A Healthy Infusion

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This week we did a segment on "FOX & Friends" on the benefits of tea. Talk about response! We got dozens of e-mails wanting to know more about the potential health benefits of tea.

When a lot of folks refer to tea, they are usually referring to black, green or red tea. These teas are rich in potent antioxidants; antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful toxic substances and free radicals. Where do these free radicals come from? Poor diets, smoking, and alcohol, among other things. We find these antioxidants in nature — fruits and vegetables, and yes, teas. Drinking tea is also good because it replenishes liquids into our bodies, not necessarily adding calories at the same time.

Many studies have been published, some scientific, others less scientific, pointing to some effect on the reduction of certain cancers. These cancers include that of the gastrointestinal tract, skin and ovaries.

One kind of tea which is gaining a lot of popularity in the United States is red tea, which is made from rooibos. Rooibos (roy-boss) is an indigenous herb tea from the Southwestern Cape region of South Africa. Rooibos tea contains no colors, additives or preservatives, making it a natural beverage. Unlike regular tea, it contains no caffeine, but is full of antioxidants. Some cultures drink this tea for the relief of hay fever, asthma and heartburn.

Another tea that clearly good for you is green tea. Green tea has a combination of several antioxidants, along with vitamins and minerals that, in hundreds of studies, have shown to have positive effects to our health. Looking at some of these studies, there are three categories where green tea has been found to be beneficial :

• It seems to help reduce blood pressure
• It helps with sugar control
• Helps reduce the rates of certain cancers

Herbal tea is what we call infusions; a concoction made from parts of plants or trees.

For some, herbal tea has gotten to be a staple in their everyday life. For that reason, I was reminded of how my grandmother in Cuba — dating back 50 years ago — used to give me Chamomile (Manzanilla) when I had a bellyache. Today, these herbal teas are a multi-million dollar business.

Some of the most popular herbal teas include Chamomile, which is said to improve digestion and be a great muscle relaxant. Another similar herbal infusion with some of the same health effects is Peppermint. (But one of my favorites in Ginger tea; it's great in the winter.)

If you are looking for a great after-dinner tea, I recommend Anise or Fennel tea. Drink some of that, and your meal will be complete.

Here are some tea guidlines:

• Check with your doctor since some medications could have interactions with some herbal infusions. Too much of anything becomes bad for you.

• Some herbal teas are not recommended for small children.

• Please — do not spoil the health benefit of tea with cream and sugar. Watch those calories!

Don't forget to watch FOX News Channel. And please feel free to write to Dr. Manny at DRMANNY@FOXNEWS.COM and tell him what you think. Ask a question, share a thought, share a remedy — We'll try to answer all of your mail online or on the air.