Hippocrates, one of the founding fathers of Western medicine famously said, “let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food”. This highlights the important link between our health and what we put into our bodies. With the World Health Organisation stating in March 2013 that obesity has now reached epidemic proportions globally, plus the link between obesity and cancer – now is the time for us to be even more aware of what we eat and drink.
Besides supporting marginalised cancer patients in Zimbabwe, the ECCT also provides practical, nutritional tools for better health. So for example, the 5 cancer patients we are currently supporting are being provided with monthly food hampers sponsored by Probrands Foods Zimbabwe. This is in recognition of the necessity of good nutrition for cancer patients. We also endeavour to spread nutritional tips that will help everyone of our readers be healthier. This month, we are telling you about healthy beverages which not only boost your health, but help with healthy weight loss. There are many beverages on the Zimbabwean and international market that are useful for helping you accomplish a healthier body.
Green Smoothies We have blogged about these before, for example, our muriwo smoothie and it is worth mentioning again. Check out our previous blog on green smoothies for a refresher if you missed it or have forgotten, but used as a meal replacement- a muriwo and mango shake can be a potent ally in meeting your healthy weight goals.
Green tea contains just a fraction of the caffeine present in coffee and black tea. Given that tea is actually grown in Zimbabwe for both local consumption and export, green tea should be easy for anyone to get. Green tea has been shown to increase mental alertness, boost metabolism – hence your ability to burn fat, and contains a class of antioxidants called polyphenols (a class of catechins) that have been linked to prevention of multiple types of cancer. Green tea also has a protective effect against heart disease and bad cholesterol. Green tea helps to suppress appetite; drinking about 1-3 cups a day (depending on your tolerance for caffeine) will allow you to reap many of these health benefits.
Rooibos and Other Herbal Teas
The now world famous South African rooibos tea is chock full of antioxidants. It is caffeine free and safe for even children and pregnant women to drink. This is a great way of eliminating sugary drinks, as it is slightly sweet tasting and requires little or no additional sugar to taste. It is also very hydrating and a US based company has started marketing it as an alternative to sport electrolyte-replacement types of drinks (like Gatorade) to professional American athletes. Just make a flask of Rooibos in the morning and sip on it all day. There are also many other herbal teas you can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can even grow a pot of mint leaves or basil on your window sill and just throw a couple of leaves in hot water and you have instant tea. Rosemary and sage also make excellent instant teas in this manner. Additionally, all of these fresh herbals have an aromatherapeutic effect which is at once refreshing and comforting.
Freshly Squeezed Juice
I cannot extol the health benefits of fresh squeezed juice enough. I have never met anyone who juices daily or at least 5 times a week who has not benefited in at least one of the following ways:
- Looks younger than their years.
- Has good energy levels – perhaps even above average.
- Maintains ideal weight.
- Has clear, radiant skin and healthy hair and nails.
- Is rarely sick, and when ill recovers quickly.
Fresh squeezed juice is worth its weight in gold. It is refreshing. There exists such a wide variety of fruits and veggies you can juice that there are really no excuses for finding at least one type of juice or blend that you like. These juices are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are still enzymatically active if consumed within 15 minutes to half an hour of juicing. Even if you can’t drink them right away, the fact that they haven’t been pasteurized and altered in other ways (like the juices that have been sitting for months – if not years on your supermarket shelf) makes them significantly more nutritious and beneficial than store bought juices. Use juices as a meal replacement at breakfast or dinner or as a refreshing snack away from meals. Your body will absorb them optimally if they are not competing with solid foods for digestion.
This South American tea may not be available yet in Zimbabwe but is widely available and popular in the diaspora. It gives you the same boost of energy and alertness that coffee does but minus the jitters. It too contains just a fraction of the caffeine that coffee has, and is full of minerals and antioxidants that boost overall health and vitality. Yerba mate helps you burn fat more efficiently and also suppresses appetite, both of which are tremendous boosts to any health and/or weight loss journey. It also helps with focus and mental clarity and is thus great for students, overnight and office workers. In addition to being linked to prevention of certain kinds of cancer, this tea is a great digestive aid that helps with elimination and keeping your colon clean. Yerba Mate has a delicious, exotic, smoky taste that is reminiscent of a campfire or a traditional Zimbabwean choto. It always gives me a home away from home feeling when I drink it.
So there you have it – our top 5 healthy beverages. We wish you the best of enjoyment and here’s cheers to your health!
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