Eat healthy, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result to a new, healthier you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

In Summer's Heat, Hydrate the Healthy Way

National Iced Tea Month Raises a Glass to Tasty, No- and Low-Cal Beverages Tea/water top list of recently published Healthy Beverage Guidelines -- Tea may taste even better during this year's National Iced Tea Month in June, since a panel of nutrition, public health and obesity experts recommend tea can be the second most consumed beverage after water.

Recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Healthy Beverage Guidelines recommend that people drink more water and tea because they are both calorie free and because tea delivers beneficial phytonutrients.

They also recommend limiting higher calorie beverages with little or no nutrition value. "With more than half of Americans either obese or overweight, it makes sense to choose beverages wisely," says Barry M. Popkin, PhD, Nutrition Professor at the University of North Carolina and lead author of the study.

"Water and unsweetened tea are two hydrating, calorie-free alternatives to sweetened soft drinks and other beverages that can add unnecessary or non- satiating liquid calories to the diet."

The Beverage Guidelines group beverages into six categories along with a range of how much in each category people should drink each day. According to the Panel, after water, tea should be the next most consumed beverage. The Beverage Panel recommends that people drink up to eight servings of iced or hot unsweetened tea per day. Fewer servings per day were recommended for coffee, nonfat or 1 percent fat milk or soy beverages, non-caloricaly sweetened beverages, 100% fruit and vegetable juices, whole milk, sports drinks and sweetened soft drinks.

The recommendations of the Beverage Panel are consistent with research conducted by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University, which found that the leading source of calories in the average American diet may be soda and sweet drinks.

Odilia Bermudez, PhD, MPH, studied the reported diets of a large nationwide sample of American adults. Among respondents to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), more than two thirds reported drinking enough soda and/or sweet drinks to provide them with a greater proportion of daily calories than any other food.

In addition, obesity rates were higher among these sweet drink consumers. With the current national emphasis on making healthful choices, consumers are clamoring for healthy ways to stay hydrated without sacrificing great taste.

One sure-fire summer favorite is iced tea, which is not only hydrating, but a beverage that boasts a wide range of potential health benefits. A multitude of research suggests that drinking tea should be included as part of a healthy diet and may contribute to overall health.

The most recent findings, published in the December 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that women who consumed two or more cups of tea daily over a period of time had a lower risk of ovarian cancer by 46% compared with women who never or seldom consumed tea. The study found that each additional cup of tea consumed per day was associated with an 18% lower risk of ovarian cancer.

Other research connecting tea with potential health benefits include studies that suggest:
* Cardiovascular health benefits, including reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and improved blood vessel function.
* Reduced risk of certain cancers, including colorectal and skin cancers
* Reduced levels of oxidative DNA damage and increases in antioxidant levels in blood stream
* Oral health benefits, as researchers believe certain compounds in tea may inhibit bacteria that cause bad breath and plaque, and the fluoride content in tea supports healthy tooth enamel

"June's National Iced Tea Month is a good time to drink up the many benefits of tea," says Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Council of the USA. "It's tasty, has zero calories and is chock full of health benefits, so it's a terrific beverage choice."

For more information about the role of tea in a healthy diet or to see a graphic representation of the Healthy Beverage Guidelines

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