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Reading the tea leaves to better health

Guest writer Ted Merriman appreciated last issue’s health-focused center-spread and wanted to add his own words of wisdom for the health-seeking student.

For those who are looking for something nutritiously different, the following products can help students live a healthier life.

1. Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been used in China

for many centuries. Bacteria and yeast are added to the tea to ferment it, making it taste like a weak apple cider vinegar. It can take some getting used to, so drink slowly.

This tea is both calming and cleansing. In fact, Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote that it helped him survive the Gulag.

Kombucha can be found under the High Country brands available at Whole Foods and other retailers. There are many flavors available. It can contain trace amounts of alcohol, under the 0.5% level required for a product to be sold as a non-alcoholic product when properly stored. However, because Kombucha is unpasteurized and contains live bacteria, this level can rise as high as 2% if the tea is not properly refrigerated.

2. For another healthy tea product, try Pu-erh.

To make this tea, the leaves are fermented and usually compressed into cakes known as “bing cha.” The leaves can be aged for many years, improving both quality and price. Prices typically range from $10-20 per cake and can be as expensive as $35,000. It is rumored that Pu-erh can help lower blood sugar, making it good for diabetics. To buy some for yourself, try Chinatown and specialty stores.

3. Kefir is a fermented and cultured goat’s milk, essentially liquid yogurt. Since it comes from goat’s milk, Kefir has low amounts of lactose and is manageable for most lactose-intolerant people. Some even believe that it helps them digest regular dairy products more easily.

4. For another exotic option, try Chia seeds. They are packed with massive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

These products will have you on your way to health in the time it takes you to steep a bag of tea. Here’s to healthy living!

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