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Show 1210: What Are the Health Benefits of Tea, Coffee and Chocolate?

If you think of them as just tasty beverages, you could be surprised to learn about the health benefits of tea, coffee and chocolate. Listen May 2, 2020.
Show 1210: What Are the Health Benefits of Tea, Coffee and C...
Tieraona Low Dog, MD, author of Fortify Your Life
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What Are the Health Benefits of Tea, Coffee and Chocolate?

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Are you drinking too much coffee? Is coffee actually bad for you anyway, or might a few cups have health benefits? Have you heard about the health benefits of tea? Dr. Tieraona Low Dog delves into the plant compounds contained in our favorite beverages. How do they affect our physiology?

Green, Black and White Tea:

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Like coffee, it contains caffeine. However, tea is also rich in L-theanine, a compound that tends to help people feel calm as they become more alert. Each of these different types of tea has a different profile of natural compounds as well as a different flavor. Because of the health benefits of tea, you can feel good about sipping a cup or two every day.

Health Benefits of Coffee:

You might think about coffee as an indulgence that doesn’t have much redeeming value besides helping you wake up in the morning. While coffee has plenty of caffeine, it can do more than open your eyes. It turns out that coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. However, there are significant differences in how people metabolize caffeine. Are you a fast metabolizer who could have a cup of espresso after dinner with no impact on your sleep? Or are you a slow metabolizer who needs to quit drinking regular coffee before lunch time or pay the price of tossing and turning all night? 

Chocolate as a Healthy Food or Drink:

Like coffee, chocolate can be a healthful indulgence. But it needs to have the minimum amount of sugar to qualify. Cacao is full of plant compounds with antioxidant activity. In addition, it contains a compound called theobromine that can calm a cough better than the cough medicine dextromethorphan. (Of course, the taste is also much better!) To get the potential benefits of cacao flavanols, drink very lightly sweetened cocoa or seek out dark chocolate with very little sugar. You might even find that you could combine coffee and cacao in a delicious-tasting high-powered mocha beverage. Enjoy!

Learning about the health benefits of tea, cocoa and coffee should make you feel good about these beverages you can easily consume even under stay-at-home orders.

This Week’s Guest:

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements, herbal medicine and women’s health. Dr. Low Dog has served as the elected Chair of the US Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements and Botanicals Expert Information Panel. She was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Her latest book is Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More. For more information, see her website: drlowdog.com

You may also be interested in her venture, Wildcrafter Botanicals, in which she blends standardized amounts of herbs with delicious organic coffee to provide a wonderful drink–all the health benefits of coffee and more! You can turn your morning cup into a healthy (and tasty) ritual. Visit Wildcrafter Botanicals to learn more and place your order: https://www.wildcrafter.com/peoples-pharmacy/

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, May 4, 2020. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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