Member Articles

Write an article!

Grab a Quick Cup of Antioxidants

How to get a healthy dose of antioxidants

by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN  |  3357 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Having a hard time eating the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day? This is a challenge for most people, but for working moms, finding 10 minutes to grab a bite to eat is often a monumental task. If the fruits and vegetables aren't easily accessible, some days it just doesn't happen.

Why 5-9 servings? Fruits and vegetables contain a significant amount of antioxidants that are your body's first line of defense in protection from chronic disease. We are constantly exposed to free radicals on a daily basis from the sun, our diet, pollution, and chemicals. These free radicals run around our bodies like the Tasmanian devil and wreak havoc on our cells leaving us vulnerable to things such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Antioxidants are like a team of super heroes who come in and neutralize these free radicals so they can't damage our cells. Viewed this way, you can see why 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables are so important.

What if you could drink a nice, warm, relaxing cup of antioxidants? This would certainly help on those hectic days. Well, technically you can. Research shows that green and black teas have up to 8-10 times the antioxidants as fruits and vegetables, which can add significantly to your health. This doesn't replace fruits and vegetables, as each food item has different classes of antioxidants, but it can certainly help to assure you are getting a good dose of antioxidants each day.

Research shows that regular tea drinkers-- people who drink two or more cups per day-- have less heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels, and they may recover from heart attacks faster. There is also evidence that tea drinkers recover more quickly from stress. You can find these benefits in black, green, oolong and even iced teas (though not herbal iced teas). Beware of doctoring up your tea with too much milk, though, because this has been found to decrease the antioxidants.

Switching one to two cups of coffee for tea can do a lot to optimize your overall health. Don’t despair coffee lovers! There are some teas out there that you may find match up to your love of coffee. For instance, Chai tea uses ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom which overpowers the taste of the black tea and offers a rich, full bodied taste that is perfect for coffee consumers. Vanilla nut teas also tend to override the black tea taste for a richer flavor. So, next time you are in a hurry and your diet is less than desirable, drink a cup of antioxidants…oh, I mean tea.

Favorite Products to Try

  • Stash Chai Green or Black tea
  • Stash Vanilla Nut tea
  • Tazo Chai Tea
  • Mighty Leaf Orange Dulce
  • Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean
  • Mighty Leaf Mountain Spring Jasmine

About the Author

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian, and a columnist for Work It, Mom! and the founder of Real Living Nutrition Services, an online weight loss program that empowers people to make small changes s

Read more by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN

2 comments so far...

  • Hi Mary- there is some evidence that decaffeinated green tea has less antioxidants, but the process doesn't destroy them all so it is still beneficial for you. The research that has been done on tea is derived from green, black, and oolong tea that all come from a plant called Camillia Sinensis. Rooibos tea is an herbal tea. I wouldn't say it is an urban myth, but there just hasn't been any concentrated research on specific diseases like there has been with the other teas. There is evidence of antioxidants in Rooibos, but again more research is needed to back up some of the claims. Sounds like a good idea to mix it up a little and have different teas for your different moods. :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN on 8th August 2007

  • I've heard that rooibos (yet another tea) is also a great source of anti-oxidents. Is this true, or an urban myth?

    I can't drink caffeine, so I drink decaf green tea. Is it just as high in anti-oxidents?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 27th July 2007