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herbal teas

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Have you ever wondered if a cup of coffee or tea and milk can substitute as one of your recommended eight glasses of water a day?

Most drinks do a good job of hydrating, but the components of some common drinks sharply reduce their hydrating ability.

Which drinks are the best hydrators, and which the worst? Here are the three most hydrating and the four least hydrating drinks.

Drinks That Are Strong Hydrators

Water
Water is the preeminent beverage for correctly hydrating the body.

Herbal Teas (Infusions)
The leaves from plants such as mint, verbena, linden, balm, and so on give a pleasant aroma and flavor to the water in which they are steeped, which makes infusions a satisfying alternative to people who don’t enjoy drinking plain water.

The medicinal properties of the plants do not have a negative effect on the body’s assimilation of the water.

Note: The benefit does not extend to sweetened infusions, or if the tea is made with plants that have diuretic properties, such as dandelion.

Fruit and Vegetable Juices
The water in fruits and vegetables–their juice–is one of the liquids nature has provided for hydrating our bodies. Juice is water bound to a substance. To maintain our harmonic balance with nature and avoid taking in too high a concentration of nutrients and sugars, we should consider juice a secondary resource to be used in moderation.

Drinks that Are Weak Hydrators

Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa
Drinks that have a base of coffee, black tea, or cocoa are quite high in purins, toxins that must be eliminated from the body by urine or sweat in the form of uric acid. Purines need to be diluted in large quantities of liquid to be evacuated without irritation. A good portion of the water consumed with these drinks is used to eliminate the toxins.

Milk
Milk is a food, not a drink, and its digestion by adults is frequently incomplete.

Whey, on the other hand, is very easily digested, but its diuretic properties are an impediment to its consumption as a daily beverage.

Soft Drinks
Soft drinks often have a high caffeine base, a diuretic, which makes a body lose water before it has time to make its way into the intracellular environment. The other problem comes from the high sugar content of most sodas. The body has a hard time properly metabolizing refined sugar. To correct the reaction to this, the body has to surrender water from the extracellular fluid. Because that makes a person thirsty, a vicious circle is created, as the thirst is being maintained by the very beverage that is drink with the intention of getting rid of it.

Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol itself has dehydrating properties, removing water from the tissues it contacts and drying them out and increasing the need for water.

Adapted from The Water Prescription, by Christopher Vasey, N.D.

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It’s true. Tea has been shown to offer protection to our teeth. Tea is a natural source of fluoride, which is known to protect against tooth decay.

Drinking tea (without added sugar) has been associated with a number of beneficial effects in preventing tooth decay.

Epidemiological surveys have reported that some populations who drink tea on a regular basis have a reduced number of carious teeth. Proposed mechanisms for tea’s oral health benefits include:

Fluoride
The authors concluded that tea was an effective vehicle for delivering fluoride to the oral cavity where it may then become associated with the oral tissues potentially helping to prevent dental decay. Even for adults, whose teeth are fully formed, tea’s fluoride is a great way to protect your teeth. The fluoride found in tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of glucosyltransferase. This substance helps the plaque that naturally forms to adhere to our teeth.

Tannins
Other components of tea may also contribute to the inhibition of caries. It has been reported that the tannins in tea can inhibit salivary amylase thereby reducing the cariogenic potential of starch-containing foods.

Acid erosion
In addition to its beneficial effect on plaque, tannin, along with other components of tea such as catechin, caffeine and tocopherol have been shown to be effective in increasing the acid resistance of tooth enamel.

Flavonoids
Both green and black tea and their specific flavonoids, mainly catechins, have exhibited inhibitory effects on the growth of cariogenic bacteria by preventing the adherence and growth of plaque bacteria at the tooth surface.

So, while black tea is definitely good for you, and is protective to your teeth, for the maximum overall health benefits, get your daily dose of green tea. Many scientists today suggest that for the maximum benefit to your dental health, you combine the two. Both are delicious and refreshing, making a wonderful drink any time of day. It may be one of the simplest ways you can protect your health – and your smile.

One cup of tea contains approximately 0.25 milligrams of fluoride. Fluoride is well known about its positive effect on teeth. One’s daily fluoride need is somewhere between 1.4 and 1.5 milligrams. Thus tea consumption also contributes to meet our fluoride need.

People, who have abandoned their morning cup of coffee for a healthier cup of herbal tea might want to think again, say British researchers. They found that many herbal teas seriously damage teeth by eroding protective enamel.

Drinking herbal teas regularly can erode tooth enamel, according to a new study conducted in the United Kingdom. Paul Brunton and A. Hussain at the University Dental Hospital of Manchester conducted their study with three groups of 21 extracted teeth.

Each set of teeth was dropped into either regular black tea (Typhoo), herbal tea (Twinings’ Blackcurrant, Ginseng and Vanilla tea), or water. The teeth soaked for 14 days, which the investigators determined to be equal to drinking three cups a day for 18 years.

Both the black tea and the herbal tea caused tooth surface loss; however, Brunton and Hussain found that the erosive effect of herbal tea was five times more severe. The findings, published in the November 2001 issue of the Journal of Dentistry, were attributed to the high acid content of the herbal tea.

Another tea study of tea effects found that polyphenols–chemicals found in tea–can help prevent bad breath. Laboratory experiments revealed that polyphenols can retard the bacterial growth that causes bad breath.

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