Can a cup of tea a day keep the doctor away?
What if I told you that drinking tea could help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol and help in mental alertness? I would say sign me up! Similar to a daily water intake, consuming 8 glasses of tea per day provides a lot of health benefits.
The most health conscious teas—green, black, oolong, and white—are all derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, which is native to China and India and chock full of antioxidants called flavonoids.
As spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, Katherine Tallmadge, notes: “there doesn’t seem to be a downside to tea…I think it’s a great alternative to coffee drinking. First, tea has less caffeine. It’s pretty well established that the compounds in tea—their flavonoids—are good for the heart and may reduce cancer.”
Tea leaves consist of a potent flavonoid called ECGC, which helps to protect the body against free radicals that could potentially contribute to things like cancer, clogged arteries, and heart disease. Brewing your own tea tea is much better than bottled teas because you can avoid added calories and sweeteners. Additionally, the more processed the tea leaves, the less antioxidants, or polyphenols, present. For example, although oolong and black teas still have a high level of antioxidants, their leaves are fermented and oxidized; therefore, green teas pack the highest antioxidant punch.
Here is a break down of the most beneficial teas and their specific benefits as it relates to your health:
Green tea is the best tea option for overall health. The amount of ECGC in green tea fights against a varying list of illnesses and diseases. Green tea boosts present t-cells in the body, which help the immune system. In other words, green tea can be an easy and safe way to help control autoimmune problems. Green tea also aids in weight loss as a result of the ECGC flavonoid increasing the CCK hormone within the body, which is responsible for creating a satiated feeling.
Black tea is the best alternative to coffee because of its level of caffeine. This tea can help substitute your coffee addiction. Black tea is the main ingredient in popular chai teas—my favorite! Drinking black tea can slightly lower blood pressure, boost the metabolism, and aid with blood vessel function because of the caffeine level.
Oolong is a medium tea between green and black tea. Though often overlooked, oolong tea helps weight loss because of its combination of caffeine and catechin, an antioxidant. Consuming oolong tea can boost metabolic rate in the body by 3-4 percent.
While all of these teas have a large amount of health benefits and similar compounds, white tea is the least processed tea, which correlates with having the most potent level of healthy antioxidants. White tea is said to be able to ease the symptoms of some illnesses and promote recuperation, while strengthening the cardiovascular and immune systems.
Find more ideas for tea drinking, as well as additional health benefits from our Pinterest board.
What is your favorite kind of tea to enjoy?
Photo credit: Peter Baer