women

Who knew? Your favourite beverage fights depression, cancer… and more

Description: Drink to your Health

Drink to your Health

Coffee or tea – take your pick. New research shows that both deliver unexpected health pluses. A 2011 study at Harvard University in US, for example, found that female coffee drinkers who averaged four cups a day cut their risk of endometrial cancer (occurring on the lining of the uterus) by 25% and, with more than three cups of caffeinated coffee, lowered their odds of basal-cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) by 20%. Tea also contains cancer-fighting antioxidants. The beverages may a decreased risk of depression and tea is linked to less anxiety. Here’s how to get the most from your morning mug:

1.    Go for the high-octane (if you can)

The health bonuses haven’t been found as consistently in decaffeinated versions of coffee and tea. But since regular coffee can pack as much as 200mg of caffeine per 240ml cup (depending on the bean and how it’s brewed) and tea can go up to 60mg per cup, stick to decaf if you have a glycaemic-index issue such as irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux. The same applies if you suffer from anxiety or sleep disturbances, or are sensitive to caffeine. You’ll still get some benefit from other compounds in your brew, such as the antioxidant chlorogenic acid in coffee.

Description: There is the antioxidant chlorogenic acid in coffee

There is the antioxidant chlorogenic acid in coffee

2.    Skip the creamer

A Swiss study suggests that adding non-dairy creamer and sugar to coffee interferes with the absorption of antioxidants. Also, creamers are often made with partially hydrogenated oils, which contain heart-damaging trans fats. To lighten your coffee, use cow’s milk or soya or almond milk instead.

Description: Adding non-dairy creamer and sugar to coffee interferes with the absorption of antioxidants.

Adding non-dairy creamer and sugar to coffee interferes with the absorption of antioxidants.

3.    Take your tea black

Adding milk may blunt tea’s heart-health benefits, a German study found. And speaking of black, green tea may be the health star, but all members of the Camellia sinensis (the plant used to make Chinese tea) family – black, white and oolong tea, as well as green tea – have health benefits, including aiding in fighting infections and slowing cognitive decline.

Description: Adding milk may blunt tea’s heart-health benefits

Adding milk may blunt tea’s heart-health benefits

4.    Favour filters

Coffee brewed without a paper filter – in a plunger or espresso pot, for example – retains an oily residue that contains cafestol, a substance that raises levels of heart-damaging LDL cholesterol. You could – if you’re addicted to your plunger – pour your coffee through a paper filter into a cup. Or just save special brews for a special occasion. Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Description: Coffee brewed without a paper filter – in a plunger or espresso pot

Coffee brewed without a paper filter – in a plunger or espresso pot

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