The best brew
By Malia Jacobson WANT TO BREW a cup of better health? It’s as simple as choosing the right beverage. Coffee and tea are overflowing with health benefits, according to a number of studies over the past several years. Both tea and coffee are increasingly recog- nized for a growing slate of profound health benefits. “Coffee contains about 1,000 plant-based chemicals that contribute to the health
benefits,” says registered dietitian Gina Jarman
Hill of Texas Christian University. According
to new research from the National Cancer
Institute, coffee drinkers are less likely to die
from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke,
injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections.
Another study, by the Institute for
Scientific Information on Coffee, showed
that moderate coffee consumption lowered
rates of Type 2 diabetes by 25 percent. And
new research for the American Cancer
Society shows that drinking four cups of caffeinated coffee per day cuts the risk of oral
cancer by half.
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While coffee is the subject of a bevy of
brew-friendly research published in the past
five years, tea has a centuries-old reputation as
a health elixir. By choosing the right tea, you
get high levels of beneficial antioxidants and
polyphenols, says Costco member Fred
Pescatore, M.D., best-selling author of The
Hamptons Diet (Wiley, 2005). “With tea, you’re
getting full, all-around health coverage, from
immune health to anti-aging benefits,” he says.
Choosing the right
coffee or tea
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potent anti-aging benefits, choose tea freshly
brewed in loose leaf or tea bag form.
Tea’s antioxidant properties appear to
have a protective effect against inflammation
and cancer growth, according to a new study
from the University of California, Los
Angeles. In another study, Taiwanese
researchers found that drinking green tea
reduced the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
Research published in the journal BMJ Open
shows a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes among
regular black tea drinkers.
Whether you reach for coffee or tea
depends on your health goals and your individual tastes. Here’s how to choose the
For the best brew without a buzz:
Though numerous studies point to caffeinated coffee’s health benefits, decaffeinated
coffee may be just as healthful, says Hill:
“Interestingly, health benefits have been
shown for both caffeinated and decaffeinated
coffee. Therefore, researchers hypothesize
that the health benefits are from compounds
beyond caffeine.” When it comes to preserving coffee’s healthful properties, the method
of decaffeination may matter; coffee beans
decaffeinated by water processing (as opposed
to direct processing, which uses caffeine-extracting agents) are thought to retain more
For a stomach-friendly sip: rooibos tea
For an anti-aging brew: green tea
For zero-caffeine confidence:
Antioxidants are believed to fight aging
and cancer by protecting the body’s cells from
environmental damage. For powerful antioxidants, you can’t beat green tea, says Pescatore.
“Green tea is less processed than black tea and
undergoes less oxidization, so more of its
antioxidants remain,” he says. For the most
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find a variety of regular
and decaffeinated ground and whole bean
coffees, as well as green, black and herbal
teas, at their local Costco.
Coffee and tea are not for everyone; some
health conditions, including heart problems,
headaches and insomnia, may necessitate the
avoidance of caffeine (and because caffeine is
not listed on nutrition labels, it can be all too
easy to get more buzz than you bargain for).
When in doubt, check with your doctor
before indulging. C
MARCH 2013 The Costco Connection 57
Costco member Malia Jacobson is a nationally
published health journalist.