Are you thinking about changing up your morning coffee routine? Maybe you’d like to add a healthier drink to your diet. Perhaps you simply love the taste. Whatever your reasons, the many health benefits of tea are going to change the way you feel inside and out.
The scientific focus of this historical beverage is a fairly new undertaking. Ancient cultures, however, have known how wonderful tea is since 1,000 BC. The Chinese were the first to introduce tea to the world. For more than a thousand years they used it almost exclusively for medicinal purposes. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) often refers to tea throughout their texts for ailments both big and small.
Many scientific studies are finally touting the health benefits of tea, particularly the green tea varieties. Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, has said, “Tea consumption, especially green tea, may not be the magic bullet, but it can be incorporated in an overall healthy diet.”
10 Ways You Receive the Health Benefits of Tea
- Polyphenols Content: Polyphenols, especially catechins and epicatechins, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. These little powerhouses protect your body from the bad things you consume. Over time, they may even help reduce the risks associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you drink too much caffeinated tea, you may get a little jittery, but overall it suits a healthy lifestyle.
- Weight Loss: Tea may be able to help you lose weight or keep that waistline in check. In a study of tea drinkers versus non-tea drinkers, the people consuming hot tea on a regular basis had smaller waistlines and a lower BMI (body mass index).
- Increased Muscle Endurance: If you’re looking for better exercise endurance, green tea may help. Scientists discovered that antioxidants in green tea extract increase your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. This allows you to build your stamina at the gym more quickly and reap the benefits of a healthier body.
- Cancer Protection: The powerful antioxidants found in tea can actually protect your body from cancer. Current research has shown that tea helps your body fight off certain cancers, including colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and many others. Tea isn’t a cure for cancer, but it is a simple and effective superfood that can help lower your personal risk.
- Fight Free Radicals: What’s a free radical? They’re the bad guys that invade your cells and alter them for the worse. The extensive damage they cause has been scientifically linked to heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Despite your body’s design, it is not always able to fight off the free radicals – especially if you have a poor diet or lifestyle habits. Antioxidants found in tea help fight the bad guys.
- Defend Bones: The compounds found in green tea improve bone strength and density. This is great news as we age and our bones begin to weaken. Used in conjunction with mild weight or strength training and a healthy diet, green tea can help you fight the ravages of osteoporosis.
- Regulate Blood Sugar: People with Type 2 diabetes benefit from regular tea consumption. The compounds in green tea help the metabolic system process sugars more efficiently. In a surprising finding, studies showed that people who drank at least six cups of green tea per week were less likely to develop diabetes at all.
- Boost Brain Power: Many factors influence your brain health. Age, weight, activity levels, and smoking all factor into the way our brains age. Polyphenols in tea may slow the effects of aging in the brain’s memory and learning centers. This includes neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
- Hydration: Your body is comprised mostly of water. You have to have it for your body to function properly and experts estimate that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Not everyone enjoys drinking gallons of water every day, and coffee (despite its other benefits) has dehydrating effects. Tea, despite the caffeine, is a hydrating beverage. Next time you’re falling asleep at 3 pm, try iced green tea for a refreshing pick-me-up instead of coffee.
- Healthy Teeth and Gums: Countries known for their tea consumption likely drink it plain or only lightly sweetened. Tea contains naturally occurring fluoride and tannins. These help prevent plaque from forming on the teeth. Unsweetened tea, along with a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, helps keep those pearly whites healthy.
What Type Should You Drink to Gain the Most Health Benefits of Tea?
There are a myriad of choices of tea in your local grocery store so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste. Before you go diving into a fancy flavored blend, keep in mind that real tea (Camellia sinensis) consists of four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong.
Teas referred to as “herbal” are not the same. These types of brews are not made from tea leaves but from flowers, fruit, or roots.
Read your labels if you’re looking for health benefits and avoid pre-bottled varieties that have had all the good stuff processed out. While tea is healthy, sugar is NOT! Processed beverages are loaded with additives that negate the health benefits of tea. If you can’t stand unsweetened drinks, consider using maple sugar or raw honey instead.
Hot or iced, unsweetened or gently kissed with honey… tea is a wonderful choice for your anti-cancer lifestyle.