Guest contribution by: Christina Laun
Tea has been an important beverage for thousands of years and has been a huge part of culture in countries around the world, forming major parts of ceremonies, trade routes and even starting revolutions. But tea isn’t just appreciated for its good taste and worldwide appeal, it also offers numerous health benefits. Here are a few health conscious reasons you should add a cup of tea to your daily routine.
Tea can be beneficial to your whole body as you can see from these great effects.
- Tea contains antioxidants. Antioxidants can help slow down aging and help your cells to regenerate and repair. Teas of all varieties contain high levels of antioxidant polyphenols that can help keep your body healthier and some studies suggest even ward of some cancers.
- Tea has less caffeine than coffee. While there are some potential health benefits to consuming moderate amounts of caffeine, drinking loads of it is hard on your heart and other organs. Tea can provide the pick me up of coffee but without the high levels of caffeine making you less jittery and helping you get to sleep when you want.
- Tea helps keep you hydrated. Conventional wisdom held that caffeinated beverages actually dehydrated you more than they hydrated you. Recent research has shown, however, that caffeine doesn’t make a difference unless you consume more than 5 to 6 cups at a time. Tea has been shown to actually be more healthy for you than water alone in some cases because it hydrates while providing antioxidants.
Boost your brain and mental state with these benefits of tea.
- Tea can create a calmer but more alert state of mind. Studies have shown that the amino acid L-theanine found in the tea plant alters the attention networks in the brain and can have demonstrable effects on the brain waves. More simply, tea can help you relax and concentrate more fully on tasks.
- Tea lowers the chance of having cognitive impairment. Research on Japanese adults who consumed at least 2 cups of green tea daily found that those individuals had cut their risk of cognitive impairment by half.
- Tea lowers stress hormone levels. Black tea has been shown to reduce the effects of a stressful event. Participants in a study experienced a 20% drop in cortisol, a stress hormone, after drinking 4 cups of tea daily for one month.
- Tea eases irritability, headaches, nervous tension and insomnia. Red tea, also known as rooibos, is an herbal tea that originated in Africa. It has been show to have many relaxing effects that help reduce a wide range of irritations and inflammations on the body.
- Tea can cause a temporary increase in short term memory. Not feeling on your game today? Try drinking some tea. The caffeine it contains may give you the boost you need to improve your memory, at least for a few hours.
Heart and Other Organs
Help protect your heart and other organs with these beneficial effects of tea.
- Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Tea helps to prevent the formation of dangerous blood clots which are very often the cause of heart attacks and strokes. Some studies have even found that black tea drinkers were at a 70 percent lower risk of having a fatal heart attack.
- Tea protects your bones. You don’t have to put milk in your tea for it to help out your bones. Studies have shown that regular tea drinkers have stronger bones than those of non tea drinkers, even when other variables were adjusted for. Scientists have theorized it may be a benefit of the phytochemicals in tea.
- Tea may protect against heart disease. While more studies are needed for conclusive evidence, it has been suggested that regular consumption of green and black tea leads to a significant reduction in the risk of heart disease related heart attacks.
- Tea can help lower cholesterol. A recent study in China has shown that the combination of a low-fat diet and tea produced on average a 16% drop in bad cholesterol over 12 weeks when compared to a control group simply on a low-fat diet. If you’re struggling to get your cholesterol under control, try adding tea to your diet to see if it helps.
- Tea can help lower blood pressure. Drinking only half a cup of green or oolong tea a day could reduce your risk of high blood pressure by up to 50% and those that drink more can even further reduce their risk, even if they have additional risk factors.
- Tea aids in digestion. Tea has been used in China for thousands of years as an after-meal digestive aid and it can help you as well due to the high levels of tannins it contains.
- Tea helps inhibit intestinal inflammation. The polyphenols in green tea have been shown to have an effect on the intestinal inflammation caused by conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome allowing sufferers more comfort from a natural remedy.
- Tea can reduce stomach cramps. Properties of red tea cause it to acts as anti-spasmodic agent and allowing it to aid in the relief of stomach cramps or even colic in infants.
Fitness and Appearance
Tea can not only help you feel good but look good too.
- Tea helps protect your smile. While the stereotype of the tea-drinking Brits with horrible teeth may make you think otherwise, tea actually contains fluoride and tannins, both of which help reduce plaque buildup and tooth decay. Combined with a good dental hygiene regimen, this could keep your teeth healthier for longer.
- Tea is calorie-free. Tea itself has no calories unless you choose to add sweeteners or
milk, making it a satisfying, low-cal way to wake up and maybe even shed a few pounds.
- Tea increases your metabolism. Is a slow metabolic rate keeping you from losing the weight you want? Some studies suggest that green tea may be able to boost your metabolic rate slightly, allowing you to burn an additional 70-80 calories a day. While this may not seem like much, over time it could add up.
- Tea helps keep your skin acne-free. The antioxidants in green tea may have an effect on acne, and in some cases have been shown to work as well as a 4% solution of the much more harsh benzoyl peroxide.
- Tea can help bad breath. A study at the University of Chicago has suggested that the polyphenols in tea can help to keep the bacteria that causes bad breath in check.
Illness and Disease
Check out these benefits of tea which may help prevent you from getting sick.
- Tea strengthens your immune defenses. You may want to drink a cup of tea the next time a cold is going around your office. A recent study compared the immune activity in coffee drinkers to that of tea drinkers and found it to be much higher (up to five times) in those that chose tea. While it’s no guarantee against a cold, it sure couldn’t hurt.
- Tea protects against cancer. While the exact types of cancer tea protects against are debated, recent research has suggested that lung, prostate and breast cancer see the biggest drop when green tea is consumed regularly. Again, there is no surefire way to prevent getting cancer, but having a cup of tea a day may is definitely worth the preventative benefits.
- Tea can help prevent arthritis. Research suggests that older women who are tea drinkers are 60 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who do not drink tea. The same effect has not been measured in older males, however, but additional studies may prove otherwise.
- Tea can help fight the flu. Black tea may bolster your efforts to fight the flu as participants in a study who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice daily where more immune to the flu virus than those who didn’t.
- Tea helps fight infection. Tea contains chemicals called alkylamine antigens which act similarly to some tumor cells and bacteria, boosting the body’s immune response. It has even been shown to have an effect on severe infections like sepsis.
- Tea may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. New studies are suggesting that regular tea consumption may help protect the body from developing this neurological disorder.
- Tea can prevent food poisoning. Catechin, one of the bitter ingredients found in green tea has been shown to effectively kill the bacteria which cause food poisoning and minimize the effects of the toxins that are produced by those bacteria.
- Tea can lead to the inhibition of HIV. New research from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has found that a substance found in green tea may inhibit the HIV virus from binding and can be a healthy part of a suppression regiment.
- Tea may help prevent diabetes. There is some evidence to suggest that green tea helps lower the risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes, though future research is needed to confirm the association.
- Tea can lower blood sugar. Tea contains catechin and polysaccharides which have been demonstrated to have a noticeable effect on lowering blood sugar.
- Tea can prevent iron damage. Those suffering from iron disorders like haemochromatosis may be helped by drinking tea, which contains tannins that limit the amount of iron the body can absorb.
- Tea can help with nasal decongestion. If you’ve got a bit of a cold, drinking black tea with lemon may help clear up some of the congestion that’s bothering you. Just make sure your body doesn’t become dependent on the treatment.
This article has been reformatted and updated from the original July 2008 publication.
Photo “Tea” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “LulaTaHula” and is being posted unaltered (source)