right on that count. But, there is agreement that excessive consumption of tannin containing beverages may block iron assimilation and therefore cause anemia. Moderation is the key, I think.

Second, tea contains theobromine, a substance related to caffeine. Both of these substances stimulate the adrenal glands, which in turn cause the liver to release sugar into the blood stream, giving you an energy lift. The problem with repeating this chain of events is that our blood sugar regulating mechanisms can easily wear out. This causes low blood sugar, dizziness, insomnia, depression, allergies, chronic fatigue, and on and on. Excessive theobromine or caffeine consumption is a bad thing. Moderation is the key, I think.

As long as we are on this topic, I would like to address the coffee question. The multiple questions I hear on this subject go like this: "I have to have my coffee! Is there any way to be healthier about it?"

Giving up coffee entirely is the healthiest choice. However, if that will never come to pass in your life, you can switch to a healthy coffee... not a coffee substitute that doesn't really pass for coffee, but a real coffee that is better for you.

What is the problem with coffee? Well, first the acid content of a daily cup can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. While our stomach is by design an acidic place, adding more acid to our systems can throw off the delicate balance. Second, as I discussed above, the caffeine content can pose problems.

I drink NutriCafe in moderation. This coffee is made from a low-acid bean so that it does not cause stomach burn. It also comes from a low-caffeine bean so that it has about 1/2 the caffeine as other coffees. In addition, it is infused with botanical extracts (that you can't taste) to give it more health giving properties. And, I think it tastes very good!


kristilea said...

Thank you so much!

Julia said...

Where do you buy Nutricafe?

Amy Ellen said...

Hi Julia,

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find Nutricafe in stores. I have purchased it from a couple of small online stores, but I have bought from here recently:

You can cut/paste the link into your browser to be taken right to their coffee page.

They usually run a special where you get a bag free for buying six.

Hope this helps!
Amy Ellen

Julia said...

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for the reminder to rinse my teeth after drinking tea. I drink green and white tea all the time. Thanks also for the tip on NutriCafe; I need a lower acidity coffee!